September 11, 2003- As I…
September 11, 2003- As I sit here 2 years later thinking about Steve, I realize there is nothing that I can say that would carry an significance whatsoever. In fact, it is possible that no one will ever even read this. It is, however, important to me to say something.
Like many others, I met Steve through the great sport of stickball. It was easy to see his passion for the game. He backed up that passion with a load of talent as well. During the games anything was fair game: your skill, your clothes, your heritage, your mother! After the game was another story. We would shake hands, discuss strategy, relive plays from the previous game and talk about the state of stickball in San Diego, where I live.
I spoke to Steve during the Labor Day tournament here in San Diego just before 9/11 2001. He was really pleased with how the sport was growing and how the level of competition was improving. He offered me all kinds of advice about the game based on his experience.
I vividly remember Steve helping his son with his hitting on one of the empty fields. That is is how I will remember Steve Mercado. Yes he was a great stickball player. Yes he was a courageous firefighter. Yes he was a devoted husband. But when I picture Steve in my mind, I still see him out in the middle of the street with his son. Steve was a father. I carry a picture in my wallet of Steve and Skylar holding up the first place trophy from the last stickball tournament Steve played.
I think it is a great tribute that they have renamed Stickball Blvd, in the Bronx to Steve Mercado, Stickball Blvd. It was impossible for me not to get choked up during the dedication ceremony.
I did not know Steve as well as many of the people who have contributed messages here, but he touched my life, as I’m sure he did thousands of others. Steve was a good man with a great heart. I will never forget.