Eulogy For Bill Hall (60-63)
Dear Ken Macha,
Week after week, the song remains the same. Another week, another 2.5 games out of the Division and Wild Card chase.
The Washington Nationals are no longer the pushovers that every other team considers them. Worse yet, your early season dominance of the Pittsburgh Pirates has faded like the wash on Ryan Braun’s designer jeans. Yes, Ken, your team is now playing as poorly as a pair of artificially distressed pants commonly found at an ultimate fighting event.
But I’m not writing you this week to dump on your team or your ever-dwindling playoff hopes.
No, this week I’m writing to express my deepest sadness and sympathy at the passing of Bill Hall (to Seattle). I can only imagine that the profound loss of Milwaukee’s greatest batsman has dropped the team into an ever-growing funk of sadness that not even Prince Fielder’s everyday heroics can rescue them from.
And to help you and all of your players through this necessary grieving process, I wrote a eulogy for Bill Hall’s career that you can read out loud on the plane ride home after Monday’s win… or loss — does it even matter any more?
Click the virtual boombox below, Ken, and unleash the tears.
William Hall — Bill to his friends — was an offensive spark plug, a valuable infielder and an all-around smile during the majority of his career with the Brewers.
Bill was a shining beacon of organizational hope during the ugly years of the early Naughties when our roster included the likes of Paul Bako, Alex Sanchez and Jeffrey Hammonds. His generosity knew no bounds, whether that meant valiantly filling in for shortstop Jose Hernandez so that Jose wouldn’t break the single-season major league strikeout record or discretely explaining the hit and run to then manager Jerry Royster.
Bill found great success during the 2005 season as a jack of all trades in the infield, filling in at second and third base before taking over at shortstop after J.J. Hardy injured his ankle. Bill excelled with both the bat and the glove, garnering him the respect of veteran catcher Damien Miller and the child-like adulation of Carlos Lee. More importantly, Bill helped bring the fans of Milwaukee their first season of less shitty baseball in 12 years. If parades were thrown for .500 seasons, Bill would have sat in the most elegant of wood-paneled convertible PT Cruisers.
If 2005 was Bill’s coming out party, 2006 was his quinceanera. Bill treated fans to his greatest season ever. And in the greatest moment of his greatest season, Bill walked up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning on Mother’s Day, pink bat in hand, and hit a game-winning home run off of Mets reliever Chad Bradford, handing breast cancer its first career loss.
In 2007, Bill Hall signed a four-year, $24 million contract and was moved to center field due to the return of J.J. Hardy. The position change affected not only his bat, but also his driving skills and acting ability. It was a year that fans and Bill both would like to forget.
Ever the optimist, Bill was certain that 2008 would prove to be better than seasons before. The sting of another bad season brought Bill to rock bottom and the end of the bench. When he requested to be traded, he forever lost the fans.
Even though Bill’s career gradually reduced fans’ expectations for him, let us all share Bill’s positive outlook on life and remember his time in Milwaukee not for the disappointing moments, but rather for his charming smile and masterwork with the pink bat.
Eight letters, four L’s. Forever and ever.