Show me a man who isn’t a baseball fan because of his father, and I’ll show you a man who’s hiding something.
You know why baseball is so great? It’s because of the generations of fans who have passed it on, time and time again.
Baseball is America’s game because our fathers and grandfathers have passed on the stories about the players, the moments and the speechless instances that were embedded into their memories forever.
Because of my dad, I am a coach, a die-hard fan, and a kid who will never grow up when I’m on a field with 90-foot base paths in the shape of the most priceless diamond on earth.
Because of my dad, my vision of heaven is Busch Memorial Stadium with its ring of 96 arches. It’s the place he shares with me and my brothers as the place we all grew up watching the game we love. It’s where he, as a young man saw Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, pitch and steal their way to the Hall of Fame and it’s where my brothers and I in the bloom of youth saw Mark McGwire hit No. 61 and countless others, and where we saw the Cardinals battle the Braves in a suspenseful win thanks to Dimitri Young in the 1996 NLCS.
Because of my dad, no matter how many times a woman may break my heart there will always be this game of endless excitement — win or lose — that will heal my heart every time. It is a game that allows us to accept our success and failures. It is the game where we are not enraged to hurt someone else, but rather the game which allows for bragging rights by saying “I’m better than you” every time we get a hit, throw a strike, steal a base, turn a double play or snag a fly ball. It is a game of so much admiration that anything positive said about baseball is merely an understatement. The game is just that great.
Because of my dad, the Cardinals of the ‘60s are my favorite group of players even though my eyes have witnessed Ozzie Smith, Ray Lankford, Albert Pujols and the spectacular team of 1996. That team still gets me.
Because of my dad, I am writing this column. I have engaged readers across the country because of the baseball subjects I have presented.
Because of my dad, I am the baseball man I am and always will be.