Sometimes when I walk by my dad sitting on the couch watching TV, I wish he had the game on.
Or maybe more accurately, I wish he called in to me from the other room and asked me if I was going to watch the World Series with him.
Its a strange position to be in. I mean, my dad is who originally got me into baseball when I was 5.
It was a sunny afternoon in 1985, the Mets were taking on the Cubs, and I was sitting in the upper deck “red seats” at Shea Stadium as airplanes roared overhead.
He could have taken me to a movie. He could have taken me to the local park and pushed me on the swings. But he decided to take me to a baseball game at the age of 5 and that decision has shaped many aspects of my life ever since.
Not only did that $9 ticket and hot dog experience give me an amazing baseball team to root for over all these years in the Mets, but it gave me something I thought would be a common connection between me and my dad.
But that connection isn’t here in 2009 and I don’t know why.
That’s not to say my dad and I don’t discuss baseball. I’ve given him World Series updates throughout the Fall Classic and Mets injury updates throughout the 2009 season. But that’s not the same as experiencing the ups and downs of a game and bonding over trade rumors and the latest stats.
I don’t really take all of this personally — my dad really doesn’t follow any sports these days. And maybe he never really did. Instead, maybe that day in the mid-80’s wasn’t a vote for baseball, but rather a vote for father-son bonding. I don’t really know, but the effect it had on me is evident in the license plate frame on my car and the multi-pack of Mets tickets I buy and use each season and the drive to visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame, which I finally accomplished with Melissa at the beginning of October.
It made me a diehard Mets fan — I bleed orange and blue — and I just don’t understand why my dad doesn’t also.
Its not like we don’t have things that we bond over. We can talk Obama and politics like nobodies business. Or bring up a sociological principle evident in today’s society and we’re off running, often talking for hours. Bring up the economy and the pros and cons of the death tax, the rise and the fall of the stock market, and the strength of the dollar are sure to follow. And there are other things we both seem to “get” enough to discuss.
Its just that none of these things are baseball. None of them involve rooting on a team through a 162 game season. None of them involve believing in something so much that not making the playoffs makes you cry.
I know other people’s fathers watch every baseball game they can, the big game every Sunday, and any other assortment of sports events that come along. They curse at the television, throw back a couple beers, and quote baseball history like the gospel.
So yeah, sometimes I wish my dad had the game on.
But maybe, just maybe, our shared baseball experience almost 25 years ago was supposed to be only an example of how much my dad loves me.
And baseball is supposed to be a gift I share and enjoy with others in my life to show them how much I love them. Hey, I like the sound of that.
It sure could have been worse though… he could have taken me to a *gasp* Yankees game all those years ago.