There’s sad news tonight, folks — Ken Cloude has signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I wish him the best, but somehow reuniting with Lou doesn’t seem like the best career choice. First Mabry, now Cloude… the organization is falling apart.
Also, I notice that the Yankees have declined their contract option on LHP Gabe White. He’d make a nice addition to next year’s bullpen, either along with or instead of Arthur Rhodes.
The Mariners have declined to bring John Mabry back for next year, the Everett Herald reports. Manny cleared waivers, so the team didn’t bite on him. Thanks to reader Michael Lewis for the link.
Forgive me for a slightly contemplative mood and a completely unrelated post to the usual topics at hand.
For me, November 1st, 2002 is one of those days that I will always remember. My parents talk of where they were when JFK was shot, we landed on the moon, or the space shuttle exploded. For me, 365 days ago, I found out what that feeling was like.
I was sitting in church on a Friday night when my roommate left the room to take a phone call. When he returned, his expression changed, but I paid little attention to it. As the service wound down, Chad told the speaker that he had received word that friends of ours had gotten into a car accident in Charlotte and were being treated at the North Carolina burn unit in Chapel Hill. At that point, we were told that it was time to pray, and the names of those involved were read. I heard the name Elizabeth Dunnagan, whom I had never met. Then came Vito Cheong, an acquaintance but not someone I was particularly close to. My heart sank, however, when the words Steve Coffey rolled through my ears.
We did not know the extent of the injuries, and my first reaction was that I hoped it wouldnâ€™t effect Steveâ€™s plans to come see our new apartment. After a few minutes, though, my eyes began to water, and I headed outside and broke down. Something inside of me knew it wasnâ€™t good. I knew I had to go to Raleigh and see my friend. Chad and I took off in my car, him driving, as I was too shaken to steer. We got to the hospital around 11 p.m. and were told that Vito was fine, treated at the scene, and resting in Charlotte. Steve and Elizabeth were fighting for their lives.
At about 3 a.m., they told us they had an update and gathered the 100 or so people who had come into a meeting room, where they informed us that Steve Coffey had passed away after 23 years of life. I cried a bit, but not as hard as earlier, when I thought he was still alive. I hugged a few people who were as stunned as I was, not knowing what else to do. Chad and I drove home, nearly silent the entire time. Saturday was a blur filled with teary phone calls and a numbness I hope to never feel again. I called my parents and told them that I loved them, and tracked down a friend in Canada who was the only person I felt I could tell how I was really feeling. I called friends of Steveâ€™s that hadnâ€™t heard yet, waking them up with unbelievably bad news. I cried a little more, did absolutely nothing, and hoped to wake up from what seemed like a bad dream.
Steve was the first person to say hello to me when I walked into our school, thousands of miles from home and wondering what I was doing. Surrounded by strange people in a small town being melted by humidity, I felt out of place. Then he came over, said hi to me, and took the time to introduce me to some people feeling a lot like I did. On the day that I walked into that building, I needed a friend. I got a lot more than I asked for.
Steve and I were different guys, ran in different circles. We never became best buddies and didnâ€™t do that many things together. However, had you seen the way he treated me when we were together, you would have thought he was my older brother. He treated everyone that way. He genuinely loved people and cared about everyone he ran into. He gave until he had no more to give, and then would ask if you needed anything else. Steve loved people, more than anyone I have ever met, and went out of his way to make sure that you knew he was there for you.
He had an effect on me. I was clearly not the only one, though, as nearly 1500 people crammed into a building designed for 600 to attend his memorial service. It was the most powerful two hours of my life, and I still watch the video from time to time to remember why I am here. His impact on my life is tangible, but for many others, he was more than a friend. He was a brother, a son, a coach, a mentor, a teacher, and someone to look up to. There were so many sides to Steve, but they all revolved around other people and how he could help them.
He grabbed a hold of the truth and ran with it, inspiring people along the way. He lived what he believed and reminded us all that there was far more to life than we had experienced. He was taken far too soon, but his death was the fuse that ignited change in a vast number of people. Even in passing, Steve Coffey was causing people to change. A foundation has been setup in his name to help build the youth camp that was one of his dreams. You can also call the 800 number on the page and order a copy of the video of his memorial service if you feel the need to be inspired. However, above all else, there is one lesson to be learned from his life; you can help someone in ways you never thought possible. There are a lot of 18-year-old David Cameronâ€™s wandering around, looking for a friend. You are someone elseâ€™s Steve Coffey, and the chance to have an impact on someoneâ€™s life is the best thing you could ever accomplish.
I miss you Steve. Thanks for everything.