Saturday, June 01, 2019


Rui is third from left with the bat in his hand (picture courtesy Joe Mingoia).
If anyone has a better picture, let me know and I'll add it.

I had a different post written for tonight. Forgive me. What I wrote today was a little all over the place. It can wait.

I got a message out of nowhere from my friend and former colleague, Joe Mingoia.

He said a Facebook post alluded to the passing of another former colleague, Rui Soares. I immediately texted Harold. Like me, he had no information.

As it was, it appeared the post was premature in that the family wasn't prepared to say anything. A subsequent post also came and was taken down.

Within the past hour, Rui's older sister confirmed what we knew.

Our colleague, softball teammate, video co-conspirator (all at Kraft/Philip Morris/Altria), and friend is gone.

He had one of the best senses of humor and a great laugh. More than that, he was a truly quality person.

I don't remember the last time I saw him, but we had found each other on Facebook, which allowed us to keep in touch. I had just wished him a happy birthday only within the last month.

Softball was a great equalizer in the corporate days at the former General Foods (which became Kraft/Philip Morris/Altria). It allowed me to meet people that I probably would never meet and form friendships that I'll carry forever.

While not seeing Rui a lot since those days (I left in '96 but continued to be involved with the league until 2005), there was still the bond of those days.

The laughter we all shared while competing fiercely.

The post-game beverages.

The videos.

So many memories.

In 1995, I became more than just a crappy player. I became a "broadcaster" for the league (a longer story for another time). We began making video summaries every year, with my play-by-play (yes, even then) a part of the highlights.

We got Rui to recite Kevin Costner's speech about what he believes in from Bull Durham. The look on his face and wink at the end will always make me laugh.

He took part in a "Survivor" parody that we did.

He was always up for any of these things.

Once, during our attempt at a "Game of the Week" broadcast, Rui joined me ostensibly to do color.

Sort of.

I introduced him, saying "THE Rui" was joining us.

His response will stay with me forever.

"I don't plan on mez-uh-mer-izing anyone," he said. "I just plan on drinking."

I'm smiling while I'm typing tonight.

I was crying as I texted this to Harold yesterday.

I'm heartbroken for his wife Jen and children Lina and Cristiano.

This news flashed years of memories for me. There's sadness for their memories. Of faces and places I haven't thought about and faces and places that I miss.

Hug your loved ones, friends. We just don't know. Life certainly isn't fair sometimes. Nor does it make sense.

I won't mez-uh-mer-ize anyone in my next broadcast, Rui.

But I'll have a drink in your memory.

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