Play Ball

I loved baseball when I was a kid. Whether it was playing on a team, watching the Orioles, collecting cards, or enjoying a game of catch in the backyard – I was in.

My dad played baseball when he was a kid and he taught me the game.

I couldn’t count the number of hours we spent throwing a ball back and forth – even in the house, despite my mom’s objections. To this day, if you throw something to me, I’m going to catch it.

Dad took me Game 4 of the 1993 World Series in Philadelphia. It was a stadium-shaking, back-and-forth rollercoaster with the Blue Jays beating the Phillies 15-14. It was the craziest game I’ve ever been to and set the record for most runs scored in a World Series game at 29.

He also got us tickets for opening night at Camden Yards in 1992. The Orioles’ new stadium was unlike any other design. Beautiful brickwork, giant graceful arches, and asymmetric angles that caught the eye helped to create a ballpark that stood out from the generic monolithic structures of that era. It was new and fresh, while somehow feeling steeped in tradition.

As awe-inspiring as those two experiences were, we had just as much fun going to see our local minor league team, the Harrisburg Senators.

While minor league games didn’t have the big-name stars, the smaller stadium meant that every seat was a great seat. We were so close to the action.

Last night I took Ava to a Round Rock Express game, our local AAA team for the Texas Rangers organization.

Ava’s been getting into sports over the past year, playing both basketball and soccer for her school’s teams. I wasn’t sure if she’d care about baseball, but she was asking questions and following along all night as I explained how the game works.

We also got to see two new innovations in the game – the pitch clock and the Hawk-Eye tracking system used to challenge the umpire’s ball & strike calls.

We had a great time. We got a foul ball and we got to participate in a classic tradition when, toward the end of the game, Ava asked if we could go sit in some empty seats in the front row. Of course we can!

I’m no longer invested in baseball like I was as a kid, but I’m 100% invested in creating memories with Ava and getting to experience what my dad felt when he was doing this stuff with me.

- Matt

PS. Check out Facing Nolan on Netflix. It’s incredible.

Artwork created by Midjourney with the prompt: baseball field, watercolor.

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