Billy Goodman, Dom DiMaggio, Eli, Grand Papa, Jimmy Piersall, Red Sox, Ted Williams, Washington Nationals
June 8, 2013
July 2, 2009
Four years have passed between these two pictures, and tho grandson Eli may still be a bit young (4 1/2), I thought I’d see if he was ready for a trip to see the Washington Nationals and thus begin this important part of his education.
We made it through the end of the 7th inning, with Eli standing on his seat and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with 41,000 other fans. He was clutching his souvenir, a foul ball, flipped into the stands by a Twins on deck batter. His face was still covered with the remnants of the chocolate ice cream that had dripped all over him.
The only downside of the whole day was when we left, the Nats had lost their 3-2 lead, tho they were tied at 3-3.
More than anything, Eli wanted the Nats to win.
On the way home he said, “The game was awesome. When can we go again?”
He also told me that his “three favorite teams were the Red Sox, the Orioles and the Nationals.”
I was a bit older when my grandfather took me to Fenway (about 60+ years ago), but I remember it as if it were yesterday. He had box seats behind the Sox dugout for evening and weekend games, and all the players seemed to know him.
Imagine what it was like for a 10-year old kid to hear Ted Williams yell to his grandfather, “Hey Pops, where were you last night? You weren’t here?”
At least that’s my memory. Perhaps it wasn’t Williams, tho he was there. Maybe it was DiMaggio or Goodman or Piersall.
After that first time in 1952, trips to Fenway became a yearly ritual. The week school let out in Florida, where I lived at the time, I’d go to Boston before I went to camp, and Pappy would take me to Fenway, and we’d watch batting practice, yell to the Sox players, and talk baseball. I was hooked.
Some of you know that I passed on this obsession to my own daughters, mostly taking them to Baltimore because Fenway was too far away, tho we went to Fenway also. And if you missed the letter one of my daughters wrote me after the 2004 WS game, check it out:
The e-mail on the kitchen table, by Elizabeth Miller.
(When I returned home from St. Louis in October of 2004 after the Sox won the World Series in four straight, after being down three games to zero against the Evil Empire in the ALCS, I found this e-mail on the kitchen table, a letter my daughter had written, and my wife had printed out for me.)
If you are a parent, or plan to be one, definitely check out this reflection, written when Elizabeth was 21 years old.
Also, if you have a few more minutes to waste/enjoy, check out the letter I wrote to Eli after taking him to that first game when he was only six months old:
PS – Although we weren’t there to see it, the Nats lost the game in the 11th, 4-3. When I told Eli, his face dropped, and he got sad.
Thus begins another generation’s introduction to the joys and sorrows of what for me still remains one of life’s wonderful obsessions.
So wonderful, Richard. Glad to see you and Eli sharing your love for the game!
Yogi agrees with you.
Brian Steinbach said:
Hmm, not to burst your bubble (but you allowed for this yourself), but wasn’t Williams in Korea in 1952 except for the first six games or so?
Too bad you didn’t take him to yesteray’s double header sweep.
First game I recall ever seeing was a Evil Empire-Senators July 4 double header at then DC Stadium. 1962 or 1963.
Obviously I’m a little hazy on which year I first went to Fenway 51, 52, or 53, and thus my hedging that maybe it wasn’t Williams but was one of my other heroes.
I did go to the first of the two games yesterday, but alas Eli wasn’t with me. But then again, maybe it’s important that he learns the lesson(s) early.
I know I can always count on you to keep me on the straight and narrow.
janet brownsister said:
YOU HAVE CREATED ANOTHER “monstah”!
What a lovely email from Beth! I don’t remember this one!
I also remember when you yanked her out of elementary school in DC to “play hookey” & you all drove to Boston and back for a game!
What exactly was your chosen profession again?
Pappy did a great job in his way too short life of indoctrinating you!
You almost have it right. I only took Beth/Elizabeth out of school to drive to the Bronx to see a Sox-Yankee game. We left at noon and got home about three in the morning. And she went to school the next day, tho she did ask about going to Cleveland that morning for a game against the Indians.