"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again."
James Earl Jones as Terence Mann in "Field Of Dreams"
Over the last few years I have used this quote on social media to open the MLB season. I thought I'd take some time and explain why. In the photo above I'm in the lower left corner and my father is standing in the upper right. This was my first year playing baseball and having my father near by was a theme that would continue my entire life. My father has always been a part of my baseball experience. An experience that has lasted more than 40 years. From Little League to enjoying the World Series together, baseball "...marked the time."
I continued to play baseball for many years only to eventually be cut from my High School JV team. While this was heartbreaking I realized at a young age that I wasn't very good, but baseball was a staple in my life and not playing wasn't an option. I loved the game, playing and watching. Because of my father we have been watching Giants baseball from the same seats since the early 70's. As a kid I was lucky enough to have watched players like Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. The sights and sounds of the game a part of my life whether it be Little League or Major League Baseball. The sound of the ball hitting the bat, my Dad by my side and a hot dog in my hand there was always baseball.
Over the years I have been to more games than I can count. I've seen records broken, hearts broken and celebrations that I never, as a Giants fan, thought would happen. I could share each one but it would make a better novel. Instead here are some images.
I know that I am not alone in my experience. Parents and their kids have been sharing baseball since way before my time and hopefully into the far away future. Baseball has been the vehicle for my relationship with my Dad. Sitting, hours at a time, by his side. Watching him as he stared at the field as if every moment was as exciting as the next. He taught me how to keep score and shared with me the subtle nuances of the game. As my boys grow older I hope I am lucky enough to provide half the memories that my father has provided me.
Today, for the first time this year regular season baseball will be played at AT&T Park. My Dad will be in his seats and the sounds of baseball will return to the San Francisco waterfront. The beer will flow and many hot dogs will be eaten and the smell of garlic fries will permeate the field. Who knows what this season will bring but I do know that it will bring more memories for myself and my family as well as families throughout America. PLAY BALL!