A Touch of Class

27 Mar

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During an exhibition game this week in which he wasn’t in the line-up, Carlos ‘Chooch’ Ruiz returned to the deserted clubhouse.  There was a brown box on a table which at first he ignored until he noticed written on it:

To:  Chooch                                                                                                                                           From:  Roy

Ruiz opened the box to find an exact replica of the Cy Young Award won by Roy Halladay last year.  At the time Halladay said he shared the award with ‘Chooch’ and he couldn’t have done it without him.  Well, now, they really share the award.  Typically, Halladay didn’t want to talk about the generous gift and didn’t make a pubic display of presenting it.

Now that’s class.

In a sports world where too much attention is often paid to poor behavior, today’s post highlights some of baseball’s classier moments.

When the Texas Rangers won the ALDS last year, their star left fielder Josh Hamilton was prepared to skip the celebration.  He has battled both drug and alcohol addiction and has learned he should not be around champagne.  But when he walked down the tunnel he was told to put on his goggles.

When he reached the clubhouse the whole team was waiting for him all holding bottles of Canada Dry ginger ale.  As soon as they saw Hamilton they yelled, “Ginger ale!” and soaked him with the bubbly soda.  According to Hamilton,

“The stuff burns your eyes just like the alcohol does.”

Now that’s class.

Days after the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, the entire Washington Nationals team donned Virginia Tech baseball caps when they came onto the field for the second inning.  The crowd responded with a long, emotional ovation.  The Nationals went on to lose the game 6-4 but this night wasn’t about wins and losses.  It was about a small gesture  that made a big difference.  Perhaps third baseman Ryan Zimmerman who attended V-Tech’s rival, the University of Virginia, said it best,

“It kind of shows you how little sports mean.  It makes you realize how lucky we have it and not to take any days for granted.”

Now that’s class.

And since this is a Phillies blog, one final story.

2009 was a year Brad Lidge would rather forget.  After his perfect 2008 season, 2009 was one of the worst in baseball history for a closer.  In fact, in mid-September Lidge was removed from the closer role by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro.  But throughout the season Lidge handled his difficulties with grace and style, always making himself available to reporters after the game, always taking responsibility for his performance.

So on the night the Phillies were about to clinch the Eastern division title, with two outs in the 9th, Charlie Manuel headed for the mound.  He took the ball from Scott Eyre and waved to the bullpen.

In came Lidge to a raucous standing ovation from the sell-out Philadelphia crowd. Charlie wanted to give the man so responsible for the World Series win the year before, the honor to be on the mound once again when the team clinched the division title.

Lidge threw one pitch to Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman who hit a grounder to first.  Ryan Howard made the out and the celebration was on.  And at least for one night, thanks to a special gesture by his manager, Brad Lidge‘s nightmare was over.

Now that’s class.

In less than a week the 2011 season will begin.  There will undoubtedly be reports of bad behavior on and off the field but let’s not forget to celebrate the good stuff, those athletes that with their often quiet gestures, bring to America’s game a ‘touch of class.’


 


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One Response to “A Touch of Class”

  1. Lea Dickler March 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I SWEAR, YOU SHOULD BE A COMENTATER IN THE PAPER, ON RADIO, ON TV OR SOMEPLACE!!!! ALL THAT INFORMATION IS PRICELESS. KEEP IT COMING!!!

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