Editor’s Note: Each week in “Apparently This Matters,” CNN’s Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the Web.
The bat of Kyle Seager flew into the stands at a game in Houston
Lyle Raymond was hit by the bat, but returned it to Seager
Raymond later wrote Seager the cutest fan letter ever
When I was a kid I used to write fan letters to the Chicago Cubs. I was young and didn’t know any better.
But I watched these lovable losers every day on WGN, and was captivated by their famous play-by-play announcer who seemed to get delightfully sauced by the seventh inning. He was old and silly, and I idolized the man.
“Mom, I want to be just like Harry Caray.”
“Oh, dear God.”
So, I would sit at the kitchen table and write letters to the players and announcers and, yes, even upper management. I was a weird kid. Someday they’ll name a social disorder after me.
Anyway, these letters were old-school pen and paper. They were simple, and completely low tech.
To be honest, half the fun was waiting weeks on end for a response. This was long before the Internet, back when I actually had an attention span and the ability to form complete sentences.
Those days are long gone.
Thus, when news spread this week about a little boy in Houston who wrote – yes WROTE – an amazing letter to a Major League Baseball player, it sort of blew everyone’s mind and went viral.
Here’s what happened.
Back in July, young Lyle Raymond was at Minute Maid Park watching his beloved Astros take on the Seattle Mariners. Both teams had been playing terrible baseball all season, and, really, the only thing mildly interesting about this matchup was the fact that fans were actually sitting right there in the stadium as opposed to doing literally anything else with their time.
Like setting themselves on fire.
That said, many baseball stat nerds were also enjoying the fact that Kyle Seager of the Mariners was carrying a 15-game hitting streak. So, there was that.
Eventually, in the fifth inning, the hot-handed Seager once again stepped up to the plate. Only, instead of extending the streak, he proceeded to launch his bat violently into the stands.
Which was easily the most exciting thing to happen for either of these teams in quite some time.
“Diane, wake up. There’s flying wood.”
Yes, it was all loads of fun. Except that the bat landed on Lyle.
Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt. And, as an added bonus, he now held the enemy’s sword. Remember, this was the very bat that was fueling Seager’s 15-game hitting streak.
Nevertheless, Lyle politely handed it back over.
Of course, Seager promptly finished the game 0-4 because, clearly, just touching something or someone in Houston had plagued his bat with horrible luck. That’s what Houston does. It ruins things.
Still, it was a nice gesture from the kid.
But Lyle didn’t stop there. Later, the little boy took a moment from his day and wrote Seager a letter. And then he put it in an envelope. And put a stamp on it. And mailed it off to Seager’s address.
The United States Postal Service – it’s a real thing. Look it up on Wikipedia after you finish Snapchatting your gonads.
Eventually, his note arrived. And that’s when Seager’s wife Tweeted:
Kyle just got the sweetest letter in the mail from the little boy who got hit by his bat in Houston.
Julie Seager included a Twitter photo of the adorable hand-written letter which was made even more adorable by the fact that it was barely legible. Somehow, when a little kid writes like that, it’s cute.
When I do it I get a restraining order from Katy Perry’s lawyer. Odd.
Anyway, the letter read (with corrected spelling):
My name is Lyle Raymond. Your bat landed on me. I am OK. Thanks for giving me the thumbs up when you were on first base. I like the Astros but will cheer you on too. I gave back your bat because you had a big hitting streak with that bat. I hope you have more hits with that bat. Your fan, Lyle
Behold! The greatest human being on the planet.
Really, there are two things that I love about this story. The first is that this little boy actually wrote a letter. It’s so analog!
But I’m also inspired that Lyle displayed more class and character than what we can reasonably expect from a child.
So, let this be a lesson: Take the time to express kindness with written words.
And to take it an important step further, also consider writing letters (or e-mails) not just when you’ve received crappy service, but ESPECIALLY when somebody has positively impacted your life or the life of others.
Don’t just fire off a furious e-mail to corporate headquarters when Southwest loses your luggage. Send them a message when the gate agent goes above and beyond to make sure you get on that early flight home to catch your daughter’s flute recital.
It’s going to suck. But you should probably still be there.
These things matter. And expressing gratitude and genuine kindness oddly requires far more effort than mindlessly tweeting off some nastygram from the computer in your mom’s basement.
Be like Lyle. It’s so analog!
Follow Jarrett Bellini on Twitter.