Now I want to keep this short and sweet...but I must preface this groundbreaking, once-in-a-lifetime post with a little sappiness.
I fell in love with Brady the summer of 2006. Since then, I have fallen even more in love with his family. His sister, is not only my sister, she is my soul sister and one of my dearest and truest friends. His brother-in-law, is my big, protective brother, who is also one of my favorite people in the whole world to be around. (Might I add, the two of them recently added to this family the cutest baby girl in the world, who is also the love of my life and, though he doesn't know it yet, will grow to like me more than Brady.) His mom, is not only the best mother-in-law in the world, she is one of the kindest, most honest women I know. And his dad...well, his dad is the reason my husband is who he is today. I see more and more of him in Brady every day, and let me tell you, folks, that is a good thing. I have always known my FIL is an excellent writer, but it wasn't until the day of Pudge Rodriguez's retirement as a Texas Ranger, that I discovered that's one more quality he passed along to Brady. (I actually got a little jealous when I read this email.)
So enjoy, folks. Brady Bond wrote a blog. It may not have been intended that way, but with his blessing, I get to share it with the masses. I must warn you, though...it is completely unedited (I said he was a good writer, not the best speller.) Oh, and if you love it and decide you like his writing more than mine....keep it to yourself.
If you will allow me a moment to let the dad in me come out.
First of all 26 is right around the corner, let's be honest it's all down hill after that. Last week it hit me, I am gettin old. I talk about how kids have it so easy, I don't get why anybody would want a phone that's in between a computer a phone. I think lectures are better than working on the Internet. And most of all it takes me about 10-15 to warm up before feeling good when exercising. I'm just getting old.
It hit me even more when I heard the news that was retiring. For those of you either not around in my childhood or forgot Pudge was the man. Pudge had IT. I am not real sure to this day what it is, but being a coach you just recognize when someone has IT. Few people have it but when you come across those that have it, it is a pleasure to watch.
Growing up a baseball player I had to do what he did. I wore #7, I played catcher. I refused to wear that stupid hockey mask of a catchers mask because Pudge didn't wear one. I remember telling dad I HAD to have that shoulder flap on the chest protector because Pudge had one. I remember being as old as 9th grade and dad saying your doing too much in between pitches, your not ready. It didn't matter, my swing was modeled after Pudge and I wasnt going to change it till he changed his. Hell I remember being a kid and trying in a game to do the cross (like the Catholics do) before pitches just because Pudge did it.
Pudge produced on the field. A lifetime 296 hitter for a catcher who played to 40 is pretty good. 300+ home runs and just a shade under 3000 career hits. Behind the plate he was a piece of art in motion. He threw out almost 50% of runners for his career. He could fire a ball from home to the center field wall on his knees, or so I thought. In 2009 he passed Carlton Fisk and owns the record for most games caught in MLB history. Pudge holds the record for RBI in a ranger game at 9, he is also the first person to score a run in ranger post season history(much like myself who scored the winning run in cedar hills first ever playoff win).
Pudge broke into the league at age 19. Just a kid. He was an AL MVP, a 13 time gold glove winner and a 14 time all star, he also has a world series championship with the Marlins.
What is more refreshing at age 19 he promised to learn English so he could communicate with the fans, media and American players, the same cant be said for some of his peers. In the mid 90s his contract was up with the rangers. He went and sat down with the owner and gm without his agent and said I want to stay let's get it done. And got it done. How refreshing would that be in a day in age where people making 20+ million HAVE to have 2 million more or they won't play. Be real Drew Breese, learn from Pudge. I remember reading a lot of Dallas Morning News sports day sections and never heard of Pudge complaining about playin time, money, anything. He just went to work every day and produced. He caught Kenny Rogers perfect game and he was chasing Robin Ventura from behind before Nolan put a whooping on him!
Pudge was and in my opinion is the face of the Texas Rangers and always will. Yea he prob was on the juice at some point but juiced or not he had it. Players have come along that are better, and flashier. But nobody could ever be Pudge. I can still to this day Remember sitting in the first row of the third deck at the ballpark and hear dad say watch how he gets set before the pitch, watch his leg kick, watch how quickly he throws the ball. Dad was right, maybe he saw IT to, thankfully he passed it along to me.
I've witnessed some great moments at the ballpark. I remember gettin chills when Cal Ripken hit his final pitch in Arlington over the left field wall and Chuck Morgan set off the fireworks and played the music. Me, mom and Lo sat outside when they clinched the division vs the Angels. Me and dad were there in 99 when they clinched vs the As. Meg and I were they when they beat those hated yanks in the playoffs. Many more memories will come but none will replace the memories of number 7 behind the plate.
I hope one day I'm blessed with a son and I hope for my sake and his he can find his Pudge in this world. Someone who will take the time out of his pre game preparation to sign a baseball for that little kid who sat above the dugout all batting practice just hoping for his signature on a baseball. An era closes to today. But I am thankful for parents who cared enough to go sit through batting practice so that little kid could get a signature on a baseball.
You may now return your regularly scheduled day.
Sent from my iPhone