Never been much for hoopla, the extended farewells, the gift wrapped, choreographed road shows to say goodbye. The Softtail bedecked with ribbon, the base studded and personalized, the macho bow itching to bag its first turkey. A very few are earned – Mariano yes, Chipper maybe.
Brian McCann was not at that level, nor was he retiring, but he was certainly special, he was leaving us and he’s gone now and you might hardly know it.
Huddy saw that could happen from where he stood and had the rehab time to plan it through. His posted exit and thank yous were classy, entirely appropriate and, more importantly, made formal record of his departure from our world. Way to do it.
Our home town hero though, it somehow never happened. The way his disappointing final season played out he/we never knew when an at bat would be the last – (Huddy had that decided for him, without any pre-warning. You saw him on the stretcher, you knew he was done, it was over for him and us.) With Mac it was somehow blurred in a miserable final loss on the road in the post season. He ended on a pretty awful note, his own output minimal.
Wow, that’s it then, no more BMac. The inevitable Cashman contract a few weeks later hardly stung by that point – the pain had come earlier. The face, in pinstripes, looked pretty miserable to me. Second guessing even? But i’m imagining things, why should he be?
But bet he is, just a little bit. He knew by then the Smoltz/Glavine syndrome, time had revealed it. Some extra grubby millions after ungracious hectoring to add to the big pile already in the bank. Or Atlanta immortality, a Brave for ever, a legend, the home town boy. And some us thought he knew that too. Maybe he even did until a piece of paper was placed in front of him. He will come to know he made the wrong decision, in a year or five it’ll hit home. Silly money’s all over his world, true heroes are few.
But still. That’s a different story for a different day. Happy or not, is that all we could do to say goodbye? He had absolutely earned and deserved it, he was special and we all knew it. What should we have done? Don’t know, do you? What about him, how does he feel? Huddy had closed the Journal door, you couldn’t match that – or want to.
So for now at least it feels like we’re all in limbo. Unfinished business. Bye Bye Mac, what a guy.