Cal pitcher Matt Flemer is leaving a ticket for his uncle Thursday when the Bears play Virginia in the College World Series.
Flemer has done that for almost every Cal game since May 22 -- the day after his uncle, Barry Fitzgerald, died.
"He's watching," Flemer said Wednesday. "He's definitely a good angel to have while we're going through this ride.
"This is a trip my uncle would have been on. It hits you every now and then, like when you're about to go to sleep or see something that reminds you of him. But he's here, he's watching, and he gets in for free with that ticket."
A month ago, Cal was playing a weekend series at UCLA. Flemer's parents were there. His mom, Ann, got word that her brother had been rushed to a hospital near his San Mateo home. A blood clot had traveled to his heart. An artery was blocked. Barry Fitzgerald died. He was 58.
The Fitzgeralds and the Flemers are a close-knit bunch. Barry Fitzgerald met his wife of 27 years, Ellen, at the Flemers' wedding. The Fitzgeralds had two children -- Brian, 24, and Evan, 23. Brian is here. He made the trip in his father's place, in his father's honor.