I am listening to baseball on the radio. Two dogs are sleeping around my feet. The New York Yankees are battling the Boston Red Sox in the division playoffs.
Chances are, you don’t care about baseball—and I don’t blame you. But this column isn’t about baseball.
Tonight, I promised myself I wouldn’t write about baseball. Too many people already write about it.
Sure, I grew up with baseball. It was in my drinking water. My father ate, breathed, and read about it. And when autumn rolled around, I remember him listening to October baseball like some men listened to preaching.
My father would park his truck in the driveway. We sat in the front seat, listening to a radio. The sun was high. Crickets whined. My father explained plays while sipping beer. And I felt like the most important human on the planet.
But like I said, this isn’t about baseball.
I remember the fall evening when he said, “One day, you’ll listen to these games without me.”
And silence filled the truck.
His eyes became glassy after he said it. Then, he tousled my hair. And I’ll never forget this: he offered me his beer.
To the rest of the world I was a child. But that night, in his eyes, I was a man. I held the can with both hands. I took a swig. It tasted like frog urine. I almost gagged.
He laughed. “When you’re older, it won’t taste so bad.”
I am sipping a beer right now, listening to WCCM 1940 AM radio. The Sox are fighting. I don’t particularly care about the Sox, and I care even less for the Yanks. But anxieties are high. The championship is riding on their shoulders. Thusly, I require another can of frog pee.
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