Diary

Water Cooler 3/31/2018 – Open Thread – Pets; a True Baseball Hero


A couple of things that hit close to home.

I don’t hate pit bulls…

just the people who breed them for the wrong purposes and then dump them. Have you ever gone to your local animal shelter? It’s sad to see what a huge percentage of dogs are ones that most people would think of as pit bulls or some mix involving them. Here’s the list of dogs at Austin Pets Alive! for example. My sister’s family in New Orleans has several they rescued and they are a blast.

I don’t hate cats…

just the people who get one, don’t spay/neuter it, and then let it run loose. There are always cats roaming around our neighborhood, which leads me to our adventure this Holy Week.

Overnight Tuesday a big thunderstorm moved through. Wednesday morning I went to check the rain gauge (4″ by the way) and when I got back to the door I heard a cat noise. It took me a minute to realize there were two tiny kittens right next to my feet. I woke up my wife (a husband’s first reaction right?) and she came out and collected them as well as a third one I didn’t see. Meanwhile I was looking up info on the local shelter, calling our vet, and eventually calling a friend of mine, so I wasn’t completely doing nothing.

We were told to put them where we found them and hope the mom came back to nurse them. We were also told there could be more. We looked around by the shed where she most likely had carried them from, but we didn’t see or hear any others. Two of the three looked to be in okay shape and the third one was barely alive. I thought it was dead when I first saw it. My wife warmed them up for an hour and then we put them back with some blankets in a box. Outside temp was around 60 degrees.

The mom did come back that afternoon so we were mostly checking on them after that. We were worried about the little one since she was smaller than the others, but she must be feeding okay. Also later in the afternoon kitten #4 appeared, but not surprisingly it was already dead. The mom sure had worked hard to get them all there.

Then by Friday afternoon they were gone. She had moved them underneath a BBQ grill where we knew she had spent time before because we saw cat hairs on the mat underneath when we were looking for more kittens earlier. Not sure where this adventure ends – hopefully with us catching the mom at some point so she can be ‘fixed’ and maybe ditto with the kittens.

Le Grande Orange

No that’s not what they call Donald Trump at Trump Tower Toronto or even Trump Tower Vancouver. It was the nickname people in Montreal gave baseball player Daniel “Rusty” Staub when he played for the Expos many years ago.

Staub died on opening day.

He graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans in 1961 (small world – I was class of ’74) and signed with the Houston Colt .45s. Imagine a team trying to use that name today. His career included many highlights. Here are a few:

  • He is one of only four players who had homers in their teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s.
  • He is the only player who had 500 hits with each of four different teams.
  • He was the first star for the Expos; they loved him for learning French while playing there.
  • He became a hero for the Mets in their unlikely pennant win in 1973, even though they ended up losing the World Series in seven games.
  • In 1978 with the Tigers, he was the DH in all 162 games (a first) and ended up fifth in MVP voting.
  • By 1983 he was a remarkable pinch hitter, once getting eight straight pinch hits.

Even though he had a great baseball career, it’s what Staub did off the field that really makes him legendary. At the end of his Mets career, he founded the NY Police and Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund, which has raised more than $140M over the years, especially since 9/11. (Be sure to read the comments at that link.)

Staub also worked through Catholic Charities to help feed the hungry in New York.

If only we had more athletes like this humble kid from New Orleans who ended up touching countless lives in New York City and beyond.

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