It’s just been one of those years.
My favorite football team’s biggest rival won the Super Bowl and still hasn’t lost a game in 2011. My favorite baseball team’s biggest rival won the World Series. Both got into the playoffs thanks to wins over that rival in the final week of the regular season. So on and so forth.
So it would only be fitting that one of the most joyful sports moments of the year comes with a tinge of melancholy.
After a decades-long wait, former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday. Trouble is it happened exactly one year after his death, which certainly inhibited the enjoyment of the experience. As Santo once said himself, “I don’t want to be inducted post-humorously.” (No worries, Ronnie. Your battles with linguistics will be delightfully humorous for eternity).
Rarely have I reacted to a news item the way I have with this one. Part of me feels like I should be happy that Santo’s name will finally be in Cooperstown. Another part of me feels I should be enraged that it didn’t happen until he had a chance to enjoy it.
Instead, I feel this weird indifference with the underlying message of “Well, if that’s not the story of life, I don’t know what is.”
However, I do know one thing — where I’m going to be on July 22, 2012. Cooperstown. Maybe at that point an actual emotion will take form.
As I shared here when Santo died, my buddy and I had the chance to share some time with Ron at Shea Stadium the weekend after attending Ryne Sandberg’s induction ceremony in 2005.
One of the things I told him was “I’ll be there when they induct you, too.”
For me, a promise made is a promise kept, even if he would never know the difference. I’ll be in New York to see my great-grandmother’s all-time favorite Cub inducted into the Hall of Fame.
I just wish I’d be seeing Ron there, too.