It's been a full year to the day since the Virginia Tech tragedy, which took the lives of 32 students and teachers, but the memory of Brian Bluhm is still strong in the Detroit Tigers online community. Motownsports and other online forums in which Brian participated still miss his insight and kindness as much as ever. Many have expressed the sentiment that the fateful day will forever impact the way they think about their lives.
One of Brian's favorite activities as a Tigers fan was to closely follow all the players in their minor league system. As a tribute to his dedication to Tigers prospects, the members of Motownsports collectively purchased memorial plaques and bricks to be placed in all the Tigers minor league parks. I'll be going to Lakeland in May so I'll get a chance to see his brick. Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to see the memorials at the other parks some day as well.
A week doesn't go by where we don't bring up an old post of Brian and say: "He was right about that". It's well known that Brian was one of Curtis Granderson's biggest supporters all the way back to the day he was drafted. When Curtis heard of Brian's death, he honored him on his blog and talked to his family. The two will always be connected in our minds.
Brian was right about a lot of other things too. Just the other day, somebody brought up an old thread about Clete Thomas when he played for Oneonta. A lot of people didn't know much about Clete back then but Brian had been following him and mentioned that he a chance to be good some day. As usual, it turned out that he was right. Brian was also a big fan of Scott Sizemore who is curently playing for Lakeland. So, keep an eye on Scott too.
More importantly, Brian was a friend. Most of us never met him in person but when you talked to Brian, you didn't talk to an anonymous online poster. You talked to a real person who was interested in what you had to say. One of the most encouraging thing that could happen on any message board was to write a post and have Brian drop by and simply say "I agree". That simple phrase always felt good coming from him.
My thoughts are with his family today. It is still, of course, a very difficult time for them. All I can offer to them is the assurance that we will never forget him.