I came into being a fan of Brooks long after I established my Orioles fandom. I was the biggest Cal Ripken fan, and I remember turning down someone's offer at some Brooks cards back when I was 11 or 12 because he wasn't Cal. Little did I know.
I obviously grew to appreciate Orioles history and grew to love Brooks. I loved him like a family member. I met him several times, the first being the Dinner With Brooks back in 2009. That was the most nervous I had ever been when meeting any player. Brooks put his arm around me like he had known me for years. Every time I saw him after that, he would talk with me like we were long lost friends. He was the epitome of "a good man". I loved the guy. I can legitimately say that. I even yelled it out to him during the 2011 Hall of Fame parade in Cooperstown. He yelled back, "I love you too."
I'm going to take some time off from the blog to let this one sink in. My prayers to Brooks's family, friends, teammates and fans.