When the Mets came to New York in 1962, Dad took my brother and I to at least two Cubs-Mets games per season. But my dad, who hates the Yanks, was fair. He took us to Yankee Stadium for every Cubs-Mets game which we attended. I remember watching the Mets in the Polo Grounds. And my first time at Yankee Stadium. We could walk on the field to cross the stadium before games. I remember looking at the monuments up close when they were still in centerfield.
Three years ago, for the first time since a World Series game in the 1930’s, the Cubs came to Yankee Stadium for three games. My brother, who has an enormous job with all the right connections, got us great seats and free accommodations for the weekend. As an added bonus, in this series Derek Jeter hit his first career grand slam! As fate would have it the Yanks swept the series. My brother was upset and on the way to the final game he said to me, “This is not funny. You don’t win today.” For that split second he was entirely serious. I said, “Do you think I am the reason the Yanks won the first two games? I didn’t even swing a bat!” At which we all cracked up and watched the Yanks beat the Cubs a third time. It was a magical weekend. The three of us hadn’t been to a baseball game together in decades. For those three days we were kids again and all that mattered was a baseball game.
I have four children who were raised on Yankees baseball. My older son Ben is the only one who has the same passion for the game that my Dad, my brother and I share. This is the final season the Yankees will play in the House That Ruth Built. The new stadium is next door and should be excellent, but it will never be the same. When my sister, brother and I went out with my mother for Mother’s Day I asked my brother a question. Could he get Ben and I a pair of tickets to a game? He said yes and asked me to email him dates. We settled on July 18th, a Friday night, which is the first game after the All-Star Break. Yesterday four tickets arrived. The seats are in the box seats near the field near home plate on the first base side. In other words, perfect seats. I called Ben so he could ask his wife to join us. She travels with her job, but fortunately will be in town for that week.
But now I have an extra ticket. Should I bring my new girlfriend? Nope, she has yet to meet me. (Boy, will she be sorry!) I thought of a couple of friends, but then it hit me. There only was one choice. Last night I called Dad. I said, “You took me to my first game at Yankee Stadium. Are you up for the trip as Ben and I say goodbye to The House That Ruth Built?” My Dad did not hesitate. He said, “I am in!” So it all comes around in a circle. When I let Ben know he was thrilled. He just said, “That is perfect!” There is just something about baseball and fathers and sons. I do not recall what film it was, but a character when discussing his relationship with his dad said, “There were so many years we argued about everything. We couldn’t get along. That is until we switched to the subject of baseball. We could always talk baseball.”
I am so thrilled the way this worked out. I cannot wait to go. With fathers and sons it is always about baseball. And for one last time we will sit in the Bronx and celebrate the present and acknowledge the past. Life isn’t very simple. But for one night in July, it will be. Just fathers and sons watching a baseball game. Nothing less, nothing more. And it will be perfect. For just one last time at Yankee Stadium.
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