It’s not looking great for a dry, sunny day at the ballpark today, but I’ll be going anyway because baseball is what always bonded me to my father. This is the second Father’s Day since he passed away early last year, not too long after I started writing for this website.
My father never taught me how to play the game, in his mid-50s by the time I was in Little League, to which he drove me to many games and practices despite his three hours of driving each day for work. He often couldn’t stay because I was one of several children and my older brothers had games, too.
If you think that that bothered me, that there was some resentment, well, you’re wrong. My father was the master of calm, serenity, and subtlety. Every once in a while, he would talk about seeing some kid “really get a hold of a low, outside pitch and drive it the other way” when he showed up to get me, not ask about how many hits I got. Instead he’d ask about how many runners I threw out.
Back then, I was a catcher. Five feet tall, 130 lbs. The big kid with a strong arm, but too slow for the outfield. Granted, much of my success came from kids that would run because the rest of the catchers couldn’t reach second base with a throw, much less get it there accurately. That’s what I could do.
And my Dad knew to praise me for that versus my hitting.
When I got older, Dad would talk about baseball while we watched games together. Maybe I might have missed out on becoming more of a player in part because the coaches couldn’t size up my Dad (I’m adopted) but I might have missed out on learning about the game, too.
So I’m not going to get all “Cat’s In The Cradle” on you. I miss my Dad and think about him while I’m watching baseball. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you might have a father or grandfather like him in some way. Call him today, take him out to a ballgame (or whatever his passion is) and tell him you love him. Do it while you still can.