Remembering Kyle, the guy with the big swing and big smile

Kyle “Big Bear” Moore

Kyle was 9 years old when I first wrote about him.

That was in 2002 and I was in my first year of coaching, an assistant for the Barre Cubs.

I loved Kyle immediately. Big boy. Big smile, Big swing.

And a bit stubborn.

I wrote this in 2002:

- The excitement of getting on base can cause deafness,

“OK, Kyle,” I said as Kyle Moore took a walk to first. “One out. On a pop fly you stay right here on first. A grounder, you’re running. Got it?”

“Sure thing coach.”

“Remember, anything in the air and you DO NOT MOVE. I see you move and I’m chasing you down.”

And Kyle, a bundle of energy leaning toward second, erupts at the sound of the ball hitting the bat and doesn’t realize it’s a measly pop fly to the pitcher.

“Get back Kyle!! Get back! Kyle? Kyle?”

He stood on second happy as can be and would have stood there all night had the ump not walked to the infield to inform him that he was sooooo far out.”

I would go on to coach Kyle for the next four years.

When his midget league career ended, I wrote this:

“And Kyle Moore, the big guy with the big swing, who when he was 9 knew more about the game than anyone on the team and still does. I watched him learn to slow that big strikeout swing and hit better this year than he has ever hit as a Midget Leaguer. And when I almost lost hope for him as a pitcher after four years of trying to get it across the plate, he finally came through, starting the season on the mound and ending it on the mound.”

Kyle would go on to be a pretty darn good high school player and I was proud of him.

He still had that huge swing and was still spitting just as much as he ever did.

In midget league, anytime Kyle would crush a home run, he would follow up with 10 straight strikeouts.

Stubborn as he was, he was and always will be one of my favorite players.

Everyone loved him.

I would see Kyle from time to time in recent years. Sometimes he would give me a bear hug and smile and call me “Coach.”

He would tell whoever he was with “This was my coach!” and we would talk about the “old days.”

“Me? I never struck out that much!” he would say.

“Want me to get the scorebooks?” I would say.

And he would smile and be on his way.

Any time I bumped into him somewhere, he put a smile on my face, no matter what mood I was in.

Loved that kid.

It was 7 a.m. Wednesday when I found out he died. Kyle was 28, with a birthday just two days away.

I sat there in a daze all morning.

I grew up with Kyle’s family, was good friends with his uncles and aunts and I used to slip away at their house parties late at night to drink beer and sing country songs with his grandmother and great-aunts.

His family is a big one and a close family who were all very much a part of Kyle’s life.

Kyle was the one who made them all laugh and smile and I can’t fathom what they are going through.

I’ve never lost a player, at least a Barre Cub.

For a few months every year for 15 years, I coached a dozen or so boys and they all became a part of my life, not just for those brief few months but forever.

I watched them grow from year to year, from the time they were 8 to when they finished up their last youth baseball season at 12.

Some I remember more than others, those who had that “personality” that sticks with you.

Kyle definitely had personality.

“Anyone who was lucky enough to receive one, knows how much his Bear Hugs will be truly missed,” his obituary says.

I was lucky enough and will certainly miss seeing him.

(Scott DeSmit is a general assignment reporter for The Daily News. He can be reached at desmitmail@yahoo.com)

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