Even before my father died on August 10, 2000, there was a scene in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams where the Kevin Costner character is playing catch with his dad – you know, this one – that always got to me. My father and I didn’t play catch that much, but he did take me to minor league games in Binghamton (the Triplets – farm team at various times of the Kansas City A’s, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves) and explained the intricacies of the sport.
As I noted here, the evening before my father died, when he was in a comatose state, “I turned on a baseball game, and explained the action to my father. I think the sound was down, so I was doing a play-by-play for a couple innings. I told him about Jason Giambi, the long-haired player for the Oakland A’s who had ‘graced’ the cover of Sports Illustrated within the previous year.”
So baseball – and music, card playing and football – were shorthand ways for my father and me to deal with each other when other paths were not available.
Here’s a couple pictures that my sister came across only last month of my father as an MP at the end of, and after World War II, either in Texas or somewhere in western Europe, sometime in 1945 or 1946: