- Mr. Baldelli was healthy enough in 2006 to play the Jays in Toronto on my birthday. Rocco + Aaron Hill's walkoff homer + numerous tallboys = a great birthday for me.
Everything was going well, though Rocco refused to acknowledge my praise. There were detractors in nearby sections who sought to disparage Rocco, insulting him and his basketball-playing tendencies. In addition to praising Rocco's defense (he made a stunning diving catch to rob Greg Zaun of a double) we were loudly inviting him to join us for drinks at Sneaky Dee's after the game. I told him tales of tattooed waitresses and assured him that he'd be "all about it." Despite entertaining my section and shouting myself hoarse; Rocco didn't acknowledge us nor did he watch as I later drank myself into early senescence.
Fast forward to last night. Mrs. Moseby (Mrs Moseby, Architect) and I sat on the northbound Bathurst streetcar when a group of college-aged kids piled on looking a little lost. They immediately sat in the first few rows, with two guys sitting in the single seats on the left and the girls sat in the pairs. They began talking amongst themselves and I went back to ignoring the wife. As we approached College, one of the guys exclaimed "OHMIGOD SNEAKY DEE'S" and began discussing how "he didn't think it was real" and wondered if it was perhaps a franchise. These kids were clearly from out of town, but their enthusiasm for my local quickly got my attention. When one of the guys said he wanted to leap from the train and go inside "just to check it out", I was hooked. Every time I'm even remotely near that faithful corner I feel tempted to exit whatever vehicle I'm in, dash inside, and order enough
What I heard next floored me. The two guys began to tell the girls about the time they went to a Jay game and "these guys" were heckling the "other teams" centerfielder. "He wasn't really heckling him, they were yelling YO ROCCO! COME TO SNEAKY DEES" one kid explained. I almost had a heart attack. These kids knew Sneaky Dee's as only a punchline, a running joke born at a baseball game a year and a half ago. A game that happened to have a bunch of loudmouths in their section shouting at a player they had probably never heard of, begging him to come to bar to which they'd never been. And here I was, on the streetcar with them as they passed by this place for the first time in their lives.
This, my friends, is fate. Or destiny. Or coincidence. Anyway you look at it, the universe wants me to carry the torch for Rocco, to shout his name from the rooftops. The universe needs me to. Rocco and I have touched many lives, and I will continue to do the lord's work.