The timing is perfect. Trevor Hoffman is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A powerful flood of memories and emotions has overwhelmed the San Diego sports community. I can’t even think of Trevor without hearing AC/DC in the jukebox of my mind. Crazy to think that Hells Bells didn’t even become a “thing” for Trevor until the 1998 season. On July 25, 1998, TREVOR TIME was born. Hearing that first bell ring, in person, in the playoffs in 1998 at The Murph is one of the single greatest memories I have in sports. I’d never seen or heard a crowd electrified like that before. Instant eruption, an explosion of fans jumping to their feet, with booming cheers. It was like something out of a movie… turns out, as Trevor tells it, the inspiration did come from Ricky Vaughn in Major League coming in to Wild Thing. Love that. And all the excitement… the excitement was all for something that technically wasn’t even game action. It wasn’t in the field of play. It was the thrill of what was to come… a W.
I remember watching Trevor’s 300th save. Number 400 was in St. Louis, so I wasn’t there for that one. I was there for 479. It was breathtaking. I was there for 500. So were many of you. I remember being there for his retirement ceremony at Petco Park. We he walked out to Hells Bells with his family. I started crying uncontrollably. That’s not an exaggeration. Anybody who knows me, knows I’m a crier, but this… this was bad. Ugly cry. I couldn’t help myself. I was overwhelmed with joy that I was able to witness greatness and be a part of a sports community that universally loved somebody that absolutely deserved it. That feeling… that camaraderie… the bells ringing that unified a city. Sounds overly dramatic, I know. But that’s the only way I know how to describe what Trevor has done for this community. I could bore you with statistics I looked up on baseball reference, but those don’t do Trevor justice. He’s so much more than statistics. He’s a hero. He’s our hero. My dad was a firefighter, and my mom was a nurse, so I know not to throw the word “hero” around loosely. Trevor inspired a generation of fans, and will continue to do so as the face of San Diego.
Sure, San Diego sports has had its heroes. Seau, Gwynn, Tomlinson, to name a few. Nobody can ever take away the memories they gave us. Sadly, they, the individuals, can be taken from us. Under incredibly different tragic circumstances, Junior and Tony are both gone. LT? Well, LT followed the Chargers to LA. Not to say he’s not still loved here in San Diego, but the LA pill is a tough one to swallow. Enter stage right… newly minted Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. He’s here. He’s loving. He’s kind. He’s approachable. He literally checks every box of what you want your sports heroes to be as human beings. He is a role model to my children. He’s a role model to me. Trevor the human, is every bit as good, if not better, than Trevor Hoffman the Hall of Fame ballplayer. We put our sports heroes up on this pedestal, and we expect the world from them. It’s not fair to them, because they’re only human, and they will inevitably let us down. But not Trevor.
I cannot remember a time that San Diego sports fans were so united over the water cooler and twitter alike. It was glorious. Trevor was in the Hall and he did it for all of us. I’m still beaming with joy and pride that I live in a city that has Trevor Hoffman to look up to. I don’t care what the internet throws at me today… no amount of twitter hacks, or XFL rumors, will distract me from the pure bliss that I’m experiencing. Trevor in Cooperstown has filled my heart with joy, and my face with a smile. Thanks for the memories, Trevor, and thank you for giving us all a gleaming example of what it means to be a Hall of Famer.
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