Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sad goodbye to free-spirit Jose Lima

Baseball players and coaches bid a sad good-bye to former big-league pitcher Jose Lima, a renowned free-spirit beloved by his teammates and fans, with his every appearance on the mound dubbed "Lima Time."

Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and David Ortiz of the Red Sox, who flew down and then back to Boston for a night game, attended the funeral in Queens. Like a lot of youngsters in the Dominican Republic, Cano loved watching Lima pitch and it was a fitting tribute to Lima that Cano hit a grand-slam homer on the day he said goodbye to one of his boyhood idols.

Lima ended his big-league career with the Mets. Jose Reyes had arranged for several buses to take Mets players and staffers to the funeral, but they were saddened that they could not personally pay their respects when the memorial was changed to Friday, showing how popular Lima remained despite not playing in the big leagues since 2006.

When I heard about Lima's death while attending the Sunday night game between the Yankees and Mets at Citi Field, I was both shocked and crushed. Not because I was a huge Lima fan personally, but because it just didn't seem fair. Lima was only 37 years, only three years older than I am right now. And he died of a heart attack. With heart disease by far being the #1 killer of American women today, it is a good reminder of the need to take great care of our hearts and bodies.

For the last time, it was "Lima Time" in New York yesterday, a way too-soon ending. Rest in peace, Jose.

Thanks to Malingering via Wikipedia for the photo.

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