The Thrill Is Gone Away.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 08.28.04In his first major league at-bat — the first time he offered at a pitch, in fact — a sweet-swinging 22 year-old crushed a Nolan Ryan fastball over the center field fence. Thus began the MLB career of Will “The Thrill” Clark.

Now, Nolan Ryan was a badass.  Perhaps the badass.  Scared the hell out of batters for nearly 30 years with a 100 mph fastball and knee-buckling curve.  On occasion, a foolhardy hitter would charge the mound in anger, only to be jackhammered by the most intimidating pitcher alive.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 08.15.34

I’ve heard that Will Clark used B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” as his answering machine greeting.  When Will was traveling, out of town, on the road, whatever, people who called his phone heard B.B. tell them that the prodigy wasn’t home.  But this was the opposite of “I’ll be right back.” B.B made the caller feel like sobbing, with a pit in his (or more likely, her) gut.  Made them feel like they couldn’t muster the strength to take another breath into their lungs after that last exhale.  What was the point of even trying to carry on? I’ll just sit here, collapsed and shattered, on my living room carpet, chest heaving, clutching the plastic phone in my trembling fingers, until he is no longer “gone.”  That type-deal.

Wow.

So Will’s first MLB at-bat made him “King of the Badasses.”  The most badass of them all.  (I went to law school to avoid math, but I believe this is how the math works here.)  The story of the “Thrill Is Gone” answering machine message burned into my adolescent brain:  The “Official Soundtrack of Badasses.”  If you wanted to make an impact, make people gasp when you walked into — and out of — a room, simply hit your first major league home run off Nolan Ryan with your first swing of the bat.  Oh, and play some B.B. King on your answering machine.

RIP, B.B., I will be playing you all day long.

“The Thrill Is Gone”

The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you’ll be sorry someday

The thrill is gone
It’s gone away from me
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away from me
Although, I’ll still live on
But so lonely I’ll be

The thrill is gone
It’s gone away for good
The thrill is gone baby
It’s gone away for good
Someday I know I’ll be open armed baby
Just like I know a good man should

You know I’m free, free now baby
I’m free from your spell
Oh I’m free, free, free now
I’m free from your spell
And now that it’s all over
All I can do is wish you well

Thanks for reading.

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