I wrote dozens of letters to my sons while I was away. I told them they didn’t have to write to me, because it was too sad to hear everything that was going on in my absence. Plus I talked to them on the phone, followed them in the old newspaper I used to write for, which my old boss sent to me on a weekly basis, Thank you very much. It almost felt like I was there to read about their football and wrestling careers. Almost.
But almost didn’t cut it, I wanted them to know that I thought of them on a daily basis. I wanted to connect with them on a deeper level. So I sat down in my bunk and wrote what was supposed to be a congratulatory letter to my son on his team winning the World Series, after all I had experienced the same joy, not only the year before but 6 times in my lifetime. It’s not only a joy, that is easy to get used to, but a joy like no other. This was a level I can really connect with my boys on, baseball. So this is it…The Best Letter Ever
I thought it was finally time I talked to you about something. If this isn’t the most important letter you get from me, it will be the one you never forget. Don’t worry this isn’t the dreaded talk about…you know what, or the ol’ birds and the bees. Because, well this isn’t the 50’s and I know you all watch R rated movies.
This letter is about love. Pure love. Since you are all about to be men, you need to know about love from a woman’s point of view, more importantly from your mother.
You see before your father, I had a first love, a love that has been the one constant in my life. A love that was always there for me, through thick and thin and it never left me.
This love is baseball.
Baseball took my heart during the 1977 World Series. I was 5 years old. I had come in from playing outside to chaos and madness. My mother and grandmother (Grandma Jeaneen and Grandma Dod) were screaming and jumping up and down. Grandma would kick my mom out the front door and she would sneak back in the back door.
I sat down to watch the TV and see what brought out the madness in these women.
It was baseball. World Series, Game 6. The Dodgers vs. The Yankees. (This is when I sold my soul to the Yankees.)Reggie Jackson hit three home runs that game. He became Mr. October and I became a fan.
You see the deal with baseball, is that it is magical, for those who love it. Players and fans alike. Nowhere else will you see the kind of magic baseball can bring you. It’s the magic we live for all summer. That magic of coming back to win it by one-bottom of the 9th-bases loaded-full count-crack of the bat-out of the park-stealing home-pitching a no hitter-kind of magic.
I saw such magic. Maybe not in real life and maybe it was on TV but I’ve seen such magic.
I got to see Rickey Henderson break the stolen base record. I saw Cal Ripken outlast the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. I saw Mark McGwire break Roger Maris’ homerun record that held up for decades, then I saw Sammy Sosa soon follow. I saw the Twins go from worst to first in 91. And, yes I saw the Red Sox win it (finally) after 84 years. I also saw your grandma go from being a Yankee fan, to a Red Sox, fan to a Yankee fan. It don’t work like that and hopefully someday I can forgive her for that. I saw Darryl Strawberry comeback, again and again. I saw Nolan Ryan pitch a no hitter at age 44.
I saw my Yankees win it all many, many, many times, including breaking in their new home. But I also saw them go out this year, or rather I heard it on the radio, walking around to get better reception.
Congratulations Ty, your team went all the way this year, now you know how it feels, but don’t get used to it, my team will be back. Don’t let your dad try to claim any of that glory, he’s a stinkin’ Mets fan. He was never a Giants fan.
Ask him how heartbroken I was to sell our Reggie Jackson 1971 Topps for gas money two years before he hit the hall of fame. Or how we lost our entire baseball card collection in storage. It still hurts.
There is no love like baseball, my sons, hold it in your heart always because you clearly get that from your mother.
Love & baseball
P.S. I hope you remember that plan we made back in ’06. When I go to the big baseball stadium in the sky, which is the old Yankee stadium, I’m sure because clearly God is a Yankee fan. I still want my ashes spread by the shortstop in Yankee stadium. Not on a sticky beer spill in the stands Jalen, but by shortstop. Of course you will all be arrested for trespassing but there will be further plans for your bail, since you will all be in your 70’s.