Many of you never heard of him. But you would have liked him.
He loved people but lived alone.
He was a performer but very shy.
He worked in Anaheim but lived 100 miles away in Palmdale.
For years he was a Los Angeles TV news anchor and Milwaukee Brewers baseball announcer -- at the same time.
He was a remarkable person.
Rory Markas, only 54, passed away this morning of an apparent heart attack. Those of us who knew him are still in shock.
He was also loved by many people he never met.
For the last nine seasons, Rory was the lead play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as well as the voice of USC men's basketball. He brought a passion and flair to his broadcasts and was a treat to listen to. Hey, for me to tune in to even one minute of USC basketball you know he had to be a great announcer. But all of that is beside the point. Rory Markas was a dear friend.
I used to give him a hard time about living in Palmdale. I said, either move closer to Angel Stadium or get a wife and kids for godsakes. But he loved it out there. He also didn't mind the four to five hour daily commute. I used to say, "So when you're on the road in Kansas City do you stay in a hotel in St. Louis and drive back and forth just to feel at home?" It was always worth needling him just to hear his loud, infectious laugh.
In late 2008 he had a brain aneurysm. It almost took his life then. Miraculously, he fully recovered. He said that last year felt like a reprieve and he learned to appreciate life so much more. He was also touched by how many friends he had, how many people wrote him and reached out in his time of need. We don't contact our friends enough. It's sad but we often need "reasons" like this to reconnect with people we care about.
So at least the little time he had left he savored. It's just that he deserved more time. Much more time.
Rory will be greatly missed. May he always be the voice of the Angels -- Los Angeles or otherwise.
Read more from Ken here.