Reading the tributes here on NY Sports Day from such respected sports journalists as Jason Schott, David Freeman, Scott Engel, and David Russell to Howard Goldin, who unexpectedly passed away Monday, conveys why those who knew him will miss him greatly, and why those who did not have the pleasure of meeting him know why we are mourning.
To use a Yiddish expression, Howard was a mensch. While it doesn’t translate into English exactly, a mensch is a gentleman who always tries to act the right way.
It is not revealing a trade secret to state that the sports media has more than its share of egomaniacs and blowhards. Howard was the polar opposite. He was never trying to be a celebrity journalist. He was a quiet guy who just cared about conveying what he was witnessing, whether it be a game, a concert, or a press conference to his readers.
He had no fear going out of his comfort zone as evidenced by his interview with Houston evangelist Joel Osteen shortly before he was to hold his first service ever at Yankee Stadium.
Unlike a lot of the big name sportswriters who cover baseball for the dailies, Howard was never afraid to talk to Hispanic athletes in Spanish even though it wasn’t his first language. They always appreciated the effort especially those who had little fluency in English. Watching Howard converse in Spanish without fear encouraged me to do the same with athletes.
There is always a selfish side whenever someone we are close to passes away. We think of all the fun times and experiences that we’ll never get to enjoy again.
I will miss the subway rides from Yankee Stadium back to Queens with Howard in which we discussed almost every topic under the sun. He was a great listener and always seemed to offer sagacious advice.
The ride from 161st Street to Queens has just gotten a lot longer and lonelier for me. We are all going to miss you, amigo.