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.