The service today for Todd was beautiful and well-attended. There were a series of photographs of Todd, a big fella, who looked like a combination of Matt Damon and Don Rickles. Rickles without the nastiness. As one of his friends said, Todd was tough but never mean-spirited.
I knew how deeply Todd and his writing touched us here in the baseball community, and that of course extended to his co-workers at the ACLU as well as his family. I knew that Todd was a caring soul, hard-working and determined. But today, we learned that he loved to go to the ballet with his wife Marsha. He raced motor bikes as a kid in Syracuse and played hockey and later covered race car driving and even worked for Dale Earnhardt for a year. He was a dog lover, and he enjoyed a good cigar.
Todd’s sister reminded us that he was no saint, a commanding but tender big brother who wasn’t above playing a prank on his syblings, like when he sprayed Pledge on the kitchen floor during a game of hide-and-seek. His wife said that his calm demeanor changed when he was at Yankee Stadium watching a game, especially if the Sox were in town.
At the end of the ceremony, Todd’s father-in-law said the final words and put a Yankee cap on–so did many of the guests in the audience. It’s so easy to be cynical about big time sports these days–I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the New York Yankees and the ACLU celebrated jointly before–but it was a moment that reminded me why our teams, these games, matter so much to us, how they keep us together. Then we all sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
I came away knowing more about Todd, feeling closer to him than before. I am honored to call him a friend. I am also more aware of just how much he will be missed.