We have finally had a full blown beautiful spring weekend here in Middle Tennesssee and it could not have come soon enough. Temps today (Sunday) have been in the 70s and yesterday got close. It's been a little on the windy side but we have had two beautiful days. As I write this, Wife and I are sitting on our back deck. I have just grilled about ten pieces of chicken for us to have this week and Wife is blissfully reading and drifting off from time to time as she does so. Our weeks are busy so to have a few hours on Sunday afternoon to just enjoy the nice weather is a real treat.
This past Thursday was one of my favorite days of the year -- Opening Day of Major League Baseball. As visitors here know, I am a big sports fan, but if I had to give them all up but one, I'd probably choose baseball.
That would be largely for sentimental reasons.
When I was just a little guy, my older brother and I used to listen to St. Louis Cardinals games on the radio. Late at night, when we were supposed to have gone to bed, I would hear the sounds of Harry Caray (yes, he was in St. Louis before Chicago, and I am dating myself) from my brother's bedroom, narrating the plays of Bob Gibson and others, and announcing at the 7th inning stretch that it was time for (another) cold Busch.
My first visit to a Major League park was the Houston Astrodome and I saw them play the Milwaukee Braves (that's right, Milwaukee, before the move to Atlanta -- showing my age again). I became an Astros fan for life and if you know anything about baseball, you know that my causes for celebration have been few and far between. (As I write this, I know they are already 0-2 for the season, having blown a 4-0 7th- inning lead in Philly Friday afternoon and losing to them again yesterday. Haven't even checked today yet).
Most folks I grew up around in Arkansas, including my brother, were Cardinals fans and we visited Busch Stadium in St. Louis with our parents a year or so after we went to Houston. My brother caught a fly ball in batting practice and a foul ball later in the game. I asked him about those balls about a year or so ago and he says his wife gave them to his twin boys (now 33) one day when they were looking for a baseball to play with and he never saw them again. He's still a Cards fan today and I still loyally follow the Astros.
Wife is one of the many Cardinals fans I know. She and I visited St. Louis and Busch Stadium a number of times when we lived in Little Rock. We are even closer now, just a little less then a five-hour drive from Nashville. We're even closer to Cincinnati and Atlanta so we always make at least one game per year at one of these three venues, if not more.
In 2007 I took Younger Son and some of his friends to Spring Training in Florida. We returned the next year with Wife. I believe there's an older blog post about this.
Older Son became an Atlanta Braves fan when he was about six, watching the games on TBS. When he was eight, Wife arranged for him and me to fly to Atlanta and see them in person. I had a buddy with a law firm there who got us tickets right behind home plate. So incredibly fun.
It was at that time that Older Son declared us on a quest to visit every Major League park. Some 17 years later he is more than half-way there and I am not far behind. Wife, Daughter and Younger Son have done pretty well too. I have a feeling FDIL will now become part of the adventure and I could probably talk FDIL's parents into it with not much coercion. Of course a lot of the teams have built new parks in the past decade or so, so we have to add the new stadiums to our list. (We visited Yankee and Shea in New York City in 2008, the last year for each).
I have this vision of the day we visit the last one. There will probably be grandchildren along. It will be way cool.
It really is a grand game.
You still have to come back to Houston because the Astrodome doesn't count! Have to see Minute Maid Park -- so much better and really feels like a classic park.
Ha -- Daniel (older son) and I were there in 2001 when it was Enron!
Yes,Bob, I too am a Cardinal fan. Much to the fact that I remember the Cardinal games being on the radio and in the 80s when I was single and not much keeping me busy, I loved loved loved the Cards and Danny Cox (pitcher) and Ozzie's flips. They made several trips to World Series those days. Maybe Houston will improve as the year goes along. They only have 160 something games to play????
I so agree. We were pretty far north in Minnesota, and the local channels didn't always carry the Twins games. Thus, grew up listening to baseball on the radio with the voice of the Twins, Halsey Hall.
The Rays looked pretty hopeless in the opener, and Longoria is out for 15 days. Sigh.
Loved the history of you and the Astros.
Baseball is so American--even if the Japanese (and I suppose others along with them) have become super fans of the game.
I remember many years ago--don't remember exactly which year, but prior to 1985--where my husband and I took our children to the Astrodome to watch a baseball game.
What cracked us up was that the guy playing the organ--pre-game time--was playing a tune we knew: "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree." We giggled and will never for get that!
Memories of family events are great triggers for warm fuzzies. thanks for reminding me--even though you'll probably be disappointed that I don't remember who the Astro's were playing that day! Love your family memories; and thanks for sharing them. (Looking forward to the future memories you're working on for your expanding family! Happy times!
Hurray for baseball! I have a Tigers game playing in the corner of my computer screen. Shhh...don't tell my boss!
I want good weather...
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