The Bonds of Baseball

A few years ago Marc Fisher, of the Washington Post wrote, “Baseball has lived for the better part of a century on its unchanging character, its role as a bond between generations, its identity as a quintessentially American game that features a one-on-one face-off of individual skills tucked inside a team sport.” For almost 120 years baseball has been dubbed the “national pastime.” 

Children still take to Little League fields every spring, some on pace for the college scholarships and others are content to stand in right field picking dandelions and looking at airplanes fly overhead. The song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is still as well known as any on the radio and writers and directors have used baseball to tell amazing stories like, The Natural, Bang the Drum Slowly, Shoeless Joe (the basis of Field of Dreams) and The Sandlot.

This is a game that has stood the test of time. A game that to this day has not succumbed to the fast paced mentality that other sports thrive upon (at least not totally). Baseball is and will always be a game handed down through the generations. From father to son and son to grandson, baseball will always in and of itself stand for family and transition. In an ever changing society there has always been one constant in life… baseball

Baseball belongs to me. It belongs to my grandfather and to my sons. The memories can never and will never fade. The thought of my grandfather standing across from me on the other side of a sprawling, beautiful manicured lawn plays over and over in my head like an old silent movie. It’s as vivid as is it were yesterday. Shopping for my first “real” baseball glove. Watching him intently as he showed me how to break it in. Oil it, tuck a ball inside just right and wrap it up with twine. I still have that glove. It smells like days past, like Charles Place, like a younger version of my grandfather when he was still able to move without pain to show me how to field a ground ball like the Scooter… it smells like baseball.

Baseball is a form of communication in and of itself and I don’t mean the language of the game or the intricacies of how someone might describe the perfect swing of Teddy Ballgame or Junior. It’s a silent language that doesn’t need to be spoken because it’s the silence of the game that speaks volumes. I sat at my grandfather’s feet as he relaxed in his chair. We barely spoke during innings. We watched, and he inserted stories of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. It was like I was there. Most people my age never saw Gehrig or Berra play… but I did. Through my grandfather’s words I saw Murder’s Row torment pitchers and watched Maris and Mantle chase Ruth.

No one can ever take that from me. No one can ever tell me those things didn’t happen. They are history, they are symbolic to me. The sound of a baseball snapping as it hits your glove. Feeling the vibrations that ring through your hands and arms as your bat makes connection with your favorite pitch (low and inside- something I could pull).

Practicing robbing home runs in front of Pop’s shrubs led me to firmly believe I would be the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees when I grew up… (damn you Derek Jeter).

Regardless of whatever happened to my dreams of becoming an all-star infielder, I’ll never really know… but what I do know is that soon the name Fragola will again be running out of a dugout and taking his rightful place on a baseball diamond.  Jackson starting t-ball is about the single most exciting thing I have been looking forward to as a parent!

Buying his first baseball glove and then a father and son’s first time ever playing catch. (Yes I cried a little in the sporting good store).

Playing catch with my son is more than father – son bonding time. It is a family heirloom that gets passed down from generation to generation. One that I look forward to sharing with boys of my sons. It’s also an an opportunity for me to share my passion for the game and share stories of players like Rickey Henderson, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr as my grandfather did for me with the best players of his time. And I look forward to being able to tell my sons about the old days when packs of baseball cards were only a few dollars and rookie cards were all the rage.

Super proud dad moment. The first time your son wants to go through his baseball cards on his own… thanks @Topps for keeping the family tradition alive. #BaseballCards #Topps

Soon I’ll just be a dad in the stands or maybe one day even a coach in the dugout. But for now I’m content passing on the love for the game to both my sons, one of whom has finally begun his amazing story as a baseball player.

PS: ThrowBack to ’86: I wasn’t much of a power hitter in case you couldn’t tell from those scrawny arms… but man could I lay down a perfect bunt.

RE2PECT  2️⃣

It’s supposed to be cloudy and pour all day… but on the seventh day God called the Bronx’ Native Son home to the Stadium he built to retire his number forever… and the Heavens parted. RE2PECT 🌞 2️⃣

Growing up my grandfather talked about how indescribable it was watching Mantle and DiMaggio play. The aura that they exuded was legendary and defined a generation. To us, to me… Derek Jeter is that generation defining player. He is and always will be the greatest Yankee I’ve ever seen play. I just hope Jax and ni Oliver can watch someone they can call an iconic Yankee too. I love this picture and was stoked to get a shot of us two with Jeets in the background. #NYY #DerekJeter #RE2PECT

Today everyone is cheering for: 

DEREK JETER 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 DEREK JETER 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 DEREK JETER 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 

https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2014/09/24/the-house-that-jeter-built/

A Day at the Zoo

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Polar bears look cute as hell from 200 yards away!

