Under normal circumstances, the major league baseball season was scheduled to start this week. Only the true diehards will admit to this. Those who have denounced baseball as an outdated, slow moving waste of time were probably rejoicing at first. But I think you will all admit that between March Madness and the NBA playoffs, we enjoyed the distraction that is still America’s pastime. Or is it really past time?
Instead of the game itself, try to think about the many memories you have of your first baseball game, or your first hit as a Little Leaguer. Or going to the store to buy your first glove, ball, and bat. Putting on your first uniform and cap was also memorable. Playing catch in the backyard with a brother, parent or friend is a time honored tradition.
I loved my many years in youth baseball. It extended well into my college years. But a few memories stand out for me.
My first major league game was at Seals Stadium in San Francisco, 1959, with the newly arrived Giants fighting for the pennant in September. We got to see Willie Mays, a rookie named McCovey, and a rubber armed pitcher named Sad Sam Jones. My Aunt and Uncle from LA invited me and a friend to tag along to San Francisco. They went on a night club tour, we went to the Giants game and sat in the left field pavilion. We got to see the greatest player in the history of baseball!!!
When Candlestick Park was built the following year (1960), and of course, we had to go. My Dad, brother Bob, and I drove up to San Francisco for the day. The tickets for reserved seats cost $2.50! We got to see our hometown buys in their new stadium. And, we got to have dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf in North Beach! We were two kids that had one of the best days of our lives. We did that often through the years.
We ended up attending some Dodger games at the LA Coliseum and Dodger Stadium. Later, we saw the LA Angels play at old Wrigley Field, later Dodger Stadium, and finally in Anaheim. But nothing would beat the thrill of our first game at windy old Candlestick. And I can’t even remember who the Giants played, or if they won. It did not matter!
Teaching my son to play baseball was a most cherished time. It was fun to watch him since he was so athletic.
Then fast forward to fatherhood, and taking my son to ball games, including the All Star game and several World Series. We created an unbreakable bond. Where would we be without baseball?
So, whatever happens in the next few months, the other sports are probably gone or cancelled for now. That leaves baseball to clean up and fill the sports void. Perhaps this is what baseball needed for a “rebirth” into our new world of video games, and disposable activities.