Father’s Day sucks for me. I lost my dad in April of 2006 and it’s just *wonderful* to have that fact rubbed in my face. I celebrate Ryan Zimmerman Day. On June 18, 2006, in section 428, Row A, seat 4 of RFK, I sat dejected and in need baseball. A friend and coworker who had lost his dad years before sat in Seat 3. We spoke more to the beer man than we did each other. We both just wanted to sulk and drink and sit in the sun and ignore all the corporate-greed inspired sentimentalism.
Boy, did we.
If you don’t know that Father’s Day ‘06 is known for Zim’s walk-off bomb off of future Nats’ great Chien-Ming Wang then you’ve seen the back of the scoreboard at Nats Park featuring a still shot of the home plate celebration. That day is one of best days of my life. I wasn’t born a Nats fan (Reds fan for the record), but I’ll die one and that day is a big reason why.
I met my wife during the rain delay of a Cubs game. I draped myself in patriotic bunting from the ‘05 July 4th game I stole for Jayson Werth’s Game 4 at-bat. I danced in the street with it too. I met Junior Spivey’s father, wife and son while inadvertently sitting in the family section of RFK.
I met Jack Hicks, the Jack of All Trades, on a flight from Nashville to BWI in February, 2005. He was sitting next to me and I was wearing my Expos tee-shirt. We talked ‘Spos the whole flight. How Brad Wilkerson was the best player. About what a tough lot they had splitting games between Canada and Puerto Rico. And we talked about the new radio team coming to town to cover the newly-renamed Nationals. I’d always wanted to live in the same town as a Major League Baseball team and it was about to happen. I’ll never love another sports team as much as I love the Nationals. I was a season ticket holder from 2005-08. I went a-la-carte from 2009-11 and probably saw more games a year that way. I moved to Tennessee the day we got Bin Laden but absence has only made the heart grow fonder. Now I drive to Atlanta and hang with those yokels to see our boys whenever I can.
Frank lets me spout my highly-evolved/nonsense opinions here and I’ve let him down. I’ve completely gone MIA since Spring Training. I’ve been following and I’ve even been writing, but nothing worth a spit. Mostly I’ve just been tired. On September 4th, 2014, the Nats beat the Phillies 3-2 in Philadelphia. About 11 hours earlier, my son was born. Once we got him home that Saturday, the Nats won 7 straight. For my first Father’s Day, my wife is getting Nats stuff for Hank. That’s all I wanted. Well that and wings. My dad taught me how to throw. How to catch. How to hit. (Then I had to re-learn. Zing!) Now I get to teach my kid.
Being a father is the greatest thing to ever happen to me* and it’s the most important thing I’ll ever do. (*Of course it couldn’t have happened with meeting and marrying my wife so by extension those moments are automatically included with this one – I can’t stress that enough.) Teaching him the game of baseball is my top priority. Stuff like sitting up and walking and talking are just prerequisites to baseball. You can’t keep score if you can’t read. I know baseball will be there for him long after I can’t. It was for me. Father’s Day will still suck. But not as much. One day I’ll take Hank to a game and it won’t suck at all. It sure sucked 8 years ago… until Zim went yard. For a UVa guy, that dude’s good people (Go Hokies!).
Hope you had a Happy Ryan Zimmerman Day! Let’s go Nats!
PS: I’ll get back to promoting fringe thinking soon. The Nats must get Ben Zobrist but if Mark Lerner is serious about the payroll being “beyond tapped out” they might have to trade one of Soriano/LaRoche/Span first to make it happen. #thelernersarecheap