It has been over 16 hours since my friend Dan passed away.
It has been less than 12 hours since my friend Dan's passing was posted by the local paper.
It has been a little over 6 hours since I learned of the death of my friend, Dan Pires.
I am still in shock and still upset. I have been in a fog all evening long and I really don't know why. I mean, I'm upset that I lost a good friend. I don't have many friends or people who I could call up a just talk to. Dan was one that I could. Is it selfish of me to be upset because I won't be able to talk to him anymore? Maybe, but I will miss him.
Many of you know that Dan wrote for the Standard-Times in New Bedford on the Patriots Beat. What you don't know was that was his part-time job. He had a full time job somewhere else to earn a living. Writing about the Patriots earned his some coin, but it wasn't his living. It was his passion.
Dan wrote about the players and players respected Dan. Dan wasn't out to get the "scoop" or to elevate his status as a reporter trying to get a gig on MSNBC or ESPN. Dan did his job and did it well.
I was told that when Dan started out, he kept the copy editor very busy, but that the substance of his writing showed a passion for the player and game that some "professional" journalists lack. Maybe that is what made him so good and a must read.
Dan was well liked by his colleagues and he had a lot of respect for them, especially Mike Reiss and Shalise Young. Alan Greenberg was very special to Dan and when Alan died, it hit Dan hard. We talked about it and it was the catalyst for Dan to change his lifestyle. It was part of my "cause and effect" to change my lifestyle, too. We did it together and supported one another.
When asked how long I have known Dan, I couldn't answer that question. I tried to think about that all night, but I feel like I have known Dan all my life. You see, Dan was a truly great guy. If you met and talked to him you came away with the feeling that, you too, have known him all your life. He was that type of guy.
Dan earned the respect of players and spoke well of Ben Coates, Rodney Harrison, Lonnie Paxton, Russ Hochstein, Joe Andruzzi, Vince Wilfork and Laurence Maroney. There were others to be sure, but these were known to me. He was fair to them and wrote their stories without looking to "dig up any dirt". This is what made him special and on par, in my opinion, with the other full-time beat writers.
I have a little secret I would like to share with you. Dan was a guy who always saw an opportunity to poke a little fun at the players and coaches, if the opportunity ever presented itself. He would send me a picture here and a picture there and asked me to come up with something that could be left in the locker room. I did it without hesitation. I also came up with some stuff here and there and sent it to him via e-mail. As soon as he saw it, I got the call. "Man! What kinda shot are you on?" "This is going to get killed in the locker room and I can't wait to give it out."
Like a kid waiting for the Christmas present to be opened, I waited for the feedback. Sometimes it took only days, sometimes weeks, but I got it. He would tell me if the picture got a room full of laughs, which was most of the time, or in the case of Corey Dillon and Belichick, not flattering responses. BB responded in an e-mail to Dan, that "Someone had too much time on their hands." I'll post what I can after this.
I will miss his wit.
I will miss his smile.
I will miss his laughter.
I will miss his style.
I will miss the joking.
I will miss the calls.
I will miss calling him hours before the game only to find out he hasn't left yet or he was waiting for Weisberg to get moving.
I will miss those occasional visit at "tent side" before he checks in when he arrived early.
I will miss the "swag" and cheesecake from the press box before games.
I will miss giving him the vodka cherries in return before he heads back to the press box.
I will miss making phone calls during the game to bust his ass.
I will miss the next day call after the game.
I will the calls.
I will miss the talks.
I will miss my friend.
I will miss Dan.