Where did I first fall in love with baseball? When?
I couldn’t tell you on the “when,” other than “as long as I can remember.” My father was president of the local Little League when I was a small child, and I think there’s a picture of me with my then-baby brother at the field.
That field is as close to a “where” as I can come with, unless you count the small patch of grass in front of my parents’ house in upstate New York. We couldn’t actually play there — that was either for a friend’s house, behind the local fire department or behind the house once my father cleared the weeds — but it was in front of the house where I always bugged my father to play catch.
I don’t have my very first glove, but I still have one that’s more than 30 years old.
I spent a lot of my childhood at the Little League field — actually two fields, one in front and one in back. From the ages of 8 to 15, I was there at least two or three nights every week, either for my games and practices or my brother’s.
Win or lose, we got sodas afterward, on the good nights two, or slushes after they installed a machine. The best day was when the minor league teams would play an inning each, with every player batting, followed by the major league teams playing a full game. It was an all-day party at the park.
My “bachelor party” was at a minor league ballpark in Colonie, New York, because we could, and because I wanted to. I wish it was still there.
As an adult, I’ve been to games in New York (old and new Yankee Stadium), Boston, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Chicago needs to happen this year.
I’m not sure I could remember all the minor league ballparks I’ve been to, although I have to get back to Portland one of these days.
A new season is about to start. I’ll be there, because baseball always has been.