An anniversary brings questions from a man I miss

I lost my father exactly two years ago today.

I’ve learned through this crushing ordeal that it won’t be any easier typing that sentence after three years.

The number is going to change. Not the huge void in my life. And knowing that he never got to see my granddaughter, who would have melted his heart as she’s done mine, brings a tremendous amount of sadness.

My daughter found out that she was pregnant on this date in 2020. She says that he sent us this little angel.

A middle school principal became the best general manager in history.

Thumbnail image for Camden-Yards-View-from-Behind-Plate-Sidebar.jpgIt wasn’t until my father passed away, five months after his diagnosis of Stage 4 esophageal cancer, that my mother told me how he’d always say a prayer every time I boarded a flight for a road trip and didn’t relax until I returned home.

He teased her about being such a worrier. Turns out, he was just as bad.

Such a generous man, but he never shared that one with me.

My father would wonder today if I’m actually going to make my first flight next month since March 14. He’d keep asking, I’d be unable to provide an update and we’d laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

I mean, how much longer before the Orioles have their own answers? They aren’t keeping secrets. They’d love to inform the media if the report dates are unchanged and pass along the access rules.

He’d like the seven-inning doubleheaders because he’d assume that they made my nights a little easier. Same with the runner on second base in extra innings.

He’d approve of the universal designated hitter because watching pitchers attempt to bunt never was his passion. Same with watching American League pitchers pull hamstrings or break fingers.

He’d be glad that the Orioles finally are immersed in the international market. Finally catching up to the other teams by having a presence and spending the money. Finally gaining the approval of an industry that used to bash them for their indifference.

“It’s about time” would be uttered at least once.

He’d hate the José Iglesias trade, listen to me explain the reasoning behind it and still hate the trade.

He’d want better for Chris Davis.

He’d complain about every ball that got past Pedro Severino, ask about Adley Rutschman’s timetable and warn against the unreasonable expectations that engulfed Matt Wieters.

I’d understand despite the apparent contradiction.

He’d ask about the upcoming promotional giveaways while wearing his Melvin Mora or Mark Trumbo T-shirt.

He’d be a huge Ryan Mountcastle fan, convinced that the kid is a legit middle-of-the-order hitter. Excited about a top prospect’s promotion and immediate production.

“It’s about time” would be uttered at least once.

He’d pull hardest for Trey Mancini.

He’d love to hear that manager Brandon Hyde is a really good guy who, yes, also makes my job easier. And I’d say again that Hyde deserves a contract extension.

He’d want to know more about Chris Holt’s exact duties as both pitching coach and director of pitching, and my initial thoughts on the hiring of third base coach Tony Mansolino.

He’d curse the third base coach again after a runner was an easy out at the plate. It’s a Baltimore tradition, like crab cakes and demanding a new offensive coordinator for the Ravens.

He’d ask again whether I still hear from Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette. And he’d enjoy some of my old stories about them.

He’d wonder where the Orioles are going to assign outfielder Heston Kjerstad and how much the non-sports medical issue set him back - if at all.

He’d worry about the safety of the players in a pandemic. He’d worry most about me.

He’d say a prayer as I headed to the airport for my next road trip.

We wouldn’t talk about it.

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