Being from Michigan, I naturally still follow some Detroit sports teams, like the Red Wings, Tigers, and unfortunately, the Lions. But I would not say that I am a huge sports fan or addict, which I think Mel appreciates. I still remember when I first met Mel’s Dad, Larry, he asked if I played basketball, and in an effort to impress, I said “Yeah, I’m pretty good.”( I rarely played and I am like 5’4”). When I got in the car afterwards, I told Mel I could not help but think, “Why did I say that?!” Still, sports have always been a part of my life and I have many fond memories related to sports.
Mel and I recently went to the Charleston River Dogs Game. We have been trying to follow the advice of friends to do some things that we know will be much more difficult to do soon because… well you know why. For those of you that do not know, the River Dogs are the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees here in Charleston. The stadium overlooks the marshes off the Ashley River and we have already had some great memories at the Joe Riley Stadium.
While at the game, I started thinking about the other times in my life that have revolved around baseball. My memories of baseball games are not of the game itself but of the people that I shared the games with and the general atmosphere. I love the low bass of the announcer, the gentle rumble of conversation around you, the warm sun, the smell of hot dogs, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the chill crispness of an ice cold beer on a hot day.
I still remember sitting in front of the concrete columns of Tiger Stadium in the obstructed view seats with my dad. One year I had a partial season ticket package and I recall the tough trek to the very top row of the park to get to the seats. My Bachelor party even started at a Tigers’ Game, and I had the opportunity to help throw a Dadchelor party for my good friend Andy in which we went to a River Dogs game. Actually, the first work event I went to here in Charleston was at a River Dogs game when we first moved down.
So many major life events have been marked by baseball games also. The day after Mel and I got engaged, Larry and I went to a Tiger’s game together.
I have so many fond memories of games together with him in particular. We have been to many a game together- we usually got in trouble for staying out too late and enjoying ourselves a little too much but we always had a blast. The stories of Al Kaline’s ability to throw bullets from the outfield to home plate are stories I cannot wait to hear him tell our daughter.
Another one of my favorite memories involves our drive home to South Carolina with our then puppy after our wedding in Detroit. We were travelling through Cincinnati and we saw this procession of dogs going to the Reds Game. So we decided to go too. We took Charlie with us for Bark in the Park; he was only 3 and a half months old, and not yet big enough to hold down the seat.
And now another major life event marked with baseball: the birth of our daughter. The trip to the park flooded me with the memories and emotions noted above and now we will also have the memory of going to the park when Mel was 33 weeks pregnant with Penny. In a way we are in the 7th inning stretch of the pregnancy. And it got me thinking that I cannot wait to take our daughter to the ballpark with us and her grandparents so she can make her own memories. I hope she remembers the experience of going to the park and the stories that her grandpa and dad tell her. Even though she may not like the sport, I hope she will love the experience of the ballpark.