Passing The Torch: Part II

Passing The Torch: Part II

April 26, 2024 0 By Dan Freedman

I have written here and elsewhere – as recently as a few weeks ago – about the family aspect of my baseball fandom. My grandfather passed along his love of the game and the Red Sox to my father, who bequeathed it to me; I, in turn, gave it to my son. Four generations, more than a hundred years. Mission accomplished. For us, it is a family affair.

But a few weeks ago, I was asked the following question: “Dad, can we go to a baseball game?” My son is currently living in Washington, D.C., so it was not him asking. Rather, it was my nearly 18-year-old daughter; she wanted to go to a game. Here we had the epic battle of nature vs. nurture, and I didn’t care who won. 

All those years of being dragged to her brother’s Little League games; or being dragged by her father to Spring Training and regular season MLB games; or having the family room television co-opted by Sunday Night Baseball or the World Series; or all those long debates with friends and grandparents while she was held captive at the dinner table; had rubbed off and rubbed in. She is now a baseball fan. Now, let’s not get carried away, she doesn’t have a FanGraphs subscription, and she certainly doesn’t read all of my baseball writing, but she does check the scores and knows which teams have won on a given day.

And, to be fair, TikTok also gets a hat tip. It is through that infernal social media platform that she learned of the Savannah Bananas, who are, in many/most respects, a baseball team. The entry point is not important; her love of the game is what matters. So, a couple of weeks ago, she put on her Fenway Park T-shirt and her Boston sweatshirt, and drove down with me to Angel Stadium to see our beloved Red Sox take on the hometown club. I was on the field prior to the game to get an interview, but there she was standing right behind the dugout, taking in batting practice and marveling at the scene in front of her. And – like her brother – she requested that I get her a ball. (Narrator: He got her a ball.)

We found our seats and enjoyed the hell out of the game on a chilly night in Orange County. Her favorite part of the game is the seventh-inning stretch, so we were sure to stand for God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame. We saw a back-and-forth contest, a grand slam (which was just one of six home runs), a season-ending injury, and another Kenley Jansen save in a Red Sox victory.

Showing her appreciation for greatness

My daughter is about to graduate high school and head off to college. I know days and nights like this are fleeting. I know that we cannot stop time, as it marches on for all of us. But I also know that bonds formed early, and reinforced often, are hard to break. The bonds I have with my daughter run deeper than just baseball, but it does bring joy to my heart knowing that my game, my family’s game, and now her game, are part of the stew.

The writer’s girls at his happy place

Somewhere around the eighth inning, a thought popped into my daughter’s head. And with this thought, I knew I had done my job as a baseball dad. She looked at me and asked, “Now that I am going to go to school in Colorado, do I have to become a Rockies fan?!” I smiled and told her that it was a fair question, but that under no uncertain terms is that required or even advisable. But, I did add that Coors Field is a great place to see a game, so any chance she has to go, she should. 

I have no doubt that at some point in the not-so-distant future, she and I will be sitting in the Denver sun on a beautiful spring day, enjoying one of the 27 draft beers on offer, and laughing at the product the Rockies have put on the field (and wondering what happened to poor Kris Bryant). And in that moment, I will be happy, proud, and, as a baseball dad, perfectly content.