The Baseball Family
In the pre dawn hours of October 21, 2000, I shook my two sons out of their bunk beds and led them – still stumbling and puffy eyed – into my blue Chevy Cavalier. They didn’t know it yet, but we were starting off on an eight-hour road trip up Route 81 to my father’s house. This was the first game of the Subway Series. And I wanted three generations of Mets fans to root together that day. Baseball, more than any other sport, is passed from generation to generation. I can still remember leafing through an old photo album not long after my grandfather passed away.
A yellow newspaper clipping fluttered down to my lap. I had to smile and shake my head as I unfolded and read a story from the Daily News about the 1986 Mets. Baseball and family. According to the Baseball Almanac, more than 100 Father-Son teams have made the Bigs; Bobby and Barry Bonds, Felipe and Moises Alou, Tito and Terry Francona, Bob, Aaron, and Brett Boone, and the Griffeys to name a few. But perhaps more significant, and more incalculable to the game has been the impact of unnumbered parents bringing kids to Little League games, trips to the ballpark, and endless discussions of strategies, stats, and standings around the dinner table.
It’s no secret that Major League Baseball is struggling to market the game to youth. But I think they are ignoring the obvious; Baseball is inherited more than sold. If MLB wants young people to adopt the game, they need to bring out the families. That’s a challenge when a family outing at the park can leave a two-hundred dollar hole in your mitt. But it’s a problem the league will need to address if they’re truly concerned about the future of America’s Pastime.
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