At the Ballpark
At The Ball Park
Dad’s Cleveland Indians hat sat proudly atop his head. I guzzled my soda while Dad munched on his popcorn. He wore his blue jeans and a tweed jacket.
“This is a great game,” I remarked. Dad looked at me and smiled at me.
“We are creaming the Pirates.” I had no idea what this game symbolized. Simultaneously, this game later would become the worst game and the best game I ever saw. A foul ball came sailing toward me. I thrust my glove into the air and caught the ball.
“Good catch son,” Dad exclaimed.
“Thanks,” I answered.
It was kind of a big moment in my life at the time. Before that moment, Dad had never really praised me in that way. I played baseball myself in Little League, and Dad was not very vocal in praises for me. I placed my soda down at my feet and removed the ball from my glove. I remember the ball had that musty leather aroma. Then Dad leaned in and whispered to me.
“You’ll remember today forever!” After the game, Dad and I got my ball signed by Bartolo Colon. I put it on the mantel. The next day Mom told me the news that dad had walked out on us. I never saw my dad again.
When my children asked me about that autographed baseball, I tell them about the catch I made in the glove and about the father I let slip through my ungloved fingers. I told my children that if you can ever hold onto a wonderful memory never let it go. The autograph on that baseball has been partially faded over time but the memory of the ballgame I went to with my dad was something I would cherish for a lifetime.