It is amazing to think Jackson is walking on the same walkways and seeing some of the same animals I saw when I was a little boy.  The Bronx Zoo was always such a place of wonder for me and my family.  I know we were really excited to introduce Jax to such a magnificent place.  (Add in that Jax hero Peppa Pig was going to be making an exclusive appearance as part of the reopening of The Bronx Zoo Chldren’s Zoo and you have the event of the lifetime.)

The experience was nothing short of epic… the car ride itself was an adventure for the ages, including making two pit stops within ten minutes of leaving the house… Our third stop a half an hour later resulted in Jax’ bottle spilling four out of the seven ounces of milk it contained… already off to a successful start!

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At least we had an interesting time once we got there.  Tailgating at the zoo?

The trip consisted of walking 400 miles… trying to read a map (the key word being “TRYING”), it also consisted of realizing that this is exactly how I want to spend my Saturdays… with my family.

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Overall we were able to visit so many different exhibits and really experience so many different things.  Jax was interested in the different animals, he loved the rhinoceros (or the rhinosaurus, the dinosaur, as Steph thought it was called).  He wanted to jump in and crawl around with the prairie dogs, he wanted to pet a polar bear and he most definitely wanted to fight a llama.

Here’s  where things got sketchy.  Here is where mom and dad and auntie about lost their minds.

Have you ever wondered what it looks like when an alpaca comes at you 100 MPH?  Well wonder no more… call that #ClickBait… call it creative marketing… call it whatever you want… but either way… i just hooked you.  I just did you a favor.  I absolutely got your juices flowing.  Now you know how Jax felt.

The adrenaline brought on by a wild animal who is about to swallow you whole will allow you to run a marathon or lift a car off of a pinned down puppy.  He was in panic mode.  Needless to say he was not a fan of this guy:

Baby Vs. Llama

Baby Vs. Llama

Jax learned a lot during this trip to the zoo.  The most important… you can’t domesticate an undomesticated monster like a llama. I know we were in the children’s zoo and this was the part of the zoo where touching the animals was encouraged… but I’m pretty sure there’s signs every five feet at every zoo that warn you about these dangerous creatures you are about to interact with.  Now Jax knows why.

Llamas don’t like when people try to get all up in their business.  They probably don’t like being caged up and used for people’s amusement.  They want to be out in the wild doing llama things… hooking up with llama chicks and going to llama parties.  Instead they sit in captivity all day long while moms and dads force their kids to smile and pet their noses and feed them that crappy .25 cent food from the gumball machine thing.  Seeing a damn camera being whipped out only reminds them that they are just caged up and stuck forever.

This is how the zoo ended… with mommy and auntie screaming.

“Annnnnd that’s the zoo, kids.  Let’s go home because mom and Auntie Tricia need a change of underwear.”

A Ten Month Old’s Response to ARod’s Apology

Alex’s letter to fans:

B-ELIoLCYAEYvbr

Alex Rodriguez apologize to Yankee fans yesterday.  Being a huge Yankee fan, I decided to read the letter to my son.  Below is the letter he wrote in response to ARod:

Dear Mr. Arod,

Hello, I am just a little kid, but I wanted to tell you that I read your letter.  Well, actually just to be honest, because lying is wrong (hahaha) I didn’t read it, my dad read it to me.  I think you were trying to say sorry about doing bad things.  It is really good to say you’re sorry when you do bad things.  Sorry is what my dad says to my mom all the time when he says dumb things.

I don’t really know what a steroid is.  But my dad says you have to use a needle and I.DO.NOT.LIKE.NEEDLES!  One time at the doctor’s office I had to get this stupid shot so I wouldn’t get something called measles, rumps and mubellas and I hated it.  I cried and cried and even kicked the doctor when I saw the needle.  So, I’m not sure why people would say you took a shot yourself. I hope you didn’t cry, well actually if you cried that might be a good thing.  Mom and dad call that a natural consequence.    

I want to ask you a question though. In your letter you say sorry.  I learned that saying sorry means you made a mistake and won’t do it again, or again, or again.  I hope that your sorry means that you are going to just play baseball and hit a lot of homeruns.

I love the Yankees because… because… well, I’m only ten months old, I don’t even know any other teams.  I want the Yankees to win a lot of games and win the World Series so that my dad is happy and buys me a lot of cool Yankees onesies and stuff.  If you can help them win then I know my family is happy to have you back on the team. 

Good luck this year.

Remember no needles and no strikes outs!

From,

Jackson

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