Game 6 is on Vacation in Sunny F-L-A

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Sorry for the absence of posts over the last week or so. Contrary to popular belief, Game 6 has not closed its doors – our staff (me) is simply on vacation and will be for a few more days. Hey, it’s not easy being the head of a heavily-read and widely-discussed Blogging Empire. We need breaks. too.

A few morsels to tide you over until Game 6 makes its triumphant return:

Plaxico Burress: It’s funny that he got 2 years in prison for shooting himself in the leg. What’s not quite as funny is that Donte Stallworth got 24 days for drunkenly killing a pedestrian.

The Sox: The sweep of the Jays helped. The Yankees losses hurt. And the Billy Wagner move confuses me. I’m not sure I follow the logic behind signing a tired 38-year-old closer when you know very well that your current closer is an easily irritated, overly sensitive fireballer of questionable mental stability. I honestly cannot tell you whether this team is going to make the playoffs – and I sure as hell don’t know what they’re going to do if they get there.

RIP, Greg Montalbano: Some of you may have heard that former Northeastern Husky hurler and Red Sox prospect Greg Montalbano, 31, passed away over the weekend after a long battle with testicular cancer. The news of his passing came as a shock to me because, last I’d heard, he’d beaten the disease into remission and was working hard at his dream of one day pulling on a major league uniform.

Montalbano was a Sea Dogs standout

Montalbano was a Sea Dogs standout

If you were previously unaware of Montalbano and had never heard him speak or spoken with him, take it from me – he was special, both as a player and a person. I met him more than a decade ago at Northeastern’s baseball camp, when I was a deeply impressionable middle schooler and he a counselor and rising star in the Husky program. I followed his career ever since as he rose through the ranks of baseball’s minor leagues because, simply put, his influence stuck with me. Here was a brilliantly talented lefty pitcher well on his way to big league stardom, yet he couldn’t have been nicer to an awkward 12-year-old who wanted nothing more than a bit of attention from a Cool Older Guy. Montalbano – and also teammate Carlos Pena, the Huskies two stars at the time – both went out of their way to connect with each camper and I’ve never forgotten it.

When I learned, years later, that Montalbano was stricken with cancer, I was surprised but I didn’t worry. I didn’t worry because I was certain that nothing truly tragic could ever happen to such a down-to-Earth, superiorly talented individual. I figured he’d shrug it off, like a fluke homer in a rusty first inning. I definitely never thought I’d wake up to a headline on announcing his death.

And I wasn’t nearly prepared for how sad I’d be when I did.

Cancer snuffed out one of its brightest lights when it finally took Montalbano this weekend. Fortunately, the work he did on behalf of cancer advocacy and the impressions he made on young athletes will linger, preserving his memory long after we’ve stopped mourning his passing. But that doesn’t lessen the sting nor does it mitigate the tragedy of the situation.

A young man lost his life as a result of an evil, pitiless disease. We should all be so fortunate to have known him.


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