Strike out or Home Run in that moment, even if just in the backyard against his older brother, the one thing that matters is that he realizes just how much influence baseball has had on his family.
There I am walking to the plate. I am adjusting my helmet, while simultaneously checking my back… for holes because this would be an awful time to discover one in my bat. I put my right foot in the batters box and hit my left cleat… just so that I could look like I was a stud. I look down the third base line at my coach waiting for the sign.
He gives me the swing away signal followed by a, “Let’s get a hit son!”
That was the extent of my summers, on the ball field, with my dad. Baseball was the one game that we could count on to bring us together. I can recount the many summers from t-ball with my dad coaching me. I remember vividly the time in our minor league, standing at the plate, with the local radio announcer in the tree behind the back stop next to the concession stand calling the game. I couldn’t help but hope that my nerves would subside and I would get a hit for all of our home town to hear.
Throughout the years, I could always count on my dad either standing in the dugout or on the third base line. To this day, my father and I share the love of baseball together each an every summer. Once or twice a summer, we will load up the car and head to a Kansas City Royals game. To make the trip just that much more meaningful, we will make sure that our 3rd generation of father son troop is there with us.
To us, it doesn’t matter that he loses interest about the 2nd inning. It doesn’t take too long for him to notice all of the family entertainment in the outfield and the game has become something of a imposition to him. To us all that matters that is that we are sharing our love of the game to him. It doesn’t matter to us that he is growing up to be a Kansas City Royals fan. My dad grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and I grew up with the Colorado Rockies as the team that I root for. Having a father son who roots for separate teams is not foreign territory for us.
Eventually, we will be able to the a fourth person to our annual trips to Kauffman Stadium. I’m sure that he will grow up to have his own team that he roots for and he too, like his big brother, will have dreams of walking onto the diamond and playing for his team. He will have visions of walking up to the plate with bases loaded 2 outs down by 3 in the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series.
Maybe those vision will include looking down the line taking the sign from the third base coach, his dad, like I did so many of those summers growing up. Maybe those visions will include grandpa sitting in the stands watching his grandson in what could be his most pressure pack moment in his life.
Strike out or Home Run in that moment, even if just in the backyard against his older brother, the one thing that matters is that he realizes just how much influence baseball has had on his family. College scholarship, pro contract, or not baseball we will all be proud.