He was as prolific as any beat writer in town, and if you think I’m exaggerating about that just go check your RSS feed.
He was prolific in other ways, too, and last night when I suggested that the Happy Father’s Day text I got Sunday must have meant he sent a similar — personalized — text to at least 400 others, I was probably greatly overstating where I ranked on his list. It was probably closer to 4000.
A Richard Durrett byline always meant you were about to read something that wasn’t cynical or sarcastic or abrasive, and that’s probably what we’d all do well to draw from sports but don’t always get to. We always did with Rich.
There is some multiple of 4000 who knew Rich better than I did, but every time we crossed paths or traded messages, he treated it like we’d just talked the day before, and would again tomorrow. So many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But I can’t talk baseball with Rich tomorrow, and that’s difficult to understand, or accept.
We all lost last night.
You won’t find a greater example of kindness and tenacity, or selflessness and optimism, and while there have been a dozen extraordinary tributes written this morning — T.R.’s is T.R. at his best, and portrays Rich at his — I thought Evan nailed it when he tweeted this morning:
I can’t add to tributes to Richard Durrett; can only try to live more like him. Kind, caring, enthusiastic, lacking ego or pettiness.
I never met Rich’s kids Owen and Alice, and I never met his wife Kelly, who I understand is expecting a third. It took me a long time to type that.
But my heart is so heavy for that family, and I feel like I know what kind of people they must be because their lives were at the center of Rich’s, and his theirs.
Just a week ago, Rich emailed me to suggest I might enjoy the feature he’d just written on Joey Gallo, who had just been promoted to Frisco. He was right to think I’d enjoy it; he was wrong to think I needed the heads-up, as I’d already read it, of course (and tweeted about it so you guys wouldn’t miss it).
He cared about you, whether you know it or not. He made things better for lots of people, by shining his light on things the way he did — even on the radio, a format in which he excelled even though the playbook so often calls for a darker tactic than he was capable of, or interested in.
And because of the profession he chose, his good work gets to live on forever, not just the work he put in faithfully with his family and his friends, but the work he put in for all of us. Not everyone gets that chance, but Rich did, and he made the most of it. Read this.
We all lost last night.
But we have gained a lot from Rich, too, a lot of which doesn’t leave us just because he has, and a big part of that is the opportunity to think about living, like Evan said, more like Rich did, and to choose more often to shine light.