This morning, I lost my grandmother. She was 90. She made it through two battles of cancer along the way. She was a fighter.
She was also the biggest baseball fan I knew. She had to have watched more than 10,000 Red Sox games while only attending a few. Growing up near Detroit, Mich., my dad always tells the story of the lady who dumped her popcorn all over a bunch of Tiger fans when the Red Sox hit a HR at Tiger’s stadium.
Today, I remember her love of me and the game. I wrote this ditty below for a university class a few years ago. I know you all have stories of what got you into the game. And many of us, too, have dads, mums, and yes even grandmas who loved the game.
I’ll forever remember her. My fondest memories included eating her staples: fish chowder, Swedish meatballs and goulash. And most of all, I’ll remember sitting in Fenway next to her when Tom Brunansky caught that game-winning, AL-East-clinching catch in right field.
Today – I think of baseball. And I also think of you. Remember how special the game is boys. Until next year, drink up. I’m having an MGD now thinking of you Grammy. RIP grammy.
Here’s my dad and I at Fenway Park when I was 5- or 6-years-old. We went to more than 80 games those two years. My favourite players were Wade Boggs, Dewey Evans, Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Spike Owens and Oil Can Boyd.
I had a Roger Clemens glove.
You think my dad was some kind of rich guy with fancy seats or something? No. He worked three jobs. He joined the military and got us in to all those games for $6 each. Standing room. I never knew that. There were always empty seats back then at the park along Yawkey Way.
What kid wouldn’t love baseball after living at Fenway part time? It was still baseball back then. Before the roids. Before the millions of dollars and before skyboxes and every game was on TV.
We’d get watered down cola and a sports BAWR for $3.
Here’s me before a game for Author’s Market. Minor League champs 1990 – the year before we left New England as Dad was transferred to Great Falls, Montana.
I never stopped playing baseball. But playing for the Air Force Base team sucked. I started to hate baseball. And like any true half-Canadian. I played hockey. Here’s me in 2001 winning a Jr. B provincial championship with the Edmonton Royals.
I finished playing and did some reffing. In some crazy-ass American places. Here’s me breaking up some punks in Topeka, Kansas.
And every summer I would come back to play while at university in the States. I loved the game again. So when I moved back to Edmonton, it was back to Armena blue for me.
I even got my wife to take interest in some baseball games. She should. She’s American. She looks pretty hot here, eh?
And here’s my brother-in-law and I in Kansas City. 115 degrees F at first pitch. Yeah, we like baseball.
Why baseball? Because this game is passed down. And I’m passing it down to my son soon. He might not like to watch as much because the game isn’t what it used to be. But he’ll love to play as much as my dad and I did and do.
The stats. The sights. The sounds. The green grass. Picking up a hot grounder and flicking it to first or smacking a double to the gap. If you haven’t felt that before, I feel for you. It’s an amazing feeling.
If you have. You know why baseball. You know why life is like baseball. Lots of failures. Lots of frustration and mistakes, but one day, when it doesn’t seem possible, you do something amazing for the team – on your own. And you’ll never love anything more, than to get out there and try it again.
Yeah. Me. My dad. My mom. My grandmother. All were at this game.
Any more questions on Why Baseball?