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Biff Mayhem

Bruce Glass (Billy Ringo)

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Great poster. One of those guys you couldn't put in a group (i.e. math guys, guys who always negative, always positive...) He had a unique take on each issue - he'll be missed.

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Biff, that was a great tribute you wrote. Bruce had both many blessings and many trials, plus an incredible variety of experiences, and he shared his experience and wisdom with many of you. What a life well lived !!

I clearly need to visit the other forums more, looks like I could learn a lot, even from you "morons" !! It's people like you guys that make this the best sports forum I've ever participated in, bar none.

Thanks and God Bless you all. And farewell Bruce, for now. Andy.

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In my column this week, I decided to forego politics and write about Billy:

The Life and Times of Billy Ringo

We distribute on Tuesdays. Only four or five papers pick up my column - and usually none in Michigan - but at least this community can read it if anyone would like to do so.

May 17, 2006

The Life and Times of Billy Ringo

You know those morons who sit around tapping away at their keyboards writing messages to other morons on Internet message boards?

Yeah. I’m one of those. Many lament that the Internet age has eroded our sense of community and neighborhood, because we sit at our computers typing instead of standing at the fence talking. I actually do quite a bit of both, but for the most part I will plead guilty to this. My neighbors just don’t want to talk Detroit Tiger baseball as much as I do, and I can only impose so much of it on my wife.

But at MotownSports.com, you can talk Tiger baseball 24/7 – and some do. Not every Internet message board is equal, but for the most part these online communities offer a mixture of fairly well-adjusted folks, questionable characters and those who make you glad you don’t have to list your home address to register your membership.

And since most users rarely post using their real names, you can reveal only as much about yourself as you want – and no more.

But sometimes the screen names reveal more about you than you might expect, and such is the case with Billy Ringo. Seventy-six years old, his handle dates back to Old West shoot-em-out games he played with his cousin, who fancied himself the sheriff and called himself Tom Mix. He called his adversary Billy Ringo, and since our man found good guys rather boring anyway, Billy Ringo it was.

Few have ever fit in to this Motown community of morons better than this septuagenarian, one-time Christian Reformed church elder from Holland, Michigan. His contributions: wit, baseball knowledge and a unique ability to calm passions that tend to heat up on the baseball discussion boards, or on the ultimate home of nonsense, the political board.

But communities have certain qualities, one of which is to rally around their own when the chips are down. Online communities, it would seem, lack the ability to function in that way. It was a premise Ringo would test one dark day in 2005.

A simple, straightforward message posted in the MotownSports Bar and Grill brought instant sobriety to a scene too often inebriated with the inane. There had been a shooting. Two people were dead. They were people Billy Ringo loved, and his world was shattered. This was not a man who lacked, shall we say, real friends. Or family. He had plenty of people around him to share his pain. But he just decided that the MotownSports community ought to act like a community, and so he chose to share.

How did the community of morons respond? By doing the best it could. With e-mails and private messages of condolence. With public expressions of love, support, encouragement and promises of prayer. And the hands extended were returned. At 76, a Korean War veteran, an old newspaper reporter, a father of four and a loving husband of nearly 50 years, found himself making new friends. A sportswriter from Fenton. A college student from Grand Rapids. A young woman from Ann Arbor by way of Boston. Soon the sting of the tragedy began to fade, and Billy Ringo once again represented the sage, tested wisdom and love that can only come from having spent a lifetime discovering the value of love, and finding it to be good.

On May 6, 2006, user Biff Mayhem (not his real name, but it should be), secured a suite for a selected group from the Grand Rapids area to get together and attend a game of the Tigers’ Class A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps. Everyone who confirmed their attendance – and I was no exception – made the same comment when they saw the list of other attendees:

“Billy Ringo is going to be there? Awesome!”

Those of us fortunate enough to be included counted the days until we would get a chance to meet each other – but especially to meet the great Billy Ringo.

With his cane in his left hand and his Tiger cap firmly affixed on his head, Ringo regaled us with stories, sentiments and insight. We hoped that our decision to include him made an old man feel happy in his waning years. Instead, he made us feel that way – even providing the silly highlight of the day when he came to realize that he had been missing a lens out of his glasses the entire day.

