It's slowly wending its way through the baseball blogosphere that John, who was 43 years old, died Monday. He went into the hospital for a heart procedure, which he had been open about in his writing, and did not survive. He is survived by his wife and two daughters (one of whom, true to John's spirit of putting others first, has learned American Sign Language and will soon being helping the hearing impaired).
It's a huge loss, first and foremost for John's family, which resides near Stirling, Ont., north of Belleville. Family takes precedence when someone goes before his time.
The rest of us might feel like they lost their older brother; Baseball Think Factory already has three pages' worth of comments. John showed that you didn't have to be accredited if you knew what you were looking for and stood behind what you said. He built up an impressive body of work, with Baseball Digest Daily, MSN Canada, and The Hardball Times and several other sites.
This is about someone who was an e-friend, not even necessarily a close one, but John, who resided in the Belleville area, always came off as someone who gave fully of himself, who put others first. He took an interest not only in other like-mindeds were writing, but where they were coming from and where they had been. He always signed his posts, "Best regards, John Brattain," and it seemed to say, no matter how much we might vehemently disagree, in the end we're all friends because we care so much about the same things. Make no mistake, John spoke his mind; he was out front of everyone when it came to defending Barry Bonds, as well as denouncing the Florida Marlins' stadium deal.
That is really what it's all about with passionate hobbyists who take up writing a blog. It's not about competition. It's really about the desire to be well-informed and help share in the spreading of knowledge. It goes double when you live in Canada, especially if you live outside the GTA. Everyone else seems to be swallow the 24/7/365 diet of hockey. The beauty of living in this digital age is knowing there are more than a few of us in the frigid north who are always dreaming of some distant ball diamond.
John, by action and deed, took that to heart. He carried it forward. Bill Baer from Crashburn Alley left a tribute over at BDD that bears sharing:
"He gave me indispensable advice whether it was about baseball, writing, or just life in general.Speaking personally, John sought me out for the raines30.com page a while ago. It was an act of courtesy and consideration which will never be forgotten.
Even when he was talking with someone who had a completely different perspective on an issue than he did, he never got angry, he never got out of line; he treated every single person he dealt with with respect and dignity."
In honour of John Brattain (Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley)
BDD Mourns Passing of Writer John Brattain (Brian Joseph, Baseball Digest Daily)
John Brattain (Drunk Jays Fans)