Now those petty concerns pale as Sparky is now in hospice care at age 76. It feels like he should have so much more time left. Time to watch and enjoy baseball. Time to continue his work with CATCH, one of the longest running charities for sick children in our area. Time to play in more golf tournaments. Time to enjoy seeing Kirk Gibson manage the Diamondbacks (and maybe offering some advice here and there).
I became a Tigers fan in 1983, so Sparky was all I knew. I was young and completely uninformed about baseball. My aunt and uncle just decided one summer day to take me and my cousins down to the park. I didn't know I would fall in love at first sight that day. But I did. And I loved Sparky with that blind, all-trusting new love. He didn't disappoint. All he did was take our boys to the Series the very next year. All I did was go along for the wondrous ride of my life.
It's going to be hard on Tigers fans if we lose two icons in one year. Our grief will be protracted. But we'll be brave. And we'll never forget.