So fresh off an unspeakable tragedy, the irascible Billy Ringo turned a simple outing to a ballgame into a day few would forget.

A week later, Billy sat down at his keyboard and composed the following message for the board: “That composure is something that the whole team can feed on. If Pudge was supposed to be a leader and role model for the team, Kenny has added greatly by sort of bringing a ‘settle down’ attitude to the mix. Pudge is still a key player, and Kenny may be even more\\\\\.”

And that was as far as he got. At the age of 76, Billy Ringo passed away talking about the passion he shared with others. Communities rally together, and sometimes they cry together. The Internet can be a scary place, but so can the world. It is as good or bad as the people who steer it.

Billy Ringo died talking Tiger baseball, but not before enriching the lives of countless others. I’d sign up for that. Rest in peace, Billy.

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OMF - that was a wonderful piece, and a great tribute to Billy. It gave me goosebumps. Thank you.

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After reading through all the posts about Bruce and how much meant to each of us, I'm not sure there is anything more I could add that has not already been said. He was a great man and will certainly be missed here at MotownSports.

Bruce first joined this community back in April of 2000, when the message board was still part of the Tigers official website. He instantly became a favorite to many of us because of his classic wit and life experiences. Advice such as "don't worry about gray hair, it falls out after awhile" was all too funny coming from the "old" guy East of Milwaukee. He fit in well with a group that was in many cases, half his age (or more).

After 6 years of knowing Bruce through this website, I finally got a chance to meet him on May 6th at the Whitecaps game in Grand Rapids. It was the highlight of my trip. Bruce made it a point to spend some time with me talking about this site and how much it had meant to him, as well as all of you who participate on these forums. He thanked me for providing a place where and old guy could feel young and share his passion about the Tigers and life in general. After listening to him speak, it was me who wanted to thank him for making this place special.

Prior to meeting him, Bruce sent me a PM that echoed the feelings he shared with me at the Whitecaps game. I want to share this with each of you.

FROM: Billy Ringo

SUBJECT: Just a Word of Thanks

I want to thank you for providing the motownsports forum. It is a great pastime for any Tiger fan, and especially for an old guy who can't get out much. I have not been active for a long time, but I am now back online and again getting much enjoyment from the website. So thanks, Scott. You've done a lot for me.

This website did indeed do a lot for Bruce and I want to thank all of you who participate.

I also want to thank Bruce's wife PJ for sharing Bruce with us for the past 6 years, his brother for joining us at the Whitecaps game and helping Bruce get to the park, and for his grandson who completed his last post allowing us to share one last message with Bruce. All of us here will be thinking about your family this week.

Bruce, thank you for your contributions. You will be missed.

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Scott, we should all also thank you for giving us this forum so that it's even possible to have a Billy Ringo in the first place.

If you ever doubt why you do this think of Billy and the fun he had at that game. Without your work, which I hope everyone realizes you do for free, the name Billy Ringo would meant nothing to a lot of Tiger fans.

I know it probably embarasses you but it's true.

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In my column this week' date=' I decided to forego politics and write about Billy:

The Life and Times of Billy Ringo

We distribute on Tuesdays. Only four or five papers pick up my column - and usually none in Michigan - but at least this community can read it if anyone would like to do so.

A very nice article written One Man's Fool....seeing this is supposed to be printed out, I think you should post that article on here so that his family can enjoy it as well.

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A very nice article written One Man's Fool....seeing this is supposed to be printed out, I think you should post that article on here so that his family can enjoy it as well.

That makes sense. Here it is:

http://www.northstarwriters.com/dc33.htm

The Life and Times of Billy Ringo

You know those morons who sit around tapping away at their keyboards writing messages to other morons on Internet message boards?

Yeah. I’m one of those. Many lament that the Internet age has eroded our sense of community and neighborhood, because we sit at our computers typing instead of standing at the fence talking. I actually do quite a bit of both, but for the most part I will plead guilty to this. My neighbors just don’t want to talk Detroit Tiger baseball as much as I do, and I can only impose so much of it on my wife.

