Pujols started off slow, with 4 homers in the first round, but had a big second round to secure a tie for 3rd place in the home run derby. He belted 9 homers in the 2nd round to bring his total to 13. It was cute to watch Albert Jr. watching his dad. As Albert had 8 outs and needed 3 more homers to tie Vlad Guerrero and acheive a swing-off for the finals, Albert asked his son, "Do you think I can hit 3 more?" Junior didn’t hesitate to nod affirmatively. It all came down to the last swing, with 9 homers and 9 outs, but Albert’s final blast ended just at the warning track. Still, a great show by Albert, and let’s hope he keeps hitting like that in the 2nd half of the season.
My dad, Joseph Wiskirchen, passed away on Memorial Day after a 13-month battle with esophageal cancer. He had been on an upswing, and I’d been working on moving him from St. Louis to LA. I had even set up an apartment for him in a senior complex and went back to St. Louis the week before Memorial Day to pack his stuff. When I got home, his condition seemed worse, and we found out 2 days later the cancer had moved into his brain. I quickly canceled the moving plan and began to think about hospice and other alternatives. Then he got an infection which became septic shock, and after 3 days in the ICU, he passed away.
I’m an only child, and I lost my mom 6 years ago, so my dad was really the only close family I had left. The amazing thing was that when I should have been feeling most alone, I instead felt surrounded by love from family and friends. I was touched by the number of friends who came in from as far as LA and NYC to attend the memorial service, help me with the estate sale, and even drive a U-haul back to LA with me. Local friends and family went way above and beyond the call of duty.
I took a month off work, although I think I worked harder that month than ever in my life. The process of cleaning out my parents’ house was exhausting physically and emotionally. I probably kept more stuff than I should, but I’ll go through it all eventually with a clearer head. The 4-day drive back to LA along Route 66 was a revelation. Just when I thought I might never have fun again, I did, despite myself, visiting roadside attractions like the Precious Moments Chapel and The Big Texan. I also had some time to meditate on things and "just be" which helped me make the transition back to life in LA.
I know it will take a long time before things feel normal, and really they’ll never be the same. One thing that doesn’t feel right at all is watching baseball. My dad instilled a love for the game in me and a love for sports in general. It was his suggestion that I join him at Spring Training in 2004 that reignited my love for the Cards and got me started following them religiously which eventually led to this blog. So, why watch a game if I can’t call or email my dad to discuss it? My enthusiasm just isn’t there.
I know my dad would want me to keep blogging, so I’ll start with some haikus and see how things go. Just as we have to be patient with the Cards this season, you’ll have to be patient with me.
A bullpen-bound Todd
Wellemeyer shuts ’em out
as Cards avoid sweep.