Tonight I read Gary Carter's obituary.
And that just seems absurd to me.
I've read tweets mourning his passing from Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra's museum - two catchers who came before Carter and who will now outlive him.
I'm having a whole lot of trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the man I grew up idolizing has died.
And I don't really know what to write.
I've told you many times about how Gary Carter was the reason I became a Mets fan
- the reason I started following Major League Baseball, really.
I've always hoped I'd have the chance to meet him. Just to say thank you for being a positive influence on my life. And for never letting me down as a role model.
I thought about what I'd write when the day came that Carter did pass away. I was hoping for something extremely eloquent - and now I'm finding that I can't exactly find the words to express just how much Gary Carter meant to me.
He was a great baseball player. Little did I know when my friends and I had our generation's (and location's) version of the "Willy/Mickey/Duke" arguments (it usually involved Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and Don Mattingly), that the choice I always defended would end up being the only Hall of Famer in the trio.
But it went beyond baseball. Yes, I was a Mets fan, but growing up everyone knew me as a Gary Carter fan. I didn't just get a thrill from watching him play baseball - I got a thrill when the Ivory Soap commercial he did came on the TV. That lasted throughout my life - I watched celebrity softball games, followed college and minor league baseball games, and waited for his next appearance on ESPN's 2-Minute Drill just to catch a glimpse of him...but it started when I was an impressionable youngster watching and reading about everything he did. One of the best gifts I ever received was a spring training Mets jersey with a cheap iron-on 8 on the back. Heck - I even considered getting a perm once just so my hair would look like his. (I can't thank you enough, Mom, for dragging your feet on carrying that one out. That would have been a terrible idea.)
So I don't know what to write right now.
I've lost my hero.
And it feels just about as bad as I was afraid it would.