Our first guest posts for our #Blogathon comes to us from R. Lincoln Harris of The Blue Batting Helmet blog.
By R. Lincoln Harris, www.bluebattinghelmet.wordpress.com
I grew up in a world where baseball stats were printed in the paper on Sunday, but otherwise weren’t readily available. Joe Garagiola and the Saturday Game of the Week was a big deal, because baseball wasn’t televised very much. And fantasy baseball? Fuhgettaboutit!
Baseball in the 1970s was a far cry from what it is today. But that’s when I was a kid, and if baseball doesn’t get into your soul when you’re a kid, it probably won’t ever come in at all. There’s time to pick up other activities and interests in life, but baseball needs to get in while you’re very young. And for me, a 1975 double-header in St. Louis is what did the trick.
My father made the 95-mile drive from our home outside of Springfield, Illinois to the old Busch Stadium, and he took me along. For the seven-year old that I was, St. Louis was an exotic place far, far away. This was my entrée into the wider world, and I loved it. The sights and the smells and the bustle of the ballpark were overwhelming to me. Football, basketball, and every other sport were introduced to me at other times, and in other ways, but this trip to the ballpark was one that I’ll never forget.
I watched Tom Seaver pitch, and Lou Brock steal second base. I watched Al Hrabosky do his crazy walking around on the mound, and then slamming the ball into his mitt for motivation shtick. I ate peanuts for the first time in my life. It happened almost 40 years ago, in a stadium that no longer exists, but it still feels like it was only yesterday.
I’ve seen and done so many things since then. I’ve been to major league games, minor league games, and little league games. But nothing ever has, or ever could, be more meaningful than that first time I saw a game in St. Louis. My dad introduced me to the game at just the right moment, and for that I’ll be forever grateful to him.