But at MotownSports.com, you can talk Tiger baseball 24/7 – and some do. Not every Internet message board is equal, but for the most part these online communities offer a mixture of fairly well-adjusted folks, questionable characters and those who make you glad you don’t have to list your home address to register your membership.

And since most users rarely post using their real names, you can reveal only as much about yourself as you want – and no more.

But sometimes the screen names reveal more about you than you might expect, and such is the case with Billy Ringo. Seventy-six years old, his handle dates back to Old West shoot-em-out games he played with his cousin, who fancied himself the sheriff and called himself Tom Mix. He called his adversary Billy Ringo, and since our man found good guys rather boring anyway, Billy Ringo it was.

Few have ever fit in to this Motown community of morons better than this septuagenarian, one-time Christian Reformed church elder from Holland, Michigan. His contributions: wit, baseball knowledge and a unique ability to calm passions that tend to heat up on the baseball discussion boards, or on the ultimate home of nonsense, the political board.

But communities have certain qualities, one of which is to rally around their own when the chips are down. Online communities, it would seem, lack the ability to function in that way. It was a premise Ringo would test one dark day in 2005.

A simple, straightforward message posted in the MotownSports Bar and Grill brought instant sobriety to a scene too often inebriated with the inane. There had been a shooting. Two people were dead. They were people Billy Ringo loved, and his world was shattered. This was not a man who lacked, shall we say, real friends. Or family. He had plenty of people around him to share his pain. But he just decided that the MotownSports community ought to act like a community, and so he chose to share.

How did the community of morons respond? By doing the best it could. With e-mails and private messages of condolence. With public expressions of love, support, encouragement and promises of prayer. And the hands extended were returned. At 76, a Korean War veteran, an old newspaper reporter, a father of four and a loving husband of nearly 50 years, found himself making new friends. A sportswriter from Fenton. A college student from Grand Rapids. A young woman from Ann Arbor by way of Boston. Soon the sting of the tragedy began to fade, and Billy Ringo once again represented the sage, tested wisdom and love that can only come from having spent a lifetime discovering the value of love, and finding it to be good.

On May 6, 2006, user Biff Mayhem (not his real name, but it should be), secured a suite for a selected group from the Grand Rapids area to get together and attend a game of the Tigers’ Class A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps. Everyone who confirmed their attendance – and I was no exception – made the same comment when they saw the list of other attendees:

“Billy Ringo is going to be there? Awesome!”

Those of us fortunate enough to be included counted the days until we would get a chance to meet each other – but especially to meet the great Billy Ringo.

With his cane in his left hand and his Tiger cap firmly affixed on his head, Ringo regaled us with stories, sentiments and insight. We hoped that our decision to include him made an old man feel happy in his waning years. Instead, he made us feel that way – even providing the silly highlight of the day when he came to realize that he had been missing a lens out of his glasses the entire day.

So fresh off an unspeakable tragedy, the irascible Billy Ringo turned a simple outing to a ballgame into a day few would forget.

A week later, Billy sat down at his keyboard and composed the following message for the board: “That composure is something that the whole team can feed on. If Pudge was supposed to be a leader and role model for the team, Kenny has added greatly by sort of bringing a ‘settle down’ attitude to the mix. Pudge is still a key player, and Kenny may be even more\\\\\.”

And that was as far as he got. At the age of 76, Billy Ringo passed away talking about the passion he shared with others. Communities rally together, and sometimes they cry together. The Internet can be a scary place, but so can the world. It is as good or bad as the people who steer it.

Billy Ringo died talking Tiger baseball, but not before enriching the lives of countless others. I’d sign up for that. Rest in peace, Billy.

© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.

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WOW...my heart is heavy, my eyes are moist and I am blessed to have known Billy Ringo, if only through cyberspace.

May the Lord wrap His loving arms around the Glass family, as Bruce runs to the place God has prepared for him...

Patti

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I wish I could go back in time and attend that darn Whitecaps game. I really feel like I missed A LOT more than a game and a gathering of morons.

