The Baseball Tradition: A Love Story

My family didn’t make it into the city very much, as my parents weren’t fans of crowds and traffic. We watched the ’96 Olympics from the T.V., and I can’t remember ever spending a weekend viewing Atlanta attractions. However, there was one exception: a baseball game.

I grew up hearing my father’s stories of baseball history and his favorite players. The Yankees were his team, and their rich tradition was one I loved to hear him share. From my father I learned of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak and his help with the war effort. I heard stories of DiMaggio’s undying love for his ex-wife Marilyn Monroe that caused him to lay flowers on her grave every day for years. The baseball players from years ago have stories that just can’t be duplicated.

When my family moved to Georgia 25 or so years ago, my dad needed a team to root for, so we became fans of the Atlanta Braves. To say they were horrible when I was a little girl doesn’t even cut it, but my father always said that anyone could root for a winner. We weren’t going to be fair-weather fans, and we cheered for the Braves when they were in last place. During the summer, our T.V. nights were spent watching baseball on TBS, and the love of baseball even brought us to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium from time to time.

While my dad loves watching the game, he has his own history playing. He got a taste of his dream when he tried out in Yankee Stadium, but he wasn’t called to pitch for them. The Chicago White Sox had his name. They picked him for their farm team, but when dad threw out his arm, there was nothing more he could do. The fastball was his pitch, and not having the expert medical care that athletes have today, that injury ended his career.

And for years, the closest my dad came to passing on his knowledge was at a few seasons of my sister’s softball games. I spent ten years living my own sports dream as a gymnast, and so my dad cheered on stuck beam series and high-flying double-backs. The season of the fastball and homerun were no longer a part of his personal life.

Until he was given a grandson.

When Caleb walks to the on-deck circle, I know my father gets a little flurry of excitement. He gets to share some of his knowledge of the game with someone who can finally use it. But I have to wonder, as he looks on across the field, if it’s hard to cheer for the Mets after all his years as a die-hard Yankee fan.

Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

Mama's Losin' It

What love of sports does your family carry? And don’t forget to come back tomorrow and link up your own Journeys post on gentleness!

26 thoughts on “The Baseball Tradition: A Love Story

  1. LOVE this story (and the pictures), Jennifer!!! I know your Dad really enjoys watching Caleb play!!! πŸ™‚

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  2. I love this post. I have similar feelings with my dad (with football) he had 2 daughters, so football wasn't in the cards. Even though my sister would have been good! Now that I have a son, every gift is revolvong around football. Its fun to see.

    Great post! Visiting from Mama Kat's.

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    1. I had to laugh when I read that your sister would've been good at football because my daughter is insistent that she is going to play baseball next–not softball with the girls but baseball with her brother and all the boys! Thanks for visiting!

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    1. I can't comment on the Yankees too much since we moved down south when I was six, but I will say that it seems more fun to cheer for a team that I can actually see live and in person once in a while! And the Braves have pulled out quite a few good seasons…just not post-seasons. πŸ™‚

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  3. Your family and my husband's must have been the only two following the Braves during their "stinking" years. He tells me they use to sit on the very top of the stadium, cheapest seats, and be pretty much the only ones there, watching them play. He's still a huge Braves fan and now he is indocrinating our children into the Braves family.
    I enjoyed your post πŸ™‚

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    1. Yeah, the stadium was pretty empty during those bad years–not at all like now! There are definitely worse things he could indoctrinate your kids to like. πŸ˜‰

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  4. This is such a great post, Jen. Dad loves his baseball and so enjoys watching Caleb. He’s a great little player. πŸ™‚

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  5. I never knew that Joe had played professional baseball. When my family got our first tv which had a screen smaller than a dinner plate, we watched the Atlanta Crackers. This was the farm team of the Milwaukee Braves which of course later became the Atlant Braves. My entire family loved baseball and I am and always have been a Braves fan. Maybe we will see Caleb in the pros some day, preferably with the Braves!
    Wonderful post, as usual.

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    1. Thank you, Dot! My dad's traveling right now, so when he gets back and reads this post maybe he'll clarify; I believe he didn't actually play with the Whitesox; he got injured before he started, but they had scouted and chose him (or whatever the terminology is).

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  6. This post is now one of my favorites. I always love the story of Uncle Joe's baseball try-outs. I find it fascinating that he got that far to try and live out a passion. It's great that he gets to share his love of baseball with his grandson.

    PS: Uncle Joe was a Yankees fan? Eww.

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    1. I enjoyed this post, too. Sometimes I have in mind what I want a post to sound like, and it doesn't turn out nearly as well out of my head. This one did what I had hoped, though. I'm glad you commented–I think it's your first time! πŸ˜‰ And, yes, the Yankees. I was shocked to learn that you all are Boston Red Sox fans.

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      1. Yes, my first comment! Most of the time I read during work and until today I was blocked from commenting. In any case, I must defend myself by saying that I am not a Red Sox fan. I am not a fan of baseball. I find it to be boring. So I watch hockey instead! Constant action, handsome men and violence. What more could a girl ask for? Haha!

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  7. Thanks much for he post. I got tears in my eyes looking at the photo of me watching Caleb going to the plate to bat. You couldn't see my chest but I think at that time it was sticking out further than my stomach…for the lfirst time in yeqrs. No, I didn't get to play for the white sox because of the injury, but the dream and that All Star game is still fresh in my mind. However, I did get to pitch at Sing Sing prison in Ossining, New York, not as a inmate, just with a traveling team. Sing Sing had a good team. Why not with all the time on their hands.

    Thanks again for the post but remember…. I was just as proud of you and Lisa for particpating in your chosen sport.

    Love,

    Dad

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  8. This is so cute! My brother is only 10.5 months younger than me, so rather than having us play on two different leagues, my dad had us play the same sports. He always coached our baseball teams, and he talks about missing those days even now! I can understand Hannah Grace's desires, since I played baseball, basketball, and roller hockey– all with the boys!

    Awesome post!

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    1. God bless your parents…I thought I had it rough with my kids being 17 months apart and 20 months apart!I can definitely see why that time would be one of your dad's favorites. I look forward to every one of Caleb's practices and games; he looks so cute and innocent, and I know he won't stay that way forever.

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  9. Sweet post ;o). God is faithful to do it His way and not ours, huh? Thanks for sharing.
    **Visiting from Mama Kat's**
    PS_ I may look into Journeys – great idea.

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    1. Yes, there are so many times I can thank Him for knowing better than I! Thanks for stopping by today–I'd love to see you come back for Journeys, too! πŸ˜‰

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