I'm continually amazed by the wide variety of people that find, and comment on, this blog. I've come to rely on my small but loyal group of regulars, who provide encouragement and insight and let me know that I'm not just writing to keep myself occupied for a bit. But it's the random visitors that remind me of the improbable enormity of the Internet. Anyone can find anything if they know where to look.
Just today, I received a comment on my August 26th Fernando Valenzuela entry, which was actually all about my experiences at a couple of very small performances given by Brian Vander Ark. The comment came from Second Motion Records, who apparently just signed Brian and are re-releasing his three solo albums. They were complementary of my post, and of course they were plugging their artist, but I don't mind. After all, I'd done the same thing myself, so it was relevant.
Last Thursday's brief eulogy of Todd Cruz apparently elicited a comment from his godchild, who shared a few words about the impact that "Uncle Todd" had on their life.
Back in April, I wrote about Sammy Stewart and his tragic drug addiction and incarceration. One anonymous commenter apparently had personal knowledge of Sammy and his family, and indicated that the former pitcher was working hard to turn his life around and repair his strained relationships. I hope for his sake - and the sake of his family - that Stewart is in earnest.
One of my earliest entries was a somewhat playful bit, wondering about the origins and implications of Arnie Portocarrero's name. I hadn't thought about it for months, but just a few weeks ago I was notified of a new comment. One of Arnie's children was doing a Google search for their father's name, and stumbled upon my blog. He or she corrected my crack genealogy: Portocarrero is Spanish, not Italian. They also offered assurance that Arnie was a great man, and not slow. The "slow children" remark I had made in that post was an offhand reference to Arnie, the mentally retarded character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Based on the tone of the resultant comment, I assume no offense was taken.
These comments I've highlighted are a reminder that this blog doesn't exist in a bubble. The players that I write about are real, live people with children, nieces and nephews, friends, and (of course) fans. I can't take it for granted that I can write whatever I want with no consequences. For the most part, I take pride in keeping my opinions civil and respectful. When I want to bring humor to a subject, I do my best to put the emphasis on the silly rather than the cruel. I don't think I've censored myself, but I'm going to try to make sure that someone really deserves my vitriol before I tear them down (see: Ponson, Sidney).
If you're reading this blog, whether you're a friend, family member, an Oriole player, or just a collector and/or fan like myself, I'm glad to have you.