Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher, executive and broadcaster Mike Flanagan died yesterday due to a self inflicted gun shot wound.

The Orioles blog Camden Chat had this to say:

I didn’t know Mike Flanagan, although I did have the pleasure of meeting him a few times. He was always as kind as could be, and like the rest of you, I felt a connection to him not only because of his status as a former Oriole but because we spent time with him in some way or another for years and years. Either he was in the broadcast booth or the front office or down on the field as the pitching coach for as long as I could remember. Mike Flanagan was Birdland as Birdland gets, a true lifelong Oriole.

The sad news was made worse with reports that the suicide was due to depression caused by his growing “despondent over what he considered a false perception from a community he loved of his role in the team’s prolonged failure.”

While that’s obviously heresay, it did prompt some succinct reflection from DJF’s Andrew Stoeten:

I hesitate to get too self-absorbed at the news of someone else’s tragedy, but especially speaking as someone who trades in some heavy invective, it really has to make you take a step back, doesn’t it? We can tell ourselves it’s just a game all we want, but we all know how incredibly passionate and serious fans can get– and forgetful that there are people and careers behind every decision we excoriate, or that those of us who are fortunate enough not to know it could make ourselves numb with frustration trying to understand the depths of thought that depression can drive a person.

Obviously what’s happened here is exceedingly rare in the sports world, but that doesn’t make it any less shitty to think that things we take for granted within this fun little distraction from the world we all enjoy can somehow lead to such a grim outcome. And unfortunately, personally, I’m not naive enough to believe that this particular exposure of the dark edge to the relationship between fans and their team is going to change anything or make anybody think twice before launching into a tirade at the people who they believe are fucking up the club they hold dear to their hearts– and maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe it we need to take it simply as an isolated, horribly unfortunate act of a man who was suffering badly inside his own head.

That’s well put. And as such, I’d like to ask the following to not take anything I write about them too seriously:

Jim Hendry, Ned Colletti, Andy MacPhail, Tony Reagins, Mike Rizzo, Ed Wade, Brian Sabean, the entire Florida Marlins organization, Tony LaRussa, Dusty Baker, Clint Hurdle, Kirk Gibson, Jim Tracy, and the General Managers of the American League Central division.

For more on Flanagan, I recommend a fond remembrance from ESPN’s Buster Olney.