On the nearly 4 hour trip from New York City to Boston, I had ample time to reflect on the life of a brilliant man who was taken from us far too prematurely. Michael Weiner was the Executive Director of the MLBPA, and he was also a friend. On Monday night, we said our final goodbyes in a celebration of his life. In a tribute filled with his favorite music, and attended by his family, friends, and colleagues, we heard from a number of those blessed by his companionship. We listened to remarks from his Rabbi, his predecessor at the PA Donald Fehr, former players, current players, and his wife Diane. In perhaps the most touching moment, his daughter Grace performed on stage one of Michael’s favorite songs. While each speaker offered unique and insightful anecdotes, few spoke of his unmatched intellect and obvious brilliance, the overarching theme, was that Michael, in some special way, made all of us better. I’d like to share the moment I realized just how pure and sincere and decent Michael was. It was 2009, about 2 months after Michael had taken over as executive director, and I was hosting a small networking event for my Strike 3 Foundation in New York City. While Michael had handled the transition into his new role with aplomb, I was certain that the first few months as ED would be tiresome, long, and difficult. Nonetheless, I wanted to invite Michael to the event, sure that he would decline, so that he knew I had thought of him. Sure enough, at around 7 pm, Michael strolled into the small neighborhood bar, wearing his vintage blue jeans and Chuck Taylors, after leaving the office and preparing to head home to see his family. I said hello, and told him that I was surprised he had made it as I hadn’t seen him at many other events, if any, and was positive his work demands had left him exhausted. His response, which I will never forget, was so simple and innocent, he said “Of course I would come, I would come to all of these things, I just never get invited.” That was Michael. Understated and reliable.
Michael’s strength through his battle with brain cancer was remarkable. His courage and bravery served to inspire us all. He stated that each day he sought to find joy, meaning, and beauty. I believe the single most important thing we can do to remember Michael’s legacy, is to seek those three thing as well.