I love the mornings! I clap my hands every morning and say, ‘This is gonna be a great day!’ – Dicky Fox from the movie, “Jerry Maguire”
I don’t know what it is about Spring. Maybe it’s the first glorious sunny day after day after day of rain a nd cold nights. Sometimes it isn’t even the sun. For me, I turned on my radio and hurt the soft and velvety voice of Jon Miller, the voice of the San Francisco Giants. Yes, Spring Training Baseball! When I hear his voice I can feel the armth of Phoenix coming from the radio and just hearing the simle crack of the bat and oohs and ahhs from the crowd put me in a whole different world. Growing up in San Francisco it used to be the grand fatherly tenor voice of Lon Simmons but Jon Miller has effectively taken over.
I listened to a casual baseball game on the internet as I worked yesterday. The score didn’t matter, but the chatter amongst the announcers about the weather, what they did in the off season somehow entertained me as I flew through my work and long after the game was over I found myself smiling as I completed task after task. It is a funny thing what the mind does when things seem bright and cheery! Every Spring people want to throw things out, put things behind them and just bloom like a new flower. I can’t say that I’m any different this year.
Baseball is America’s Past-time and many say it mirrors life more than any other sport. Everyone shows up in Arizona and Florida in the Spring with high expectations and hopes, but come Winter, only a few really stand tall. And then again each Spring it starts all over again. There has been history and pageantry and many children remember sitting there ata game with their parent in the warmer summer sun eating hot dogs and drinking soda while watching their heroes (Giants) battle their enemies (Dodgers). If you are lucky like me, you get to live your life near great men such as Willie Mays who as a black man in the 50s became friends with my Asian grandfather and the two of them would talk about being minorities in San Francisco. I still have my Willie Mays autographed baseball that he signed for me in the freezer of my granfather’s butcher shop and remember my grandfather with his hand on my shoulder saying how I just met a man with a strong internal fortitude that you will never see because of his pleasant exterior.
My grandfather was a tough man and not very nurturing (hard to do with 7 children, my mom being his only daughter). My own father tried his best to give his children all that he didn’t have. And he did. Baseball games, Foot ball games, Basketball games and just walks around the golf course to hit balls at the driving range are such vivid and pleasant memories. I cherish them and try to live them with my own children so that they will feel that same passion about those times when they are my age. I can remember every great sporting event I’ve been to and mostly remember those times with my father. I only wish he were still here today to enjoy them with me and my son.
My good friend, Dave, and I both talk about how we miss doing things with our dads and have told each other about those things we just “have to do” with our children some day. One of those things is to take our kids to Wrigley Field and watch a baseball game from the bleachers (that is where the sun is). We promised each other that if anything were to happen to us before we had the chance, we’d take the other person’s kids to Wrigley Field for a baseball game.
When I attended business school in Chicago, I took many night classes so I could attend games during the days. The friendly people and history around that park is great and a reflection of how baseball meets life. I love the Chicago Cubs and more importantly I love their fans. They are a group of people who follow their team despite 100s of years of despair. In a tough way, I hope they never win. They are truly “Loveable Losers” , but that is their mystique. You don’t have to win to be loved. You don’t always have to be the best. You just have to be real and people will feel for you.
One year I invited my dad out to watch a game with me. The Giants were in town to play the Cubs. It was Randy Myers poster day and we had the pleasure of sitting a few rows in front of Ronnie Woo Woo. If you don’t know who he is, you need to get to Wrigley while he is alive. no experience is complete for any baseball fan unless you’ve heard Ronnie. My dad was totally amused by Ronnie and the whole “Left Field, Right Field” chants. The Giants were losing 1-0 all day and in the 9th inning Randy Myers came in to save the game, which he promptly blew. Instantaneoudly 20,000 posters went flying onto the field from frustrated fans only they weren’t booing but laughing. I only wish I had had a camera that day to show the laughter on my dad’s face as he threw his poster at the right fielder. The table had turned, I was taking my dad to a game and giving him great memories.
My wife is giving me a kiss right now as she sends me off for a weekend of memories. Tonight I will be heading out for my annual weekend of golf and Spring Training in Arizona. Little sleep will be had, much red meat will be eaten, but most importanly hope will be renewed and smiles will be abundant.