“You wanna go see the Twins take on the Bash Brothers tonight?” It was my older brother leaning on the fence at my friend Tom’s house while I sat on the roof of Tom’s garage nailing down new shingles. I was 13 or 14 years old, the Minnesota Twins weren’t much good, but the Bash Brothers (Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco of the Oakland A’s) were in town? I was there. I think McGwire even homered that night.
Elliot Park was a one-block city park down the street from where I lived in Minneapolis, and it had a small dirt patch of a baseball diamond where I learned to play. It stood just a block away from the Metrodome, the home of the Twins. My dad hit me grounders and pitched batting practice to me there, and my first Little League team played there. We didn’t win much, but it was home.
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My daughters were 7 and 4 when they saw their first game. They couldn’t have been more excited to see the Kane County Cougars, a minor league team in Geneva, Ill., play ball. Actually they were excited for cotton candy and Ozzie the Cougar mascot, but Grace, the older one, did ask a couple questions about the game. Since then their excitement about going to games has grown and grown
Baseball season officially opens this weekend. Spring has sprung; winter has broken. This year, though, it means something new to me. It means every anecdote I just shared and dozens, perhaps hundreds, more. It means memories—not just mine but those of my children. My daughters are the age now that I was when I first fell in love with baseball. They now come to me and say, “Dad, is there baseball on we can watch with you?” And, “When are we going to a game again?” They don’t even really understand the game yet, but they love it because I love it and they love me.
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