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Adrian Beltre was baseball

And Baseball will never quite be the same without him

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Adrian Beltre announced today that he is retiring from the sport of baseball. It’s unfair then that ultimately this being of resplendent mirth was forced to reside in a mortal body that aged.

Considering what Adrian Beltre has meant to the Texas Rangers, to baseball, and, frankly, to me as a fan of this sport, if there were any one thing that should have lasted forever it is Adrian Beltre’s wedded bliss to baseball.

But what a selfish thought, right? There is good news in today’s announcement. Adrian Beltre might not get to suit up to play the sport he loves anymore but that means he gets to be with his family full time. Those are some lucky Beltres!

I wrote my magnum opus on my favorite baseball player when he re-signed with Texas back in 2016. Within it, I chronicled the effortless joy he brought to the sport. I opined on this almost mystical unrivaled toughness he had the ability to summon. I gawked at his legendary play and saw firsthand his transition from underappreciated to effusively praised.

At the time, two more years of Adrian Beltre felt like a gift never ending. Alas...

Beltre had more in store for us than just playing out two more years of baseball, however. In the summer of 2017, Beltre was barreling down on history as he neared his 3,000th hit and I decided to share a shard of happiness with each of his ten hits before he reached one of baseball’s treasured heights.

For hit 2,990: The legend of OH SHIT!

For hit 2,991: Dugout Dad

For hit 2,992: The GOAT with the glove

For hit 2,993: Bi-Cycle

For hit 2,994: Walk-off, AB style

For hit 2,995: Making playoff history

For hit 2,996: Doing what no one else has ever done better

For hit 2,997: Baseball’s best brothers

For hit 2,998: Becoming a Fall Classic icon

For hit 2,999: The endless joy

For hit 3,000: 3,000 hits and a ticket to Cooperstown

Since then, we’ve seen Adrian Beltre climb to the very tippy-top of the mountain as far as third basemen to ever play the sport. There’s Mike Schmidt. There’s Eddie Mathews. And there’s Adrian Beltre.

Indeed, sometime in the summer of 2024, Adrian Beltre will be in Cooperstown to be inducted into the inner circle of baseball’s immortals. I hope to be there to see it. I hope you’ll come, too.

It’s a difficult thing to say goodbye to Adrian Beltre, baseball player. I feel the loss already and it honestly feels like baseball will never quite be the same, as dramatic as that sounds.

They have me in their clutches, make no mistake, but there were days, more than I can count, that I tuned into Rangers baseball games BECAUSE I knew Adrian Beltre was going to do something that brought a smile to my face.

Perhaps it will never quite be as good for very often, Adrian Beltre was baseball. There is a hole now where pure, unadulterated happiness once thrived.

His little brother Elvis Andrus knows it.

Dirk Nowitzki knows it. After all, GOAT recognize GOAT.

The young third basemen who wants to be like him know it.

His contemporaries know it.

And baseball knows it.

It’s up to the rest of us to fill it now. Adrian Beltre gave more than half of his entire life so far to professional baseball and to giving us that gift of joy whenever he touched the diamond. It’s only right that he gets to experience it from this side.

In the end, what I hope is that each and every person one day finds their singular perfect thing like Adrian Beltre found in baseball. We were all richer for it.

Thank you, Adrian. Be seeing you at the house that you built in 2020. I’m looking forward to touching the head of your statue.

P.S. Sign A.J. Beltre as soon as possible, Rangers.