Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The guy every baseball fan is rooting for

ESPN baseball god Peter Gammons suffered a brain aneurysm yesterday, and the news hit me much harder than I anticipated.

I believe every real baseball fan considers Gammons to be an honorary uncle or brother. As a young teen, I had been told about this phenomenal baseball writer, and quickly found out for myself how great he was upon seeing him regularly on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." It's nearly impossible to argue that anyone has a more relevant baseball perspective.

For the last couple of years, I've had an ever-changing Top 10 list of people I want to meet. Gammons has always been a part of that list, which currently includes Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Bono, Artie Lange, Al Pacino, Sting, Kate Bosworth, Amy Poehler and Don Mattingly. (All, obviously, for very different reasons.)

Equally brilliant, witty and self-effacing, Gammons has offered balanced insight that pleases both Yankees and Red Sox fans -- no small feat! -- while giving Royals and Pirates fans hope for prospects he'd seen over the last year. He not only can discuss the merits of Papelbon and Pearl Jam, I have no doubt he could seamlessly incorporate the two in a brilliant metaphor. And if you want to read one of the greatest Hall of Fame speeches of all time, you'll serve yourself well reading this.

ESPN reported that Pete's in "good condition" as of this morning. There are so few things baseball fans can agree on, but two of them are the deepest reverence for Gammons and hopes for the speediest full recovery.