For the Love of the Game

By: Dennis Diggins

Like many young boys, baseball was the first thing I remember doing with my Dad. Watching on television, throwing the ball around in the backyard and all the Little League games and practices. The most magical moment was going to my first Major League game. It was 1987, Mark McGwire’s rookie season, and the last game before the All-Star break. Well, Big Mac hit a homer, the A’s won and I checked the first Major League ballpark off my list. I decided right then and there I was going to become a professional baseball player.

As it turned out, I wasn’t exactly the best ballplayer, but I still loved the game. As a young boy I attended the 1988 World Series, in Oakland, and it was the only game the A’s won. Mark McGwire hit a dinger into the right field stands.

Dad said, “seeing a World Series was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” but then we went again! It was The 1989 Bay Bridge World Series, with my two favorite teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. It was Game 2, in Oakland, right before the the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Henderson, Lansford, Canseco and McGwire beat Clark, Mitchell and Williams.

Dad and I attended the last game the Giants played at Candlestick which was the last game of the season. The Giants lost to the Dodgers but after the game 60 former Giants made an appearance. Willie Mays pulled up home plate and gave it to the CHP, who took it to be planted at the new AT&T Ballpark.

In addition to the Coliseum in Oakland, Candlestick, and AT&T/PacBell (or whatever they call now), we’ve seen games in Anaheim, White Sox Stadium (the former New Comiskey, now Guaranteed Rate Field), Wrigley and Fenway.

We still try to see as many ball games as we can together, but life makes it difficult to go often, especially since we live in different states now . Thankfully my dad and I have come up with a solution - A Father/Son trip to a Major League ballpark. If we can’t see a game, we will take a tour.

So far, we have done three tours, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and the new Yankee Stadium. Wrigley and Fenway were both excellent tours, because the guides gave us all the inside history. Due to the Yankee’s impressive past I was very much looking forward to the Yankee Stadium tour, however, this was my least favorite. We saw Yankee historic artifacts but the guides (who were more like ushers or security) provided no stories or explanation. We had about 15 minutes to visit the “Monument Park”. In the Wrigley tour, we visited the locker room. All three tours allowed us in the dugout - very cool! Wrigley and Fenway also let us onto a limited part of the field.

I never reached my childhood dream of being a major leaguer but I’m still in love with the game and with the Father/Son baseball stadium trips I take with my dad.

Seattle, Denver or Houston next, Dad?

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