It's been over 24 hours since the news of Greg Halman's death reached the baseball community. Details of what actually happened are still scarce, but even if we find out exactly what took place, this whole tragedy will make no more sense than it does right now.
Friends, teammates and fans have come forward to share their stories of Greg with a grieving Mariners community. One after another, they talk about the big smile, the sense of humour, the love of his family and homeland. The immense pride he took from being one of the first Dutch players to "make it."
Halman grew up idolising and emulating the Mariners' two greatest center fielders—Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Cameron.
Even after he met his idols and started to realise his dream, Greg never forgot what it was like to be a fan. He was generous with his time during spring training, and was always looking for ways to give back to the game that had provided him with so much.
A talented, personable, humble young man, taken away far too soon.
At a time like this, it seems appropriate to talk about how baseball is just a game, and how there are more important things in life. But today, I can't stop thinking that baseball is more important than we'll usually allow ourselves to admit.
Specifically those who play baseball.
We watch them every day, we debate with our friends and post comments on blogs about the relative merits of those individuals that make up "our" team. And while there's nothing wrong with this, we could do well to remember that each player who puts on a Mariners uniform has a story. A story that we may not ever hear, but one worth telling none the less.
Greg Halman is gone and my team is different today than it was yesterday. But the tragic circumstances which led me to hear his story have made me more aware of how much each Mariners player makes up a small part of who I am.
So when I think of the M's, I won't just think of Felix and Ichiro. I'll think of the Liddis, the Seagers and the Beavans.
Each one of them contributes to me as a fan.
Greg Halman is gone, but he left a gift to all of us. Let's hope we recognise and appreciate it.
When Mike Cameron heard that he was one of Greg's heroes, he replied, "It's kind of crazy how you touch people and don't even know it."
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