My earliest World Series memory is of the 1980 contest between the Philadelphia Phillies, who knocked out Bill Virdon’s Houston Astros, and the Kansas City Royals. My family was living in Lee’s Summit and my parents had tickets to Game 3. I don’t remember who my babysitter was, but I do remember my babysitter having the game on the TV. I distinctly remember trying to find my parents on the TV during crowd shots. That game was the very first World Series game in which the Royals were victorious. A game in which George Brett hit a home run, Pete Rose got an RBI, and Dan Quisenberry got the win when Willie Aikens drove in Willie Wilson in the bottom of the 10th inning. It occurred on the date that is now my youngest daughter’s birthday.
Tonight is the first game of the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers and I’m celebrating by playing catch and raising money for Pitch In For Baseball, a nonprofit organization that sends baseball equipment around the globe so kids can play this greatest game. I’ll be at CY Sports Center (2180 N. Fox Hollow Dr.) at 6:30 where, for $10, you can come and watch the game on one of the screens and eat some food from Pasta Express (while it lasts) or for $20, you can enter your name in various raffle prizes which will be drawn throughout the night.
I really have no idea what to expect, but am hoping to play a quick game of catch with someone every inning, updating the blog with a picture and short story while the game is being played.
Let’s see what happens.
Pre-game catch with Chandler and Rance, answering one question: What is your earliest World Series memory?
Rance said, “The 1990 World Series and Reds verses A’s and watching the games with my dad, living just outside of Tulsa.” Thus, he wore a Drillers shirt and is cheering for the Dodgers. He later informed me of the MiLB fantasy league contest he won that earned him 3 Drillers’ t-shirts and the hat he word back in February.
Chandler remembers the Tigers and Cardinals in the 2006 World Series — Eckstein, Molina, and Wainwright. Cheering for the Red Sox to win, Chandler dreads that the Dodgers might get the W.
Dad says he hasn’t thrown a ball since The Field of Dreams. Using his old Wilson mitt from either 1969 or 1970 that had to be re-strung earlier this year, his earliest World Series memory is Don Larson’s perfect game in 1956.
While we played catch, Boston scored the first run.
Seth grew up in Rogersville, playing shortstop for Coach Lotz. He now works in the Dodgers organization as the first base and hitting coach for the Great Lakes Loons, the Low-A team. He’ll be heading to the World Series on Friday and is predicting the Dodgers in seven.
At first, I thought Seth was teasing me. I know that I’m in the upper tier of most gullible people on the planet. As he told me his stories, I found myself in awe. I was playing catch with someone directly associated with one of the teams playing on the TV. I can’t wait to hear his stories when he gets back to town.
After Seth left, no one else came by CY Sports, which didn’t completely surprise me. Rance, Chandler, and I practiced turning two in the open field until Ryan issued an invitation, “Who wants to take some swings against the pitching machine?”
We all agreed and Ryan cranked up the machine. Rance and Chandler hit hard line drives, making solid contact swing after swing. I mostly embarrassed myself trying to hit curveballs.
We did not raise thousands upon thousands of dollars, but we had a good time sharing stories, playing catch, and I even made a new friend.
What a great game, baseball is.