Pirates

Kovacevic: When sports stop mattering

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Ryan Vogelsong at the Pirates' spring training in Bradenton, Fla., late in February. -- DKPS

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ryan Vogelsong has been beloved everywhere he's been in baseball. On a personal level, he's been good to me beginning with my rookie year covering the Pirates in 2005, but infinitely more important, he's made lifelong friends from here to Japan and back, he's still celebrated in San Francisco, and he's clung to connections in those places and more.

He's one of those quality humans who never has to say goodbye because you always know, one way or another, he'll find you again.

Sports are seldom as important as we make them out to be, or, for most of us, as important as they'll feel all over again by the end of this very day. So spare a moment, please, for a thought or prayer for this truly special individual who overcame a rough ride early in his career and ventured overseas before returning as an All-Star and champion in San Francisco, this father of a son Ryder, and this husband to the lovely Nicole, who tweeted out this encouraging message very late Monday night:

This is Pittsburgh. Let them feel it. The investment will be worthwhile.

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