Calling it quits
“Turn out the lights, the parties over”
I used to wait with bated breath for Don Meredith to start singing that on “Monday Night Football.” Normally, it was sweet music if the Steelers were playing.
If I could get him to sing it again, I would. This party has officially ended. After being blessed to experience 23 years of playing professional baseball in front of the world’s best fans in so many different places, it is with zero regrets that I am making my retirement official.
To say I’ve been blessed would be like calling Refrigerator Perry “a bit overweight.” The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime.
Four World Series, three World Championships. That there are men with plaques in Cooperstown who never experienced one — and I was able to be on three teams over seven years that won it all — is another “beyond my wildest dreams” set of memories I’ll take with me.
The game always gave me far more than I ever gave it. All of those things, every single one of those memories is enveloped with fan sights and sounds for me. Without the fans, they would still be great memories, but none would be enduring and unforgettable because they infused the energy, rage, passion and “feel” of all of those times. The game was here long before I was, and will be here long after I’m gone. The only thing I hope I did was never put in question my love for the game, or my passion to be counted on when it mattered most. I did everything I could to win every time I was handed the ball.
I am and always will be more grateful than any of you could ever possibly know.
I want to offer two special thank you’s.
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for granting me the ability to step between the lines for 23 years and compete against the best players in the world.
To my wife Shonda and my 4 children, Gehrig, Gabriella, Grant and Garrison for sacrificing their lives and allowing baseball to be mine while I played. Without their unquestioned support I would not have been able to do what I did, or enjoy the life, and I am hopefully going to live long enough to repay them as much as a Father and Husband can.
Thank you and God Bless