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Remembering The Past Makes This Year Even Harder To Take

Laino Sports

When I think about what baseball means to me, I go back to where it began, in Brooklyn with my Dad. Baseball has always been a way of bonding between fathers and sons. Whether it was having a catch, or taking a son to a game.

I will always remember my very first baseball game with my dad and 3 bus loads of little leaguers at Ebbets Field. I was going to see his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers play the Cincinnati Red Legs. I remember the first sight of the light towers and the massive building rising up above the neighborhood around Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.

Walking through a dark cool tunnel, on a beautiful warm summer day and then having a burst of light hit me, like a cloud from heaven. And then, color! The incredible, beautifully manicured green grass and amazing brown dirt in the infield. Then seeing those pure white Dodger uniforms with that blue script and red number in front. Even the color pictures on a baseball card or a photo in a magazine couldn’t match seeing them for real. The sight of that big score board with Schaefer Beer scrolled across the top, was the biggest thing I had ever seen. That day I would get to see Jackie Robinson in his last season and Frank Robinson in his first.

There is an interesting list of players who my hang up their spikes after this year. Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, Nelson Cruz, Cole Hamels, Edwin Encarnacion and Felix Hernandez come to mind. There will be no fan filled stadiums giving them a well deserved send off if they do retire.

But just going to the stadiums and being on what to me is sacred ground is what I miss. This year has been so difficult for people. So much unrest and fear for many reasons. So it’s nice to catch anything that remotely resembles baseball on TV. Yet like many of us, I am not happy about this short season and all of its odd new rules. Things that have been put in place in an attempt to make this 60 game season work. The fact that people can not see any of this live at a ballpark and a Dad not being able to bring his son or daughter for their first game this year, is heartbreaking to those loyal fans.

A baseball Stadium is a special place for me and millions of others, even if your team did not play their best that day. It has become something we look forward to doing from early spring until the cool days of October. Sadly, this year, that is not the case. One day the sad and chaotic things happening now in our lives, will be looked at as a bad dream. Baseball will be there for us again. We will return to the stadiums and cheer our team and  boo the visitors.

We will get through this and have a better appreciation for all the things we once took for granted. When we finally get back to the big ballparks, we will breath in the smells of the venders grilling sausages and hot dogs. We will notice things we never noticed before, like those orange foul polls at Citi Field or the ground crews chalking the batters boxes.

The sights, sounds and smells of a ballpark are special to me. But then the most amazing thing happens, a ballgame. I have been hooked since that day in 1956 in Brooklyn. Being at a game, any game is the most amazing thing to me and I know my last thought on this earth, will be of that day back at Ebbets Field, on a beautiful summer day with my Dad.


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