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wow, OMF and Biff have had me in tears with their tributes. How lucky we were on May 6!

Pedro Cotto has offered his prayers too. He was saddened to hear one of the enthusiastic voices chanting "Put Pedro in!" has been silenced.

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azz since the Monday following the game in Grand Rapids and seeing the pictures of all you smiling Moron's, that I did not make time to go and meet Billy. Up until yesterday on our way home from a wedding in Gaylord, my wife did not understand why I was being so hard on myself. My good friend, met him here, BaseballBruce30 called to inform me of the loss of our friend Billy. As I hung up and informed her of Billy's demise, it became painfully clear as to why I had been so upset that I did not go.

As I have tried to abide by since I lost my best friend in 2002, "Do it today, for tomorrow is promised to no man". Once again I missed a golden opportunity that I shall not be afforded again.

RIP Billy Ringo, a man who once typed in reference to our 2006 Opening Day activities," I too fear the Grim Reaper", somehow I seriously doubt he would have feared my namesake or myself.:cool:

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Not the best way to start a monday.

Must say that I enjoyed Billy Ringo's posts, I almost viewed him as the voice of reasoning when it came to this board. No matter how heated a discussion got, Billy was there to calmly explain why someone was right or wrong. I must say the board truely lost one of the greats this weekend.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Glass family today.

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I realize I'm probably not senior enough to this board to suggest this, but since the Tigers celebrate days like Willie Horton day, maybe Motownsports should celebrate a Billy Ringo day.

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This was posted by witz57

"I realize I'm probably not senior enough to this board to suggest this, but since the Tigers celebrate days like Willie Horton day, maybe Motownsports should celebrate a Billy Ringo day."

Well I for one am Senior enough, BaseballBruce30 and I have already been throwing this one around. I am 100 percent behind doing this, I know in the past our success at getting together has been limited, but perhaps in Billy's memory we can pull it off.

Please let us band together and try to come up with a game that would work for the majority of us people who are still here to carry on the tradition of Tiger baseball that Our dear Billy so cherished.

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This was posted by witz57

"I realize I'm probably not senior enough to this board to suggest this, but since the Tigers celebrate days like Willie Horton day, maybe Motownsports should celebrate a Billy Ringo day."

Well I for one am Senior enough, BaseballBruce30 and I have already been throwing this one around. I am 100 percent behind doing this, I know in the past our success at getting together has been limited, but perhaps in Billy's memory we can pull it off.

Please let us band together and try to come up with a game that would work for the majority of us people who are still here to carry on the tradition of Tiger baseball that Our dear Billy so cherished.

You guys name a date, and I'll do all I can to be there.

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The MotownTiger Community has lost one if its Elder Statesmen.

Since seeing the sad news a couple of days ago, these lyrics keep rolling around my head. I'm sure Billy Ringo would approve.

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun

Keep me in your heart for awhile.

(Warren Zevon)

Billy Ringo will remain in all of our hearts for a long time.

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This was posted by witz57

"I realize I'm probably not senior enough to this board to suggest this, but since the Tigers celebrate days like Willie Horton day, maybe Motownsports should celebrate a Billy Ringo day."

Well I for one am Senior enough, BaseballBruce30 and I have already been throwing this one around. I am 100 percent behind doing this, I know in the past our success at getting together has been limited, but perhaps in Billy's memory we can pull it off.

Please let us band together and try to come up with a game that would work for the majority of us people who are still here to carry on the tradition of Tiger baseball that Our dear Billy so cherished.

2thumbs.gif

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I doubt Billy would have wanted us to make such a fuss out of him as to specifically gather in his honor, but a guy like him deserves such pageantry.

I'll gladly show up at Comerica this summer with fellow morons and enjoy a beer (or several) in remembrance of Mr. Ringo. Name the date.

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I too would love to be able to get together to remember such a special man. Being in Georgia ,however, really limits my opportunities. I plan on making a trip home the last week of June. They play the Cardinals the last Sunday of the month.

I don't want to dictate anything to anyone. If everyone decides a different date, I will definitely be there in spirit. Just take plenty of pictures for me!

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