I can exhale now. Brooks Robinson's surgery was apparently successful.
I'd known that Brooks was going under the knife for quite some time, but was asked not to make it public. He just didn't want any attention called to it, and I can respect that.
That I'm able to call Brooks Robinson a personal friend never ceases to amaze me. I didn't meet Brooks until 1974, when I first started to cover major league baseball. Caps' broadcaster Ron Weber introduced me to Brooks, and from that day forward, he remembered my name, which was pretty heady stuff for a kid just getting started in the business.
It was a rather sobering thought a few years ago when I realized that he'd been retired for more years than he played. He admitted as much when I mentioned it to him.
My wife and I were at a Trader Joe's in September. I was about to bite into a sample of a bran muffin when I heard a voice behind me say, "Don't eat that!" I turned around and it was Brooks.
We stood there and chatted for several minutes. He was picking up some groceries, and it was astonishing to me that no one else in the store seemed to recognize him. I mean, we were in a store in Baltimore County, full of people who were not kids (it was during the day when they were in school) and no one called out his name. He was probably just as glad to have that be the case, but it was a stunner.
Here's the thing about Brooks Robinson: he's exactly who he seems to be. He's almost too good to be true. Every time someone asks me who's the best person I've ever encountered in my line of work, his is the first name that comes to mind. No wonder people name their kids after him.
Anyway, he's home now, and will be taking it easy for awhile. Take your time, Brooks.
Take lots and lots of time.