"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again." - James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams (1989)
Curtis Granderson has never spoken to Brian Bluhm. He has never shaken his hand. He has never met him. Yet every April 16, Grandy pays homage to Brian, who was a huge Tigers fan, by changing his Facebook profile and Twitter avatar to a picture of Brian in a Virginia Tech sweatshirt. Brian was shot and killed on April 16, 2007 in the Virginia Tech massacre. However small a tribute, it shows people that they will not be forgotten. They will be remembered.
Today hits home incredibly hard. Whenever I tell people I played ball at Virginia Tech, it’s met with phrases like, “Isn’t that the school…?” Or, “Why would you go there?” Even the occasional, “I would never go to Virginia Tech.” I cannot put into words how proud I am to be a Hokie. It’s an incredibly wonderful school filled with amazing people in one of the greatest towns you will ever visit.
Four days after the shootings, while classes were cancelled, Virginia Tech baseball took the field. Thousands showed up to watch the Hokies play. They came to get away from the madness and sadness surrounding the campus. Baseball provided an escape. It reminded them of what was good and what could be again.
Yesterday, we all witnessed a tragedy in Boston. We witnessed an outpouring of support for the victims. We witnessed how the first responders reacted. We witnessed tributes, tears, moments of silence and people coming together. Much like it did in 2007, no matter how small, baseball provided America with an escape from a tragedy.