Thursday, February 21, 2008

RIP, Jeff Carlton

I had some minor chores to do on my day off - get my haircut, get my car's oil changed. I went to Wal-Mart to accomplish the latter and sat in the waiting area, biding time by checking on my phone.

That's where I learned that Jeff Carlton, a sportswriter at the Greensboro News & Record, passed away this morning due to complications from malignant brain tumors.

I was not a close friend of Jeff's; we had met a few times through mutual friends, but no more. Still, I was deeply saddened for my friend's loss and saddened at the memory of one fun weekend several years ago.

My post from SJ:

Five years or so ago, I had one of the most fun weekends of my life with Jeff.

He was up our way to celebrate at a bachelor party for a friend of ours, former BA writer Lacy Lusk. The weekend was a baseball road trip.

We had several others join us for a Saturday afternoon game at Camden Yards for O's-Blue Jays. My uncle was kind enough to hook us up excellent seats - two sections to the right of being directly behind home plate, about 10 rows up. I caught a foul ball that game.

Most of the group headed back to DC after the O's games; Lacy, Jeff and I were left to head north to Aberdeen; I believe they played Auburn that night. We waited out a rain delay, somehow got great seats again (front row down the 3B line) and chuckled at the reliever throwing an 86 mph 'heater' with no movement. But what I remember most was us reading - and laughing our asses off - at the free weekly we had picked up, particularly the crime log. There was a long story about some dispute between area residents that - forgive me for not remembering the details - involved a slab of meat at the center of the dispute with some guy getting threatened with a tire iron. Funny enough, no? It gets better.

Whoever the reporter was took the police report as gospel, apparently. One of the quotes from an eyewitness was something like, "That's the man! That's the man from 15 Evergreen Street" or wherever the incident took place. Because someone in their excitement would yell out the exact address... we howled over that all night.

We stayed at some crappy motel and got up early the next morning for the drive to Reading, Pa. to see the R-Phils and Akron. We had crappy left-field tickets this time, made only more tolerable by the fact that I (not so much Jeff and Lacy) was steps from the Yuengling stand, to which I made several trips. We got bored with the seats and decided to check out the rest of the place.

Eventually, we found ourselves in right field at the stadium pavilion, which was set up for a party for folks from a local grocery store chain. Except no one was manning the front entrance. So we snuck in and settled down at one of the picnic tables, which had a small TV at one end. We tuned in the big-league Phillies while keeping track of the game we were at. I had just enough beer in me to say screw it, so I took off my shoes and wandered over to the small pool. I stuck my feet in, chatted up one of the moms watching her kids and enjoyed the day. That was one hell of a way to end a weekend.

I hadn't really kept in touch with Jeff, especially after Lacy moved on to bigger things. But I was deeply saddened to check in here this afternoon and find the news of this thread.

RIP, Jeff, and I hope you enjoyed that weekend as much as I did.

I re-post it to give the world a glimpse of what was lost this morning.

1 comment:

ME said...

Good story. I'm sorry to hear the news. :(