In the rush of news at the Winter Meetings when the Mets signed Francisco Rodriguez and dealt for J.J. Putz, we never really had a chance to say goodbye to those departing players - other than Lou Brutus's painful, tearful parting with Joe Smith.
But I got a reminder this week that I wanted to pass along. Few Mets fans seem to miss Aaron Heilman, but those of us who dealt with him on a daily basis will miss him - not for ruining our running game stories, but for being helpful and professional in the clubhouse.
We have a program for the
BBWAA Dinner - a very nice glossy magazine with all sorts of ads sold
from teams or agents honoring their players who are being honored. And
the one ad in there that didn't have a reason came from Aaron.
On Page 39 among a few ads for David Wright winning the Joan Payson Award for charity work, Aaron took out an ad that read:
Playing at Shea
before you folks
was an experience
I always will savor
Thank you for support
-- Aaron Heilman
Congratulations to all award winners this evening
Now, that is not exactly the message that fans would have sent to Aaron on his departure. But I think it says something about Heilman, that he could absorb the abuse he did during his time here and still stand up with class and offer up a reasonable goodbye and thank you to the fans.
Now that doesn't mean that the fans aren't right to feel what they felt. I just think sometimes it's nice for fans to see the other side of the man that they are booing.
UPDATE: I guess I should have gotten to this earlier this winter. Heilman was dealt from the Mariners to the Cubs today, which is a happy ending to the story since that hometown territory for Heilman.