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There Is Crying In Baseball
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Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is one of my all time favorite movies and that line spoken by Tom Hanks character is one of my alltime favorite lines. But in recent years I have found one thing wrong with it...it just isn't true because, as I've discovered, there is crying in baseball and it's more than okay. I went to my first major league baseball game when I was five years old and I'm told that I saw Mickey Mantle hit a homerun. I vaguely remember going to a baseball game in Kansas City. I remember asking which one was Mickey Mantle. But, everything else is a distant memory. It would twelve years before I would ever see another Major League game. And that was when I finally fell in love with the game.

Now, my Dad? He fell in love with it many years earlier when he was walking with a couple of his buddies to school in a small town in Western Missouri. One of his friends told him, "We're not going to school today". "Why not?", my Dad asked. "We're going to go listen to The World Series on the radio." My Dad replied, "Then I'm going with you". It was 1932, my Dad was eleven years old. The World Series was between The St Louis Cardinals and The Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals (aka "The Gas house Gang") upset Detroit to win the series. On that day my father found what would become one of the loves of his life (behind faith, family, & country). He became one of the biggest baseball fans ever, especially one of the biggest St Louis Cardinal fans ever. Til the day he died he could name every single player on both teams from that World Series. Interestingly enough, in the early 50s, Paul Dean of that Cardinal team managed the minor league team in our little hometown in New Mexico (Clovis Pioneers) and his brother Dizzy was a regular visitor to that small ballpark.

I think Dad would have loved it if I had become a baseball player. I probably would have except I was lacking in certain skills. I could do everything except throw, catch, run, or hit the ball. I didn't even make the cut when it came time to tryout for little league. But Dad was proud of me anyway. I had some great memories of just playing catch with Dad out in the front yard. My brother found a couple of used baseball gloves somewhere and even though I wasn't very good at it, I wore my ball glove everywhere. To this day I wonder whatever happened to it.

In 1969 I really fell in love with the game. I started watching it on TV with my Dad and in June of that year we took the train to Kansas City to watch the new expansion team, the Kansas City Royals play The Oakland A's. That year I became a fan of The Royals and The New York Mets. No idea why I chose The Mets, but my timing was good. That was the year they lost last place and went on to become World Champs.

Years went by and although I still was a fan, my love for the game began to wain. I moved to Dallas and after many years my loyalties switched and I became a fan of The Texas Rangers. The last game that I ever saw live with my Mom & Dad was in 1996 at The Ballpark in Arlington. Ironically it was against The Royals. Although still a fan of that team, they were playing My Texas Rangers and I had to go for The Rangers. I still remember where the three of us sat. I'll get back to that shortly.

In July of 2008, my Mom passed away. She was the love of Dad's life. Dad would follow her within four months. I like to think that he just had to make it through one more baseball season before he left. Everytime that I would make it up to Midland, Texas to visit him at the nursing home, he had to have a ballgame on...especially if it was a Cardinals game. Shortly after the season ended, the season of my Dad's life was to follow. On November 22nd of that year, my Dad passed away. Baseball had lost one of it's biggest fans.

It was after this that I discovered how false the phrase, "There's no crying in baseball" was. Suddenly, it was more than just another game, more than just another sport. Baseball became a special way for me to celebrate my Dad's life, it actually became a way for me to just celebrate life itself.

On opening day of 2009, I was listening to The Rangers play The Indians on the radio. I started thinking about my dad and then it happened, my eyes began to tear up. And that was when I began to realize the fallacy ofthe "No crying in baseball phrase". I started going back to the ballpark and I developed a tradition of stopping by and touching the seats that my Mom, Dad, and I sat in back in the summer of 1996. And then I would head up to my seat for the game. I do that every game now.

Like I mentioned before, my Dad was a huge St Louis Cardinal fan. Sadly he never saw them play in person. So, the summer after his death I decided to honor his memory by taking a train to St Louis (he had been a railroader) and watch his beloved Cardinals. I arrived on a Monday when there was no game scheduled. I decided to take a tour of Busch Stadium. Someone there asked if I was going to the game the next night. I told them that I was there for the whole series against Milwaukee. I then told them about my Dad and tears filled my eyes. The person who asked me was an employee of the stadium and asked where I was sitting. I told him that I was in the nosebleed section. He told me to find him when I got inside the stadium and that he would move me to a lower level. And he did for the whole three game series.

In the top of the first inning, The Brewers went ahead of The Cards by four runs. In the fourth inning Albert Pujols hit a blast over the left field wall before the Cards scored three more to tie it up. Milwaukee came back to regain the lead a couple of innings later. Then in the eighth The Cards took the lead for good on a Matt Halliday three run homer. An usher ran up to me and said, "See, I told you they would come back and win". I said to her, "I know, I just wish I could call my Dad and tell him about it." And then the dam broke and the tears fell down my face. Yep, there is crying in baseball.

The following season was very special to me as a Texas Ranger fan. For the first time in history My Rangers made it to The World Series. It was a very emotional ride for me and, I'm sure, all Texas Ranger fans. And I felt like my Dad was there pulling for them with me. I just wished that I could have called him during that great run to the playoffs and the Fall Classic. I wish that I could have called him and talked about it. I remember the glorious moment when Naftali Feliz struck out A-Rod and the announcer said, "The Rangers are going to The World Series". My arms went up, my knees hit the floor, and my eyes began to water. Yes, there is crying in baseball.

I love this game and it sparks emotions like no other. I love football, hockey, and basketball. I was a boxer and even (believe it or not) a pro wrestler...but, there is something about this game. Someone recently said to me, "I'll bet if you had your way it would be The Rangers and Cardinals in The World Series every year." I said, "No, I wouldn't want to have to pull for one over the other". He asked what I would do if they ever did face each other. I replied, "I'd have to look up to Heaven and say, 'Dad, this is one time I can't pull for your Cardinals' ". My friend looked at me and said, "I'm sure that you Dad would be okay with that." "I'm sure he would" I replied as I turned away. I didn't want my friend to see the tears in my eyes , bacause as we all know, "There's no crying in baseball". Yeah, right!


Street Talk

I love this movie, great flick! A lot of great quotes from the movie as well.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Correcting myself...that would be 1934 not 1932.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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