My Father Took Me Out to the Ball Game

September 1968, Shea Stadium. Front row, left to right: Yours truly, age 7; my father, Don O’Reilly.

That’s me and my father at Shea Stadium for a game in September 1968. They were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates on Helmet Day. They lost, 3-0. We went to that game because back in June, we went to a doubleheader against San Francisco, and we could only say for a few innings of the second game. I cried so much about missing the rest of the action that my father made it up to me in September.

On the bus ride over for that June contest (it was a trip sponsored by my father’s Masonic lodge), I asked him who he was rooting for. He said, “The Giants.” I said, “The San Francisco Giants?” “Yes,” he replied. I was all of 7 years old, and oblivious to the fact that my father was a third-generation Giants fan and a huge Willie Mays fan (Mays was inducted into the Army for Korea service, and mustered out, three days before my father). All I knew was that the Giants played in California, which was way far away. I looked at him and said, “How can you root for them? I’m going to root, root, root for the home team.” Or something like that. And I became a Met fan.

The next year, the Miracle Mets won the World Series.

I remained a Met fan until at least 1986. In the meantime, I had spent some time in Massachusetts, so I became a Red Sox fan. (I couldn’t be a Yankee fan. It’s against the rules to be both a Met fan and a Yankee fan.) When my two clubs met in the World Series, I decided to sit on the fence. My posterior hurt a little bit, but I enjoyed watching the Series as a neutral observer.

Ever since, I’ve gone to games all over the place, including (finally) a World Series game in 2015, and I root, root, root for the home team. After all, if they don’t win it’s a shame.

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Text Copyright © 2000, 2016 Charles O’Reilly. This image Copyright © 1968 Donald O’Reilly. All rights reserved.
This page updated 29-Jan-2016