The Voice of Summer died in the spring, shortly before the Tigers' first pitch of the evening. That was fitting. Ernie Harwell would never want to interrupt the game.
Gone now. Like the home run that lands in the seats, like the final out of the ninth inning, like the thousands of games he closed with his signature sign-offs, his genteel voice telling us he'd see us tomorrow. Gone now. No more tomorrows. At 92, after a battle with bile duct cancer that stretched into extra innings, Ernie let go of this world and moved on to the higher place to which we are certain he was sent.
Gone now. We knew this was coming. Ernie, in his final grace, prepared us for it. He told us not to worry. We still worried. He told us not to cry. We cried anyhow. He told us he had led the life he'd wanted, that he was ready to say good-bye.