I am a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan from my early childhood. Because I now live a ridiculously late childhood in Telluride I follow this ballclub which has a storied tradition in major league baseball, daily. My Roomie Bo and I watched Cardinals games almost nightly this 2014 season. Bo is a Virginia Boy, but I lured him into a Cardinals fan in this way in these past seasons...and the Cards won their Central division...got close to winning the National League pennant... but got outplayed by the Giants.
Two nights ago during the Series game where the Giants were whipping the KC Royals an announcement came over the broadcast...Oscar Taveras was killed in a car wreck near his home in the Dominican Republic. His inamorata was in the glaring red Camaro that Oscar was driving. She died too when he hit a tree.
My interiors emptied. The cold news put me back, deep into my couch. Oscar was 22. He was the biggest, brightest, shiny rookie prospect with the Cardinals since Albert Pujols came up to hit Hall of Fame stats for the Cardinals, for a decade. Taveras was considered to be that Pujols-quality kind of hitter for the Cards. The rabid St. Louis fans (count me too) were tickled by Oscar. He had some kind of spirit that made us happy to see him come to bat. To watch him lope in right field for fly balls. To grabass in the dugout. He was antic. He smacked a homer in his second at bat in his first game in the bigs this May. He launched a game tying shot against the Giants during this NL pennant series.
We, all of us, including his teammates and his management, thought Oscar would be a star. He was one.
They buried Oscar yesterday in his hometown. Cardinals GM Mozeliak and Manager Matheny were there. Thousands were there. Oscar is really missed, immediatemente. There is a small darkness in Telluride.
The Cardinals now need a right fielder. But Oscar cannot be replaced. Damn it.