In our lifetime, there will be few people that we will meet that you can honestly say that no decent person disliked them. Michael “Weams” Williams is certainly one of those rare people.
Weams was the heart and soul of our message board community, even before being named manager editor of the site around the 2005 time frame. I say around because Weams was the guy I would ask, “What year did so and so start posting or what was the poster who said, “blah, blah, blah” and he would always have the right answer.
He’s the guy that when you saw him you got a big smile, a hello, and probably a hug. He remembers everyone because he took the time to connect with everyone. Posters were far more than just a username or persona to Michael, they were honestly his friends.
You can read through the thread dedicated to Weams on the message board to see all the wonderful things he has done for posters over the years. There are some stories on there that I didn’t even know.
He could tell me personal stories about about a particular poster and I was always floored by his ability to remember the posting history of everyone. As an amazing moderator, he could tell who was a trouble maker from years past and he had an amazing ability to know when a poster showed back up under a new username after being banned.
He rarely if ever took things personally and after he would ban someone, he almost always would message me and tell me if I wanted to overrule him that was fine. I always went with the theory of if you made weams upset enough to ban you, you deserved whatever punishment he gave out.
Another thing about Michael was his unshakeable loyalty to me and Orioles Hangout. Without getting into details, there have been several situations that have occurred over the years that saw our community lose members or split off and the one person that always had my back publicly was Michael. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t discuss things with me. If he felt I was not in the right, he would tell me privately while always telling me, “No matter what you decide, I have you back.” It was invaluable to have that compass check sometimes, while also knowing that your number two had your back, “No matter what!” That is a precious thing and something I will miss dearly.
Michael met his dear wife Denise (JustD) at one of our Hangout nights and they would go on to marry and become our first “Hangout marriage.” They went on to watch hundreds of major and minor league games together, travel the country, and thankfully got to live out an amazing retirement trip in an RV just before he became ill. It’s not surprising that these two special people met each other and that he spent his last lucid moments watching the Orioles beat the Yankees with his true love Denise.
I want to thank Roy Firestone, Jim Palmer, and PR director Jennifer Grondahl for what they did for Michael and Denise. Roy for getting Jim to give Michael a call once he decided accept Hospice services and Jim for spending the 15 minutes having an actual conversation. Jim didn’t phone it in, but had an engaging conversation that I know Michael cherished. Pure class on Mr. Palmer’s part.
As for Jennifer, I e-mailed her literally as the game was starting today and asked if there was any way they could mention weams passing. By the 3rd inning, the always classy Scott Garceau read off a beautiful statement about Michael’s passing. Again, pure class on Jennifer and the Orioles for making that happen for Michael. It brought tears to his wife and it brought honor to the legacy that Michael leaves behind.
I was able to see Michael a few weeks ago. Though he was struggling to communicate at that point, I spent about two hours with him and Denise. As I was about to leave, I knew it would be the last time I would ever speak to my friend. When I bent down to tell him goodbye, he looked at me and said, “You’re a good man.”
I gripped his hand, kissed him on the head, and told him, “You are a great man, and you made me a better man by knowing you. I love you!”
No truer words were ever spoken. Michael Williams was a great man who leaves behind a legacy of kindness and warmth by all who met him. I will miss my friend dearly.