Very little news has been coming out about the death of Greg Halman. We now know that there was an argument about loud music between he and his brother, and his brother is still in police custody being questioned. Even with a few days to step away from this and try and formulate an opinion or a feeling or an idea about either of those things, I still have no idea what to say or think. I’ve been contacted by a few people, baseball and other sport fans alike, saying they’re sorry for our loss, and I really do appreciate this. But what are you supposed to think about something like this, other than confusion and a sense of a part of your fan psyche being dented because stuff like this isn’t supposed to happen, not in baseball, not to a 24-year-old outfielder who had a bright future, not at the hands of his brother, not over a damn stereo? And the stories coming out of the clubhouse and the organization, about how nice Halman was, what a great player and teammate and human being he was, that just makes it worse. It’s a tragedy when any of our players or broadcasters, or peanut guys, or organizational people dies. But somehow I think the impact would be lessened if it was someone like Milton Bradley, a guy who seems to be more interested in beating up his wife than playing baseball. Greg Halman just wanted to play baseball. And now he can’t.
I hope that we were good to him, and I hope that he felt the love from Mariners and Rainiers and Aquasox fans, and whatever other of the organization’s teams he might have been on over the past few years. I hope he loved his time on the field as much as everyone says he did, and I hope that he knew that he was important. I hope that every time he came up to bat, he knew we were counting on him, and eagerly waiting to see what this new kid could do for our team. I hope he got enough of an opportunity to really enjoy the roar of the crowd when he hit that first homerun, that he felt the sort of giddy feeling in the chest that happens when you know your world is starting to open up for you. I hope a lot of things happened for this person I never knew, and whose life ended far too soon, far too tragically.
Chances are high that as the year goes on, and as I get invested in my own life and my job, and the winter meetings and other things that are the reasons that life continues here, I may forget about Greg Halman. Not totally, but the shock will lessen and the 2012 baseball season will start, and there will be other things to think about and move on to. But Halman left behind a small generation of kids who will remember him for a long time, because he came from a country where baseball is not a primary sport; he came from their country, and he made it. He played for his country, and then finally made it to the big time, gaining a roster spot on a Major League Baseball team. Maybe some of those kids in the Netherlands will want to be the next Greg Halman, just like so many little guys want to be the next Ichiro. Maybe eventually, one of them will.
And if you have to leave us all behind, that’s a pretty cool thing to leave us with. RIP Mr Halman. You will be missed.