It's hard to believe that it has been five years 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 have seen the brick at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, FL and hope to see the memorials at the other parks some day as well.
Brian would have loved the current Tigers team. What he would have appreciated most though is players such as Alex Avila, Brennan Boesch, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander, who were drafted by the Tigers and brought through their system. He would have followed their progress through the minors more closely than any of us had and told us what to expect. He would have been right too, but would never have boasted about it.
Most 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 things 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 Brian's family today. Their loss will, of course, always be difficult for them. All I can offer to them is the assurance that we will never