For The Love Of The Game And The Moment

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I was that kid.

I was the kid that jumped at the opportunity to not only see my favorite ballplayers, but to actually meet them as well. See, I came to age in the early 90’s, when being a young black kid meant having no shortage of stars that we could relate to. From Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas to Joe Carter, Barry Larkin, Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, Andre Dawson and a host of others. This was a relatable time, and the product of that time is a host of fans of the game. I met several of these greats of the game, in addition to others that weren’t on Mount Olympus such as them, but it was still just as major in my mind at the moment. Because it made the surreal turn real, if only for just a moment. But a moment turned into a lot more over the years.

Coming up in St. Louis, there were Ozzie Smith, Ray Lankford, Bernard Gilkey, Lee Smith, Brian Jordan, Mark Whiten … I mean, the list went on and on. And in many of those cases, I got a chance to have not only that very same moment above, but to actually sit there and ask the best questions I could muster at 9 or 10 years old. What’s bigger is that these giants in my eyes took the time to have those human moments. Along with the countless hours that my father and coaches took with me to show me the game, I developed some great memories, as well as a lifelong passion.

Baseball isn’t dying, but it’s not what it was a generation ago either. It’s a game that’s handed down in an era where less things are. It’s a game that is given from generation to generation, with a passion and patience unlike many others. It’s stoked in the experience of being at a park that seems both much like the one close to your neighborhood, but at the same time nothing like it at all. In the urban community, park life can be scarce, so the opportunity to see the splendor that is a big league ballpark is especially remarkable. It’s an experience that has to remain a special one, the type that a simple 30-second encounter can spark forever — to seek out better and better neighborhoods to play in. Until one day, you look around and see that same type of park around yourself, and a kid that looks an awful lot like you.

That all starts somewhere, at some point along the road of life. Take that time to create this moment.

4 Replies to “For The Love Of The Game And The Moment”

  1. Seeing those names rekindled the reason why I loved baseball so much growing up. I was able to see guys that looked like me do great things, being a tigers fan it was Sweet Lou, Cecil Fielder, Tony Phillips and others that made that trek to old Tiger stadium so memoriable. I wish the youth of today could have experienced the joys that our generation did because they would look at this great game totally different

  2. I know the cliche can sound corny, but you're so right … the game gets passed on from generation to generation and becomes something a little bit more. Then when you get to see and meet players up close and personal — something that is rarer and rarer these days because athletes are so sheltered and image-conscious — it's a thrill.

    I remember meeting Phillies on opening day for Little League, them going all over the area to give kids a glimpse of a real, live major league ballplayer. Those are the memories that stick with you. Baseball really is great that way.

    1. Hey Rev, real life I just saw Pat Burrell yesterday. He's a scout for the Giants now. I wanted to punch him in the face for all of his Phillies years, but I refrained. I did it for you sir. I did it for you.

      1. Two-time World Series Champion Pat Burrell? For the record, Burrell drove me and every Phillies fan alive nuts for most of his career … but he never complained about getting shit on and ultimately earned some respect.

        And yo, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be out in San Fran in 2 months. 90 percent. I'll let you know.

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