We do this weird thing in the blogosphere.
We greet schmucky slogans like "Hustle & Heart" with derision, probably more than is deserved (even if some gentle mocking is probably in order).
We like to claim that we don't care about clubhouse unity; it matters little to us if the roster is comprised of grade-A pricks, so long as they perform.
Well, you know? Fuck that. Can't we have both?
I'm an admitted softy to these kind of stories, probably moreso since my own baby son went through a life-threatening stretch of illness of his own. So if you're a heartless robot (and not in an awesome Halladay-esque way) who would gladly trade solid citizenry for thirty points of OPS, feel free to spend the next few minutes spending your time elsewhere. It's OK. I won't judge. Hey, some (most?) days I would too. But not today.
Not after watching Thursday's game and reading this story.
It's when reflecting on stories like these that the easy thing to say, the defacto attitude to have, is that baseball doesn't matter. And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really. It's not life or death. It's entertainment.
That's what ties all this together. These Blue Jays - Romero and Arencibia in particular - seem to get it. They really do. Maybe we're all just so jaded into believing that pro athletes are naturally arrogant and selfish in nature that when the players we cheer for seem to actually care, we're taken aback.
But tears and emotion don't lie. Romero and JPA could have given the standard quotes - "well, hearing that kind of story puts it all in perspective, y'know, so we just went out there and gave it 110% for the kid." But their actions on the field and reactions beyond it showed so much more otherwise.
I'm sure for many the biggest story was the Jays won the game and split the mini-set with the Rays. And that was all well and good, too. But part of the entertainment factor, for me anyway, is cheering for a group of players you can respect.
No matter the boxscores for the balance of the season, it doesn't look like that's going to be much of a problem at all.