Being a Clearwater Thresher’s season ticket holder is like an endurance test. The heat, humidity and summer storms make those who have season tickets a hardy bunch and you bond with those who are going through it with you.
There’s an extra bond when you meet someone who goes to Gulf Coast League games as they happen at NOON in the burning Florida sun. This is where a Baseball Ross and I first met John Berry.
John was excited about a pitcher the Phillies had signed, Anton Kuznetsov, who was from Russia where John’s wife Anna was born. John and Anna befriended Anton and John soon brought me a picture of the three of them. Baseball Ross has used it in his blog back in 2017.
Sadly, we lost John at Thanksgiving. When I say “we”, I mean our little group of season ticket holders, the hardy ones who have become a little “framily”. Today, his sweet wife, Anna, held a lunch in John’s honor.
Of course there were some sad moments and tears were shed but the overwhelming feeling was joy. You see, we shared laughs, as John had a “thing” for chasing foul balls.
John would always had this serious look of determination when he was chasing a foul and nothing could stop him. One friend laughed as he recounted how John had tripped over his legs as John was trying to get to the aisle to chase the ball.
Our little group shared a good laugh and raised a glass to one of our own who was gone too soon. John was a good egg and he never lost that true love of going home with a ball. It’s what made him special. Going to games next spring are going to be a little less special without our good friend John Berry.
Rest In Peace, John. You will be missed.