Through the years, I've written a number of remembrance columns.
We emerge from a season and for the first few days there's just too much to sort out. It doesn't matter if you're a fan, player, manager, coach, trainer or front office staffer. You're tired and perhaps feeling a little beat up… but at the same time on sensory overload. We're like small children that way. Emotional.
But my contention is that's one of the reasons why sports have all of us at "hello."
This weekend I'm going to Auburn at LSU. It'll be my first trip to Death Valley. Thanksgiving weekend it's Ohio State-Michigan at the Big House. In the meantime, I'll get to as many high school and college football games as possible. Why do we love to go to the arenas? It's the sights, the sounds, the smells. The taste and feel. The excitement and sense of community, of being part of something bigger than ourselves.
We might be tired and a little beat up, but being there quickly transforms our psyche. Just look at the body language of your fellow patrons.
Remember, we have one of the nation's great arenas right here in Corpus Christi. Whataburger Field is a nationally renowned venue, honored on multiple occasions.
What happens at 734 East Port Avenue is AMAZING. We don't have to watch "The Bachelor" for vicarious thrills as potential romantic partners characterize each other as AMAZING. We can live AMAZING moments here at the ballpark. That's AMAZING.
Here's to an AMAZING 2013.
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I'll remember those 12 walk-off wins and to refrain from reaching for a media guide when someone asks how many walk-off road wins we have.
And that four of those drama-filled decisions went down in a 10-game August homestand.
And Keith Bodie, a man of faith, citing his friend's prayer: "You are God and I am not."
And our disappointment when Keith didn't win Texas League Manager of the Year. Hooks radio voice Michael Coffin reacted thusly: "He's won the last three halves!" How can you win three halves? Bodie does stuff like that.
I'll remember piggyback starters and how that practice - in part - enabled us to zip through the first half.
And wearing my 100 percent polyester, long-sleeved CC top around the office in 68-degree comfort. Man, it's nice to step outside and thaw those bones.
And Michael Burgess' game-winner in Game 4 of the Texas League Division Series at Wolff Municipal Stadium. And his eight-RBI night.
I'll remember Gary Ruby capturing the Mike Coolbaugh Award, conferred annually on the league's top assistant.
And former pressbox statistician Don Masi getting the call for scout school.
And Houston GM Jeff Luhnow here for the playoffs, lamenting the fact he'd soon be going through baseball withdrawal. We can all relate.
I'll remember Enrique Hernandez and Domingo Santana dancing in the clubhouse for CSN Houston cameras. Enrique would've given former Hooks pitcher Dallas Keuchel a run for his money in the "Dancing with the 'Stros" competition.
And Domingo's three-bomb evening.
And a franchise-record 83 regular-season victories.
And Nick Tropeano's one-pitch strikeout.
I'll remember George Springer's quest for 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases between the Hooks and Triple-A Oklahoma City. And his personal reminiscences about playing here in the 2011 Kleberg Bank College Classic.
And hugs all around from 2012 Hooks MVP Jose Martinez as he played his way back to OKC after an injury.
And Mike Foltynewicz's graciousness with out-of-town media inquiries over the phone as reporters asked the same questions time and again.
I'll remember how delighted we were for Ben Orloff, the Anteater, when he went home to alma mater UC Irvine as assistant coach.
And how Erik Castro's confidence grew and grew as the summer wore on and he put up big numbers (.280/18/65).
And smilin' Max Stassi and his eight-RBI performance. The fan favorite is now in Instructional League at the Astros' spring training site in Kissimmee, Fla. He rejoins the big club this weekend in Arlington. Stassi suffered a concussion against the Rangers Sept. 1.
I'll remember Preston Tucker, the athletic corner outfielder who loves his Florida Gators. Saturday, he'll be watching an SEC game somewhere.
Perhaps we'll get him back in Corpus next spring, along with guys like Ronny Torreyes, Matt Duffy, Leo Heras, Ruben Alaniz and Jonas Dufek.
I'll remember Carlos Quevedo holding the line in late-inning situations.
And the catching platoon of Rene Garcia and Carlos Perez and their offensive productivity and defensive proficiency.
And, speaking of defensive proficiency, the steel wall most often manned by Castro at first, Hernandez at the keystone, shortstop Jiovanni Mier and hot corner maven Jonathan Meyer.
I'll remember David Martinez, TL Pitcher of the Year. Now 26, he was signed by the Astros at 17 as a non-drafted free agent. A product of the team's Venezuelan Academy, Martinez made his MLB debut August 21.
The day after our season ended, he was one of 18 Hooks alums on the Houston's active roster. The others? Jose Altuve, Brandon Barnes, Jason Castro, Kevin Chapman, Paul Clemens, Jared Cosart, Jorge DeLeon, Josh Fields, Robbie Grossman, Dallas Keuchel, Marc Krauss, Chia-Jen Lo, Jordan Lyles, Brett Oberholtzer, Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Villar and Josh Zeid.
I'll remember Greg Rajan and his promotion to sports editor of the Caller-Times. And getting to know Kenny Ryan and Jose Rodriguez.
And early-morning Whataburger Field live shots with 3:30 a.m. wake-up calls, Alan Holt of 3 News First Edition and Morgan Frances from KRIS for 6News at Sunrise. Come back anytime!
And our official scorers: Jacksonville's own Lee Goddard, Portland mayor David Krebs, Caller-Times scribe George Vondracek and Carroll coach Lee Yeager. We miss you, Lee G.
I'll remember Luis Cruz and the lift the Puerto Rican lefty gave us down the stretch. Maybe he'll return come April.
And three Hooks vets who combined for 21 wins before matriculating to the RedHawks: Bobby Doran, Jake Buchanan and Patrick Urckfitz. Urckfitz spent 2012 back in High-A Lancaster but this time around topped the Hooks in saves (7) and appearances (40).
And Sinton coach/History Department chief Gene Kasprzyk, our color analyst. Coach K may be the best radio color man in minor league baseball.
And Drew Muren's 17-pitch plate appearance and the way he lopes around the bases and his occasional remark about the weather.
But not inside, where my polyester pullover awaits.
That's South Texas. That's AMAZING.