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The Flyby - Father’s Day Forever

We had two great stories come up this FanPost Friday, read up and give kudos where kudos are due.

San Francisco Giants v Boston Red Sox
Eleven years ago, Wakefield pitched to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s probable someone had a story but it didn’t get told. Never too late to share your stories.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This weekend, I asked you to reminisce about your favorite Father’s Day memories, or just memories about your fathers in general as they relate to baseball. We had two great responses I want to get to. Also, I write something, I guess.

Father’s Day that Never Ended - broncomack

What they said - Broncomack and his dad traveled 20,000 miles in two months to do what the rest of us can only dream of doing, witness every park in the major leagues. They started on Father’s Day, and for two months, it was like a never-ending Father’s Day. His favorite park (despite not being a Red Sox fan) is Fenway Park, and they have a video of their visit. They also have a very official-looking letter that’s a neat read. The fans made the park special. Part of the reason for the trip was his father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease.

I’d also like to note they made a documentary of the whole experience, titled “Boys of Summer”. I can’t vouch for the documentary, having not had a chance to watch it myself, but as a project it definitely sounds intriguing.

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
Yes, those 2004 Red Sox.
Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

Traveling 20,000 miles in two months sounds like an arduous task to me. I just finished traveling only 4,000 or so in the past month as I’ve finished the process of moving from southern California to Massachusetts, with a brief stop in Washington, DC. I’m absolutely beat, and that’s after only one-fifth of the mileage in half the time. By my count, they traveled with something like 250% efficiency. I imagine they were totally beat after the trip.

Traveling to every ballpark is a worthy goal for all fans of the game, and something I personally hope to do in the future. I’ve only been to two parks (soon, a third!) in the majors, but there’s such a difference in culture from park to park that I can’t begin to fathom how many different experiences Broncomack and his father went through.

A Father’s Gift - Rick Bentsen

What they said - When Rick was the wee old age of eight, his father pulled him aside and uttered the words that everyone learns sooner or later: “baseball, it’ll break your heart”. Up to this point, Rick hadn’t gotten to spend as much time with his father as he’d have liked. Baseball brought them together. Heartbreak after heartbreak, from ‘84 on, a love was formed anew each time. I won’t spoil the story, because it’s a treasure, but it’s an absolute must-read for anyone, which is why it was featured on the main page over the weekend.

Again, I do not want to spoil anything from his story, so I’m going to keep my response here brief.

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world. It’s great at helping form relationships. It’s great at improving relationships. In very few walks of life do I see fans of bitter rivals able to have a civil conversation and just enjoy what they came to watch. Baseball’s power is not to be understated.

Read Rick’s post, please.

I don’t really have a Father’s Day memory of note here, but I feel obligated to share something myself, since this time of year, I long for the connections that I never really had. My father wasn’t in my life. Not by his choice, but there’s a lot of things we can’t control, no matter how badly we want to control it.

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Let’s lighten the mood with a picture of Xander crossing home plate. I like that idea a lot.
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

I had a step-father, sure, but the less said about him, the better. Anyone who knows me really well, and I figure there are a few of you out there, know exactly why that is.

The significance of Father’s Day, as a result sometimes, is a bit lost on me. I understand it’s a day for which we celebrate our fathers, whether biological or adoptive, and figures in our lives who resemble fathers, but beyond that, I lacked much in the way of understanding. Lacked, being past-tense.

In the past few years, while I’ve been in California, my mother found a new man in her life who treats her well, somebody who I am happy to share a beer with, somebody I can bond with over trivial things. He’s in his late 60’s, but despite that, he’s healthier and happier than most people my own age (for the record, I’m 25). The last few years he ran in an annual race of mine that’s near and dear to my heart, and takes place close to Father’s Day each year. In a way, it had become our tradition.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
If “M” beats me again next year, I might have no choice but to call him Billy Hamilton. I hope he understands the reference.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

He would run a 5k, and I would run the 10k. Because I’m 25, and he’s almost three times my age, it would not be fair for me to run the same distance as him. It just wouldn’t be a fair contest, considering he’d never run much at all before he met me (and I at least competed in college). We make a bet every year. And every year, he beats me, if only barely. Despite my competitive nature, however, I enjoy every minute interaction in the lead-up. We trash talk each other, we give each other the business (more on that later), and then we have a beer, and just relax.

While neither my biological father or step-father could obviously crack a beer with me (my biological father died a few years ago, and my step-father was out of my life when I turned 18), it’s less about the alcohol, and more about the familiarity. This man has already been more of a father than the person who is responsible for half of my genetic code, and more of a man than the person who was responsible for so much of my anguish growing up.

How does any of this relate to baseball in the slightest, you may be asking. Well, it’s got to do with the “business” I spoke of earlier, when it came to trash-talk. We don’t just mess with each other when it comes to our annual event. He’s a Yankees fan. I’m a Red Sox fan. You probably connected all the dots just now.

Despite the fact he cheers for the enemy, I have the utmost respect for somebody who has made my mom as happy as she appears to be. Having grown up living with my mother, I saw first-hand how her happiness fluctuated throughout the years. I know what a struggle the past 20 or so years have been for her. But now, she seems happy. I don’t consider myself a momma’s boy, or anything close to the sort, but I do think I have an answer for what Father’s Day is to me.

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Hey, go Sox.
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

To me, Father’s Day is the day where I can celebrate the man who makes my mother happy. The man who has never insisted I call him father, the man who has no blood ties to me, whatsoever. And yes, the man who is a fan of those stupid Yankees.

Happy Father’s Day, “M”. I hope that this mini-card of sorts can make up for me being unable to make it to the race this year. Next year, I’m totally going to get you though. And then we’ll have a beer.