…Oh I will waste another minute on my crying tonight.
Saturday, August 27, 2016 might be one of the greatest sports days of my life. It started in an Uber in West Hollywood looking for a liquor store that sold Colt 45 Blast en route to Dodger Stadium and ended with a toast at famed hole-in-the wall Tiki Ti which is so for-real divey it has to leave up on its website that you can’t smoke there.
It was there my friends and I hoisted a Ray’s Mistake (see: above) inside a building no bigger than Gilligan’s and Skipper’s hut (same decorator and everything). Our good fortune included watching the eventual World Series Champion Chicago Cubs get narrowly beaten by the home team 3-2, the golden-era voice of Vin Scully calling one of his final games—you could even hear it echoing in the bathroom—and my buddy shaking Tommy Lasorda’s hand on the way out.
For me though the real highlight of the day was sneaking down behind home plate and watching the Hollywood Stars celebrity softball game after the final out of the undercard MLB matchup.
The celeb game featured luminaries such as don’t google-image-search-her-at-work Amanda Cerny, Bachelor contestant Becca Tilley, Bachelor and Bachelorette contestant JoJo Fletcher, someone whose agent probably got fired after the game, Bella Thorne, NCIS denizen Brian Dietzen, D’Angelo (the singer) namesake and Laker heir apparent D’Angelo Russell, Jaleel “Did I Do That?” White, Oscar winner and celebrity softball HOF’er Jamie Foxx, T-1000 Robert Patrick, self-proclaimed (no joke) lifestyle architect Dave Osokow, Kareem and, of course, Alan Thicke.
Thicke was a team captain of one of the squads (I was a handful of aforementioned Colt 45s plus some ballpark Montejos deep so I don’t remember which one or what it was called or why). I do remember he got on the PA and sang effing “Oh Canada” and said some nice things about his team and their charities prior to the first slow pitch and my knees quaked at the first hint of his vaguely Canadian baritone that simply said “Dad” to me. In the bottom of the first, he ripped a RBI single down the first base line (scoring Jaleel White from second) and I’m pretty sure I could see him show me that smile again from five rows up.
Thicke, the stay-at-home-psychologist-dad of my wildest suburban fantasies, died of a heart attack at 69 Tuesday night; because 2016 is one relentless SOB and must know a thing or two about 2017 with how it so mercifully insists on continuing to take our best while installing our worst in positions of untold power. Fuck.
Thicke, a self-proclaimed sports junkie—and if his hustle up the first base line is any indicator, not a bad athlete himself—died the way every Canuck should, playing hockey with his youngest son, Carter. According to middle son Robin’s publicist, ever the best-dad-ever, one of the last things he said was “nice shot.”
“The good thing was that he was beloved and he had closure,” Robin said. “I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and respected him.”
Alan Thicke, who basically could have retired a legend after “Sweaty and Hot”:
…was still crushing it on TV including a recent stint on the show I just have no interest in watching based on the people who watch it, NBC’s “This Is Us” and was signed on for the next season of Netflix’s “Fuller House”.
He even left us right after tweeting at Bob Saget about it:
— Alan Thicke (@Alan_Thicke) December 13, 2016
Sincere and relevant till the end. RIP Dr. Jason Seaver and may all your line drives fall in fair territory in heaven.