In the spring of 2012 I stood on a sidewalk that connected the backfields of the Peoria Sports Complex. By virtue of a friendship with Rick and Beau of RJ’s Fro I had come impossibly close to the white lines which our Padres crossed each sun-baked Arizona morning.
As we stood chatting in a protective circle, Jerry Coleman walked right past us. This simple action of walking had a tremendous effect – it opened our circle – and we watched as the legend walked away. We were like little kids, fingers thrust out before us pointing, Look there’s the Colonel! It was an amazing experience . . .
. . . and then Will Venable started cursing at us from the batting cages! But not even a Venable diatribe could put a damper on our morning. We turned and took the same path that Jerry Coleman had tramped only moments earlier and we settled in for the first Spring Training game of 2012.
I cannot recall with any sort of clarity a signature moment during my time listening to Jerry Coleman. I cannot recall the first time I heard, “You can hang a star on that baby!” and sadly I cannot recall the last time either. Jerry Coleman was like home. That something that was always there, always providing comfort. It’s what home does for us and it’s what Jerry Coleman did for me as a Padres fan.
I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly outraged by the location of statues around Petco Park. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM. The dusty archives of AJM are located at avengingjm.blogspot.com