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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

Feb. 27, 2003

A Win And A Tragedy

Jeff Blair (98-00) lost his dad in a tragic motorcycle accident yesterday in Punta Gorda. A driver was making a u-turn and wound up hitting Jim Blair as he tried to avoid the car entering his lane. According to a newspaper account, the car only bumped Mr. Blair, but his cycle flipped over. His injuries appeared relatively minor, but his heart suddenly stopped.

Any of us who met the Blairs were always struck by the strong sense of love within their family. Mr. Blair was a man who loved his Harleys. But above all else, he loved his family.

Jeff was a real tough kid who was here from '98 to 2000. He was the leading hitter on the 98 team which played one of the toughest schedules in school history. Built like a rock, Jeff was an inspirational kid to be around. He never stopped working and pushed others to be better. He had to sit out the 1999 season because of a painful back injury that resulted in surgery. As that season progressed, Jeff watched his friends go on a remarkable run of 34 straight wins and lead the nation in winning percentage. Jeff was always there, and never moaned about the tough break of being injured throughout such a special year. He finished up in 2000 and is now a firefighter in Charlotte County.

The mental toughness passed onto Jeff by his Dad in life, will now be important to help cope with the tragedy of having his father suddenly taken from his family. Please keep Jeff and his family in your prayers now, and throughout the coming weeks. Those of us who have experienced loss know what is in store for this good family. We also know that Jim Blair is in a good place, riding with the

Angels, watching over the good people he loved so much.

A Win

We beat FIU last night, 13-7.

We finally solved the riddle of Josh Banks as Matt Pali and Jeff Fiorentino homered to lead the way. Jeff had two, as the wind finally stopped blowing in for once.

As the third out was recorded, Dan Jackson came in the dugout and gave us the bad news on Mr. Blair. It's a win, but it's not the same. KC



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