It's been a process for umpire Jim Joyce, moving from the mental exhaustion of the 2010 season and the Armando Galarraga Game last June to the point where now he's anticipating this spring training more than any recent camp.
What Kay Joyce most has noticed about her husband of 28 years is that he was very quiet for the first month or so after he returned home last October.
"Very, very quiet," Kay says. "I got him to go to Home Depot once, and four different people came up to him.
"I thought, 'Oh, now I know why.' It's all good, but. ..."
But the guy she noticed following her husband around a grocery store one day, up and down multiple aisles, she wasn't sure that would be good.
Turned out, though, it was simply the store manager.
"He just wanted to shake Jim's hand," she says.
Yes, it's been strange the way a man working in a profession in which the perfect day is to go unnoticed has been, well, regularly noticed.
"It has turned into a phenomenon," Jim Joyce says. "We're not perfect. We're not perfect people. I just happened to be imperfect at the wrong time."
Though he's intent on moving past 2010, two of the items he's kept from last summer are way cool: Baggage tags that were on his luggage when he traveled from Detroit to Philadelphia after the Galarraga game on which unidentified handlers scribbled personal notes.
One one tag was written, "You gave your best. God bless. (signed) DTW baggage"
On the other: "We are all human. Good luck. (signed) DTW."
"That was a shock to me," Joyce says. "So many people have been supportive. I couldn't be more happy that it still is a positive."
Likes: Not surprising, the notes on those baggage tags. As someone who hails from that area -- about 30 minutes north of Joyce's hometown of Toledo, Ohio -- the spirit of the good Midwestern people remains with me to this day. Joyce and I discussed that Friday. "They talk about Southern hospitality," he says. "It's definitely a Midwest thing, too, supporting a Midwesterner." ... Speaking of which, great news that Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band will tour beginning in March. Rock and roll never forgets, baby. ... Keith Richards' autobiography "Life" is a great read. Loved it. ... Tyler Kepner's New York Times piece on Gil Meche retiring and leaving $12 million on the table the other day. ... If you're looking for a good movie this weekend, check out The King's Speech. Outstanding. Great story, and what acting from Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
Dislikes: Get well soon, Jimmy Buffett. Here's the tale from the doc who tended to him.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I've got fevered dreams
"Need a black top road
"I need a wheel in my hands
"So long Arizona
"So long desert sands
"I need to face the promise
"Of the promised land"
-- Bob Seger, Face the Promise