A View From The Ballpark This Dad Will Never Forget
A little over 4 years ago, when I first told my dad that he was going to be a granddaddy to a little boy, I had a hard time holding back tears. I think he did too. Moments later he went upstairs to the attic and came down with a little piece of my childhood. He appeared a few minutes later holding an old baseball glove - that he had been storing - from my high school baseball playing days. A 30-year-old mitt that I love to this day. "Here", he said. "Give this to him."
It's a Wilson A2000 infielders glove, and I can still see my name and the number 8 that I wrote ever so neatly on it. You see, the sport of baseball filled my heart with so many fond memories over the years, that I truly think it's my 'first love'. I love everything about baseball and many of my favorite childhood memories included taking my bike over to the little league field hoping to grab a few kids who wanted to hit balls and play pick-up baseball. I loved putting on the uniform, the hot summer days traveling to all-star tournaments, the freeze pop and burgers after the game, the friends I made along the way. More than anything though, I loved playing pitch and catch with my dad out in the street. We played so much I think I wore out my old man's arm. I will say this about my pops; no matter how many hours he put in at work, how tired he was, his knees shot and his arm out of gas, he never, not one time turned me down.
When we took a little vacay to Boston last week, we were staying at a hotel just blocks away from Fenway Park. On Wednesday, the Sox were in town taking on the Twins. Even as a lifelong Yankee fan, I'll admit there is no ballpark like Fenway. It's a baseball museum that happens to be the home of the Red Sox. For my money - and you'll spend quite a bit of it there - it's the baseball Mecca.
We didn't have tickets for the game as we planned to see and do other things, plus I thought that a 7pm start time might be a little too late for a 3-year-old. But inside my head, even without tickets, I knew my girlfriend Samantha and I had to take him. And so we did.
Trying to explain the feeling of bringing my boy - my dad's grandson - to a ballgame is hard to do. We sat next to each other and I occasionally would stare at him, my eye's watering, while this magnificent game was being played on a perfectly manicured field under lights so bright, you can see them from a mile away. There are no words so I was just attempting to take it all in; the hand-operated scoreboard, the Green Monster, the famed Pesky Pole, the championship banners that this baseball-rich town thought they'd never see, the fans singing Sweet Caroline between innings. And the grandest sight of all - my 3-year-old son Brody sitting next to me.
I think he had a great time at the game, but Brody was far more consumed with chasing mascots around the stadium for 6 innings and eating ice cream then watching the actual game. In fact, I don't think any of us knew the score until the 7th inning which is quite apropos if you ask me. I didn't fall in love with baseball because of any one outcome. My dad and I didn't keep score while playing pitch and catch and I couldn't tell you one final tally of the little league games or pick-up games I played. I fell in love with baseball because of the field, the lights, the sounds, the food, the people, and my pops.
I don't know if Brody will ever have the desire to play baseball or even love it a fraction of a percentage of how much I do. But I will tell you this; if he ever wants to play ball with me or wants to see a game, no matter how tired I am, no matter how badly my knees are shot or arm tired, I will never turn that boy down.
I've been to many big league baseball games over the years, but this was....different. They say you never forget your first love, or in this case, my first big league baseball game with my boy.