Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Pretty Special Day

Today is Sunday, May 9 and, unless you were hatched, a pretty important day. It's Mother's Day, and you should call your mother and express your disdain for her bringing into this horrible, terrible world. There's no unemployment in the womb, you know?

But today is also special for me, personally. Today, a man turns half a century. Fifty years old. This man was instrumental in making the greatest game on Earth fun for a little boy. He gave me my internet handle. And today, he makes me feel really, really old.

Most of you know Tony Gwynn as the - umm - very rotund baseball coach at San Diego State, and sometimes color analyst at TBS. Sure, he's a legend in San Diego, but to many he's a nasally voiced island of a man. That's too bad, because in actuality he was a lithe, 56-base-stealing point guard who still holds the SDSU all-time assist record. He was drafted by both the Padres and the San Diego Clippers (now in Los Angeles) on the same day.

When I met him and got his autograph at Coors Field a few days before his birthday in 1996, I wished him a happy birthday and told him I was going to bring him a card, but I forgot it. He stopped signing his name, looked up, and smiled.

Tony Gwynn didn't hit a lot of home runs. He never won a World Series. But he was my favorite baseball player, and he'll be that when he's 50, 80, or 500. He was - and is - a badass. And that's the truth.

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