Happy Father’s Day, Dad

19 Jun

Scene:  Two men talking on a baseball field.  One man, John wears an old-time baseball uniform.  The other, Ray, built this field surrounded by corn.

John Kinsella:  Well good night, Ray.

Ray Kinsella:  Good night John.

(Ray turns and starts to head back to the house but then turns back.)

Ray Kinsella:  Hey…Dad?  (choked up)  You wanna have a catch?

John Kinsella:  I’d like that.  

Credits roll over the two men, father and son, having a catch.

So ends my favorite sports movie of all time,  Field of Dreams.

I love it because it’s about baseball.

I love it because it’s about more than baseball.

I love it because it makes me think of my Dad.

♦          ♦          ♦          ♦          ♦

My Dad worked a lot when my three sisters and I were young.  He left early and often didn’t return until long after we had eaten our dinner.  My Mom would bring his dinner to their bedroom.  He was tired after a long day and we learned to leave him alone.

 That is, until baseball season started.

When the Phillies were playing I’d hop onto their bed and listen to the games with my Dad.  Back then there was no Comcast Sportsnet and only a handful of the Phillies games were televised, but they were all on the radio.  We’d listen to Richie Ashburn, Bill Campbell, By Saam, Andy Musser and later Harry Kalas,  on the AM radio next to my Dad’s bed.  The problems at work could wait until tomorrow.  Now it was time for baseball.

Some of the best memories I have of my Dad are from those days.  Our joint passion for the Phillies was a bond we would always share.  We talked strategy, we cheered every victory, and commiserated over every tough loss.  We listened to so many games that I can still hear the Ballantine Beer  jingle:

“Take a ring and add another ring and add another ring and then you’ve got three rings. 

Ballantine and now it’s premium, it’s a very special brand of beer.”

But that’s not all I remember.

I remember when Larry Bowa first joined the team and Denny Doyle.

I remember the way Harry Kalas used to say “Willie Mon-ta-nez,” rolling that ‘n’ with  gusto.

And I remember Steve Carlton.  Lefty was in his prime in those days and almost every time he pitched he would be the guest on Richie Ashburn’s Star of the Game show.  After listening to Carlton talk my Dad used to do a silly impression of his improbable high-pitched voice which got a laugh from me and my Mom every time.

Now the Phillies may not have been the best team in those days.  They may not have made it to the Playoffs or the World Series.  They may not even have had a winning record.  But in the end that didn’t really matter because they were our team.

And it was during those days of listening to the games with my Dad that my lifelong love of baseball was born.

♦          ♦          ♦          ♦          ♦

I love it because it’s baseball.

I love it because it’s more than baseball.

I love it because it makes me think of my Dad.

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4 Responses to “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”

  1. geetie June 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    He’s kvelling and I’m crying proud happy tears. Thanks.

  2. Fern Zeigler June 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    that one gave me the chills.

  3. Shirley June 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Beautiful memories Sue….left me quietly crying recalling many happy memories….

  4. Lea Dickler June 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

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