Crushed Balls, Crushed Dreams

I didn’t go to a lot of baseball games growing up.  My dad worked 7 days a week (plus the occasional double shift) and with four kids at home, there wasn’t a lot of extra money for things like baseball tickets.  Add in the 3 hour trip across the state to get to old Tigers’ Stadium and it equaled out to limited live baseball exposure.

But I sure remember the games I did attend.  The one that sticks with me the most is also the first game I ever saw: the Tigers hosting the Oakland Athletics.  This wasn’t just any Oakland team, either.  This was the Oakland of Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Rickey Henderson.  But a pretty mediocre Tigers team managed to win that day and from our left field seats, my dad, my brother and I saw a bit of history when Cecil Fielder crushed a home run out of the park and literally right over our heads.

I remember the home run vividly because the ball left Fielder’s bat and came straight toward us.  We followed the arc and realized it was going to come down right on top of us…..until it hit the roof over the balcony where we were sitting and continued out onto the street below.  My dad talks about that moment to this day and how the ball was coming straight for my brother.

I mention all this because these images came rushing back when I read about what happened in Texas last Thursday.  Baseball games are happy moments that define my youth but for some young kid, a baseball game will be the last memory he has of his father.

There are a lot of questions that pop into my head.  How was there no netting in place to keep someone from falling 20 feet?  What’s going to happen to Josh Hamilton and his already fragile psyche?  But mainly I wonder about that little kid.

I was sad when Fielder’s home run sailed out of the park and out of our hands but I still have that moment that I can relive with my dad.  The only memento this kid gets is to relive his dad falling 20 feet while trying to create a similar memory.

-A

 

6 Comments

Real tragedy in Texas. I too remember my first game with my dad like it was yesterday, and it was almost 20 years ago. From what I do about Josh Hamilton, I think this is going to really affect him.

I can’t even imagine what that poor young man is going through. As a father, you think about this stuff all the time. I remember the old Tiger Stadium, too, but only made it there twice, once in the late 70’s and once in the late 80’s. Good times with my dad, and I that’s one of the reasons we take our trip together every year. You just never know, and there’s no time to waste.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’

They had the funeral yesterday and the son was trailing after his father’s coffin with all the guys from the firehouse. It was unimaginably sad. I hope some wonderful person will take him to a baseball game at some point when he’s ready and make new, much better memories for him there.

Like you and others have said, I remember my dad taking me to games and it’s something I’ll never forget. That’s what really makes this tragedy feel so personal to so many baseball fans. ……..It’s really a sad thing…….

This was such a horrible tragedy, and I wish it could have been prevented. I can’t imaging what Josh Hamilton feels like.
-Virginia

http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

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