Ron Santo, a man of great pride until the very end…

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Published late Christmas Eve, this inspiring story on Ron Santo’s passing from the Arlington Heights Daily Herald flew largely under the radar during the holiday weekend.

Let’s bring it back to light.

The obituaries will tell you that the Cubs legend passed away on December 2, but Santo’s immediate family knows the real truth.

At 8:30 p.m. on December 2, a Thursday night, the Santo kids said goodbye to their father and doctors pulled the 70-year-old off life support.

But he refused to give up his battle against bladder cancer and beat the odds into early Friday morning.

“They said he could not breathe without the machine,” Jeff Santo told the Herald. “Not only was he breathing but his blood pressure was perfect.

“We were like, ‘What’s going on here?’

“I kept saying to the doctor, ‘The brain tells the body to breathe. The brain isn’t working. So how is this happening? What’s making him breathe?’

“It was very draining. Vicki would say, ‘Ron, it’s OK. You can go.’ We’d say, ‘Dad, it’s time. Let go. You can rest now.’

“My sister Linda had been through a lot and my dad and her had such a strong bond. But she was drained. We had to get her out of the room.

“After about three hours, Vicki and I talked about it, and she was right. He wouldn’t want us staying there staring at him.

“He’d say, ‘Get the heck out of here.’ So we all agreed that it was time to go. We said our goodbyes at 12:30 Friday morning.”

Ron Santo died at 12:40 a.m., Friday, December 3, just 10 minutes after his wife and children left his bedside.  He was a fighter, an inspiration and a man of pride from start to finish.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.