The Love of the Game: A Father, a Son, and the Oakland A’s
Instead of writing about the news, rumors and analysis surrounding the Oakland Athletics, I wanted to write about the person who introduced me to the game of baseball — more importantly to the man who introduced me to the A’s.
Have you ever picked up a baseball, held it eye-level and absorbed the leather-bound ball? What do you see?
When I hold up a ball, I see history and tradition — a sense of purpose and pride.
I see an object that transcends a fathers’ and sons’ relationship with a catch.
I feel the bright sun shining down on my face, the smell of newly cut grass and hear the roar of the crowd.
Baseball digs into the essence of my soul; it burns a fire in my belly. It gives off a feeling of utopia and sends my heart into a sprint.
I can’t hit the ball out of the park like Hank Greenberg or throw a 95 mph fastball like Randy Johnson. I can’t run the bases like Rickey Henderson or throw out a runner going from first to third like Ichiro. But if you need someone to tell you what college Jed Lowrie attended (Stanford) or how many saves Dennis Eckersley posted in 1989 (33), well, then I’m your man. And I have only one person to thank for that: My dad.
The love of sports was introduced to me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. As a young child, the pages of storybooks would come alive through the words of mom and dad. The “3 Little Pigs”, “Snow White” and “Peter Pan” found pilgrimage in the nursery room hoping for the chance of being read aloud to take you away to slumber. But this wasn’t the case in my nursery room.
Instead of being rocked to sleep, listening to the stories of Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie or Babe the pig, I was drifting away to the chronicles of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth.
In my crib, the batting average of the league’s top hitting players, the argument over the designated hitter and interleague play circled my head like a mobile.
Gone were the traditional tales of children’s fables, having been replaced by the sports section in the newspaper. I was falling asleep to box scores and how many games out of first place the A’s were.
I learned how to read not by phonics but by the morning newspaper. By looking at the box scores, columns and stats in the paper, my vocabulary expanded and my reading comprehension excelled. At the age of five, I was taking the sports section into the bathroom to take care of business on my throne. I detected early on that the bathroom was where I did my best thinking.
SportsCenter was the first thing on my television in the morning and the last thing on before the lights went out. Missing a telecast of an A’s game was not an option. In fact, it was punishable by death in my estimation. I had to keep up with the day in sports because if I missed the action I felt as if I let my team down. Maybe they would ban me from attending their games or go on a horrible loosing streak just to spite me. These thoughts traveled through my head in fear of missing just one telecast. Either I was very passionate or had the beginning stages of O.C.D. I will go with the latter.
Thanks dad, for the love and knowledge of sports you passed down to me. Oh yeah, and for teaching me the valuable bond between a man and his bathroom.
Adam Kreamer is the Athletics writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @adam_Kreamer.