I Just Don’t Know How to Quit You…

June 24, 2009

“I’ll be there…by your side” – Sade

Consider that song my tribute to you, Vernon Wells. You had me at hello.  Your big bat, your big arm, your big smile, your big nose. We had so much in common from the very beginning. We could have been soulmates. Your first year in St. Catharines coincided with my first year in St. Catharines. You were getting your first taste of post-secondary baseball education, I was getting my first taste of life education. You were a young wannabe ballplayer with the Blue Jays, and I was a young wannabe player with blue balls. See Vernon? And while I only saw maybe one game when I lived in St. Catharines, since I was busy most nights with the beer, bars, and babes(well…two out of three ain’t bad), I’ve always felt a connection to you. Every night, when I put my head on my pillow, just a mile or two from where you had probably been hitting bombs and running down liners just a few hours before, there’s a good chance I thought of you…or at least the Blue Jays…or at least baseball…actually most likely just about 3rd base…but still, there was a bond there, I know it. 

Unfortunately our lives have *ahem* slightly diverged since following that amazingly similar path. I guess we just wanted different things. You went on to be a successful ball player who signed a zillion dollar contract a few years ago, I went on to work for banks and cellphone companies and, for a brief time, a linguistics teacher to over-advantaged Asian youth. 

But to see what’s been happening to you lately, Vern, just makes me sad. Strike that. It made me mad, but now it makes me sad. Actually it made me annoyed, then mad, then enraged, then incredulous…and now sad. I’m no longer worried about the black hole you’ve created in the top half, and now top third, of the lineup. You’ve been having a rough time, to say the least. It has to be taking its toll on your psyche. It’s your psyche that I’m worried about, just like Cito. 

Whenever you’re feeling down, just think of me, and think of the song. As long as you’re out there stealing bases after beating out a weak grounder to third, running down long fly balls(only a few of which bounce or your glove) or determinedly swinging at that darned low and away breaking ball(I know you’ll get one sometime Vern, just keep hacking!) I’ll be cheering you on. You’ll always be the Vernonator to me, and like Arnold, I know you’ll be back. And when you are, you won’t have to bask in the glory all alone. I’ll be there, by your side.
Editors Note: This was written before Vern’s great game tonight. Welcome back, big guy! Remember who loves you…



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