I’ve had pets all my life so I’ve dealt with the heartbreak of their death. It’s never easy, especially for those pets with a great disposition, the ones who really seemed loyal and loving. Those kinds of pets are why we have them in the first place.
That describes our cat, Yaz, who passed away Friday afternoon. He had been sick for a couple of months and his death does not come as a total shock, but that no lessens the blow because he was such a wonderful companion.
I’ve had many cats in my life. My parents always had a cat, sometimes two, along with dogs. I’ve loved having both as pets. I understand why many people dislike cats, especially compared with dogs. Cats aren’t as needy as dogs and don’t show their affection as readily as dogs will. I’m fine with that.
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But Yaz wasn’t like that. Yaz was more like a dog. He would fetch toy mice. He’d drop a toy at your feet and expect you to throw it for him. He’d do it over and over until he got tired. He also wanted your affection, whether you were sitting at your desk, on the couch or in bed. He wanted to sit on your lap, curl up and sleep contently. He loved a good scratch session on his neck and under his chin. I could get him so relaxed that his legs would eventually start stretching out in different directions.
Yaz was named after Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz’s brother is named Fenway. My wife Laura is a Red Sox fan, if that wasn’t obvious. (She also likes the Rangers, so back off.)
Yaz had to have a cancerous leg amputated in November 2015 and it was awfully expensive. If he could live pain-free, however, it was a no-brainer decision. He healed up and eventually was back to his old self, fetching mice and happy to be alive. We don’t regret the expense at all.
Life goes on, of course. We’ll move on and remember him fondly. The videos and pictures of him will probably bring sadness for a while but hopefully we’ll be able to eventually remember him for who he was, a one-of-a-kind cat.
One more thing: Thanks so much to all of you who sent your well-wishes on Twitter. If I did not reply with a thank you know that I saw your message and it was much appreciated. I was running out of time before the game started and also I did not want to start annoying people with a bunch more tweets about my cat. Thank you for your thoughts!
Here’s the Rangers reaction from a loss at Rogers Centre:
1. More than a loss — A.J. Griffin’s intercostal strain, which will send him to the disabled list Saturday, may not seem like a massive problem with Tyson Ross waiting in the wings but consider this: Ross hasn’t pitched in a major league game since Opening Day 2016 and he’s unlikely to go deep in his starts the rest of the year. Dillon Gee will join the team from Triple A Round Rock and be used out of the bullpen, according to manager Jeff Banister. Depending on how long Griffin is down, the Rangers’ rotation, which had been the rock of the club through most of the first two months, is now dealing with its second injured starter (also Cole Hamels).
2. Rougned’s return — Rougned Odor downplayed the rivalry and history with the Blue Jays before the game and he sounded and looked genuine. Odor is trying to distance himself from the infamous punch thrown at Jose Bautista, refusing to sign memorabilia relating to it and generally has tried to downplay any lingering animosity. That’s all understandable and respectable. Plus, you can understand why the same tired topic would get annoying for Odor.
3. Rougned’s revenge — Having said all that, there was no doubt some massive satisfaction for Odor when he quieted Blue Jay fan boos with a three-run homer in the ninth inning that pulled the Rangers to within 7-6. The Rogers Centre crowd booed every time Odor came to the plate. They booed him before the game when the starting lineups were announced. Odor was 0 for 3 with a strikeout before his homer.
4. Stop, or not — Elvis Andrus appeared to run through a stop sign by third base coach Tony Beasley in the third inning and was thrown out at home plate. In Andrus’ defense, the stop sign may have come late, and in the moment perhaps Andrus thought he could beat the throw. He wasn’t and instead of having runners at second and third with one out, the Rangers had a runner at second with two outs. Odor lined out to left to end the inning, a fly out that would have scored Andrus from third on a sac fly.
5. Big bulllpen lift — Reliever Austin Bibens-Dirkx was forced to replace Griffin in the second inning and did an honorable job of saving the bullpen with four innings of relief. He allowed three runs (including two solo homers) but if he’s unable to get the Rangers deep in the game before Jeremy Jeffress came on in the sixth, the already staggering bullpen would have been decimated for the rest of the series. Jeffress, allowed the third run against Bibens-Dirkx to score on a wild pitch but otherwise turned in his best outing in nearly two weeks. The Rangers needed that. He needed that.
Rest in peace, Yaz.