In the summer of 1990, my father took me to my first Yankee game when I was 7 years old. At that point, the Yankees were in the middle of a horrific playoff drought. My reaction when entering the stadium for the first time what that the place was ENORMOUS, but mostly empty. The smell of the hot dogs, the cracker jacks, the beer, the burgers… it all blended together to give off the most perfect aroma. Somehow, my father scored the best seats anyone could have at Yankee Stadium. They weren’t in the luxury boxes, or behind the dugout, the seats were literally in the 1st row, right next to the Yankees dugout. I said hi to Don Mattingly and Jesse Barfield, and somehow, my father was able to grab a baseball for me. We were so close to home plate that if I fell onto the field, I would be in the batters box. Mind you, I have been to at least at least a hundred Yankees games in my lifetime, and have experienced some phenomenal baseball games (Jeter’s 3000th hit and the Jeter “dive” game), but this particular game was by far the most important because it was at this time, that my father and I had our first real bonding experience with a baseball team that I have come to love.
While my father and I have had our ups and downs (just like any normal father-son/daughter relationship), there was one thing that we always agreed on… and that was the New York Yankees. Through the numerous arguments about who was the best player to ever wear the pinstripes, to whether or not the 1998 Yankees were the best team in franchise history, we both knew that baseball was our passion. Throughout my baseball career, my father and I spent hours upon hours throwing the baseball out in the street, to fine tuning my swing with thousands of soft toss ABs in the backyard. While we would argue numerous times about where I should place my hands, to how I position my feet on the infield, I always knew at the end of the day that my father loved me regardless and wanted me to be the best that I could be. I have numerous stories I could tell you about my dad in my baseball life, but the one I always keep going back to is the fact that I could go 4-5 in a game, with 2 doubles, 3 RBI’s (including a game winning RBI), and the first thing my dad would say on the car ride home is: “Why weren’t you 5-for-5? You took a first pitch strike in the one at-bat you got out. You should’ve driven that ball right up the middle!”
I would like to wish all the father’s out there a very Happy Father’s Day!!! Thank you for all you have done for us and Go Yankees!!