My father loved baseball. He used to brag about being called up to play on the high school team when he was still in junior high. It was certainly something to be proud of, even though the male population of the high school at the time was somewhat shy of a full roster baseball team and in need of players. He was on the high school basketball team for the same reason, but his real passion was baseball.
I think if life circumstances had been different for Dad, he would have been a professional ball player. But first he had to contend with the Depression, then five years of service in the Army during WWII, and eventually the responsibilities of raising two little girls. He should have coached little league, but back then girls weren’t allowed to play, so instead of lobbing fly balls into leftfield on Saturday mornings, he was pushing me and my sister around the yard in a wheel barrel.
It was the Impossible Dream Team of 1967, when the Red Sox stunned the nation by winning the American League East pennant and reaching the World Series for the first time since 1946, that made me a baseball fan. Back then Saturday afternoons were spent watching the game. My Dad and I used to argue who was the most valuable player among a roster that included Rico Petrocelli, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro, Ken Harrelson (the Hawk), George Scott, Reggie Smith, and pitcher Jim Lonborg.
Later in life, when my life circumstances included an apartment in Boston, on occasion we’d snag some tickets from a scalper outside Fenway and catch a home game from behind third base. Though my Dad passed away several years before the Red Sox finally captured the World Series in 2004, thus ending the long drought and rumors of a “curse”, he was always a faithful fan.
I think if Dad were still alive today, he’d get a great kick out of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Set to begin its 2010 season, the opening game will take place this Sunday, June 13th between the Cotuit Kettleers and the Wareham Gatemen at Wareham. Many of the finest college players in the country make their way to Cape Cod in the summer to hone their talents in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The league has a storied history of alumni who went on to the “big show”, among them Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, and Jacoby Ellsbury who currently play in the major leagues.
Many of the fields are within minutes of our Inn and the games are free of charge. I hope to make it to a couple of games this season, if their schedule allows. And if I do, I’ll be thinking about Dad.