Words weren’t Doc’s currency, so how could he thank his masked mate? Here, Chooch. The home plate that the Marlins dug up and presented to Doc after the perfect game—it’s yours. Here, Chooch. A wristwatch and a stunning diamond ring with that game’s date and line score and thanks, roy etched inside it—yours. Here, Chooch. The topper, a brown box with to chooch and from roy scrawled in the corner, left on a chair in front of Chooch’s locker in spring training: an exact replica of Doc’s 2010 Cy Young Award. Then came the commercial for the MLB 2K11 video game in which Doc couldn’t decide anything—whether to eat a turkey or ham sandwich for lunch, whether to wear his red shirt or blue one—without looking to a Chooch blowup doll for a signal. Each gesture stunned Chooch. He kept Doc’s offerings near his father’s photograph, police belt and badge, and his eyes filled with equal reverence when he spoke of both men and their keepsakes.
“You just have to keep trying to do good work, and hope that it leads to more good work. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.”