The Story of the Wooden Bat
(Prepared by Robert Solomon)
The bat was originally destined for the grandest of intentions, with a reflection upon the minds eye of a debut, perhaps, in the Cape Cod Wooden Bat league with its owner.
But the essence of its existence is different now, much different. That bat will have a role and position that even the bat of Babe Ruth, or Mark McGuire, or Nomar could not match. The bat could be seen on the small table at the end of the casket at Brascos Funeral Home. It looked like any other wooden bat, but I can assure you it was not. The bat led the procession of Belmont youth who carried the casket of an 18-year old friend and teammate to his gravesite at the St. Patrick's Cemetery in Watertown. Silently, and symbolically, it reminded us that while the boundless dreams of our youth are blessed with immortality, we are not.
This bat is a Louisville Slugger, Personal Model. It has Brendan Grant's name on it --- a player that is the greatest in the eyes of Brendans family, friends, teammates, and colleagues. The bat came from the royalty of all bat-manufacturing plants in Louisville, Kentucky. Brendan's grandfather, while attending a VFW convention about three years ago, had a tour of the plant. On the way out, he was handed a card with the information about the different bats and models and styles. He thought Brendan just might like a bat with his own name on it, so he filled out the order form and sent it in with the check for forty-two fifty.
The first time many us had seen the finely crafted piece of wood was at Belmont High School on Thursday night, 28 June 2001. Probably 1,500 people walked right by it at the wake on Friday, but may not have noticed it. A thousand people or more may have noticed it at the church and cemetery on Saturday morning as it preceded the movement of the casket during the funeral procession.
The bat was also at the reception at Belmont High School on Saturday following the burial and I can tell you, it never strayed more than a few feet from the father of its owner. The bat was with Casey when he stepped up on the 'podium' (one of those uncomfortable chairs that is mandatory to have in every school cafeteria) that afternoon to thank everyone on behalf of his family. The bat was 'walked' home by Cathy and Casey from Belmont High following the reception. Once back at the Grant homestead, the bat was observed going upstairs when Casey went upstairs, and the bat sat on the floor when Casey sat on the floor.
That bat will be a great source of therapy and healing for all of Brendan's family. It is not too often that a '$42.50' investment becomes priceless. I think we will see that bat for a long time.