Life imitates basketball.
Sometimes life is like Tayshaun Prince soaring through the air like a pterodactyl to swat away a Reggie Miller layup, securing a vital playoff win over the Pacers.
And sometimes life is like Robert Horry sinking a clutch 3-pointer to cinch an NBA Finals’ fifth game loss to the Spurs.
Sometimes life is encountering a quiet, quirky guy on Detroit Bad Boys who becomes a Pistons fan-friend that you enjoy knowing.
And sometimes life suddenly snatches that dear friend away in his prime.
Chris Saucier, who posted on DBB for about 14 years as sauce1977, (and more recently by his full name of Christopher Saucier) died on Friday, September 16. He was only 45 years old. He’s survived by his loving wife, Heidi, and their five-year-old son, Nathaniel, among others.
He’ll be greatly missed by many who interacted with him over the years on DBB – chiefly by a cadre that Chris affectionately named the "DBB Mafia."
"Sauce," as many of us affectionately knew him, first started posting on DBB sometime in 2007 – back when the Pistons were still a potent playoff team. Like most of us, he held some strong opinions. For instance, no one hated the teal uniforms more passionately. So when it was announced a couple months ago that the Pistons would be sporting the old teal uniforms for 10 games this season, this was one of Chris’ numerous disapproving comments:
"They’re fucking awful and a desperate cash grab by Detroit to sell to millennials who don't remember the 1980s and grew up with this eyesore of a trend."
When I first joined DBB in July of 2010, it took me some time to figure out where Sauce was coming from. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but who can be right 100% of the time? As far as I’m concerned, Sauce was the soul of DBB.
Longtime DBBers may recall that Sauce helped develop a "Free Amir" t-shirt back in February of 2008. (Extravagant love for rookies and role players is a long-standing DBB tradition.)
Then in March of that year he joined Matt Watson and several other DBBers for a "Detroit Bad Boys Suite Night" at The Palace. Inspired by his presence, the Pistons romped to a 22-point halftime lead on their way to a season-high 136 points.
There was another DBB inspired gathering in March of 2017, where Sauce and his wife Heidi joined Christopher Daniels, mophatt1, and prava88 (AKA Ryan) at Bogart’z in Detroit.
According to Ryan, "Sauce was quite a character and it also didn’t take long to realize he’s one of the most genuinely nice people you will ever get to know. And he’s one of the most passionate and knowledgeable Pistons fans out there, period. I had the fortune of meeting Sauce and his amazing wife Heidi twice over the last several years at small DBB get-togethers."
Toledo Joe also remembers meeting up with Sauce and Heidi (and Ryan) pre-pandemic to watch a Pistons’ game together at a bar in Ann Arbor. "Sauce and Heidi made a great impression on me," says Joe. "They were delightful (I guess Ryan was fine, too)."
After the pandemic began, Merwinly and Joe were inspired (conspired?) to begin a weekly Zoom call for some like-minded DBBers. For those of us who live outside of Michigan, this was an opportunity to "meet" each other for the first time. So for most Saturday nights over the last two years, the "DBB Mafia" assembled in cyberspace, with several of ScottFL, Merwinly, Robert, Ryan, The Boourns, Garrett, Big Z and V. joining Joe, myself and Sauce. Other special guests have included Mike Payne and jayod.
Recently, we learned that Chris’ beloved Heidi was usually in the room, lurking off-screen. (Did she secretly fear that associating with so many Pistons’ fans who sadly still live in their mom’s basements might be a bad influence on Sauce?) Some of us got to meet Heidi via Zoom for the first time last Saturday.
Long-time poster V. shared this moving tribute to Sauce:
"Even though I've been online since the very beginning 30 years or so ago, it doesn't change the fact that maybe because I grew up meeting people the "traditional" way, it still feels weird to me. We have online friends and in person friends. So, while I never physically met Chris, I knew him from 15 years or so of posting on DBB.
"I watched a young man grow up over the years, become an asset to our community, become a loving husband and father, find the internal happiness he was struggling to find, and it all goes away in the blink of an eye. Even though I'm distant from it, it doesn't change the fact it's heartbreaking and unfair.
"During the pandemic, some in the community started scheduling Zoom calls and I eventually got on the invite list and got to know Chris better. He was a complete 180 from when he first posted on DBB in 2007 or so: content, quiet, happy. Chris truly represented what the people of Detroit are about: resourceful, caring about the community, devoted to his family. Wearing the Olde English D on his head during the calls suited him well, indeed.
"Chris was a diehard Detroit sports fan as well. Having suffered through the past 10 years of futility for all four teams, it's especially sad to think he won't be able to watch them ascend again, as all four teams are on the rebound now.
"The one thing I've learned in my time on Earth is that nothing is forever and we all have expiration dates. It doesn’t change the fact that losing someone sucks, especially when he had half his life ahead of him. We lost another fine man, Ron Marshall, at 42 to a stroke a few years ago. We’ve never forgotten Ron, and we'll never forget Chris, and his memory will continue to live on DBB."
Perhaps Sauce’s closest DBB friend was Merwinly (AKA Marcus). Some months ago his car went kaput, and he didn’t know how he was going to replace it. So Chris, Heidi and Nathaniel "drove half-way across the state" to sell him a car for a fraction of its worth. "He tried to sell it to me for $500, but I wouldn’t let him," Marcus recalls. "He was very generous."
And here’s what Heidi has to say about her hubby:
"Chris and I met by chance over 20 years ago at a volunteer overtime shift where we both worked. It started an adventure that eventually became an almost 10-year marriage and brought the most amazing little boy into our lives.
"Chris will be remembered for his love for writing, the Detroit Pistons, gaming, and film. He had a special interest in horror films, and in the past year accomplished a personal goal of writing a screen play. Even more amazing was his genuine concern for those close to him and his desire to help others where he could.
"Chris – Nathaniel and I love you, and will miss you dearly. Your memory lives on in us. I thank God for you and what He's taught us through our time together. We weren't perfect at it, but God brought us together in the right moment for His plan."
Visitation for Chris will take place on Friday, September 23, 2022, from 2-8 pm, with Rosary at 7 pm, at Chas. Verheyden, Inc., 16300 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe Park.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 11 am at Saint Clare of Montefalco, 1401 Whittier Rd, Grosse Pointe Park. The family asks that you please wear masks to all services. Memorial contributions to De La Salle Collegiate, PRIME Ministries, or Gift of Life Michigan are appreciated.
Sauce was a registered organ donor, and Gift of Life was able to find recipients for his kidney, liver, and heart. No doubt each of those recipients will now feel a greater affinity for his beloved Pistons.
I also won’t be surprised if each recipient develops a deep aversion to teal.