I received via email from Dr. Cornelius Meyer, emeritus full-professor of psychology at Quinnipiac University, a wonderful family baseball story. I hope you enjoy reading his story about baseball, Father’s Day, and the “Green Monster”.
Dr. Meyer states, “This was a special Father’s Day for my family, and it is with a sense of pride and joy that we celebrate with a story, told and retold.”
His story appears in the following paragraphs, so first view the video, and then read the wonderful story that goes with it.
Ah…baseball and Father’s day. The lineage started with my dad, a truck driver who had little interest in sports, but was always up for a round of “catch”. My turn came…God blessed me and my wife with two sons, and I knew what to do from there. Although we all enjoyed yearlong sport’s rooting, and both boys played two sports, nothing matched the magic of spring hope and balls flying. My wife, born in Latvia, came late but well to the fan passions of the Summer Game. Ground ball practice, playing catch, fly balls in the sun, and the batting cage…ah, the batting cage…time well spent on our sons. We seemed to be at a ball game, cheering, watching, believing, every night, and it was a life we loved. My oldest, Jesse, was a speedy 6’ 2″ right fielder with a good arm and a natural talent he used to track the angles and velocity of outfield play. He hit cleanup on his HS team, runner up state champs, because of his ability to hit with two strikes and drive in runs when they were especially needed. To this day he loves baseball, we talk about it every day, and he does not regret trading the game for academics. Many paths in life, he chose his own. Our youngest, Aaron, lost daily in every game to his older brother, and seemed to want more of it, not less. As I have said to many, our family motto is “swing away”, and he did. He sprouted into 6′ 5″ outfielder/first baseman who loved the game with passion and commitment. Now to the Father’s Day part.
Father’s Day(1996) was June 17, a date which is seared in the consciousness of our family. Aaron was selected for the Connecticut All-Stars, the 15 best HS Seniors in the State, to compete against a similar squad from Massachusetts, scheduled for the aforementioned date. The game, to my and his incredible delight, was played in Fenway Park…his brother Jesse would take the subway over from Harvard where he was studying Fracture Mechanics and Applied Engineering. My wife and I arrived at the park early, and secured a front row seat between home and third(about 2000 attended… many scouts and college coaches, including the Dartmouth Coach who would teach him for the next four years). As we watched him take warm-up in right field and first base, I had trouble focusing the memories…I wanted to hold them forever, but could feel the sands of time slipping through the fingers of my mind. My heart filled my throat as the game began, with his squad batting in the bottom of the first, no score. The pitcher for the Massachusetts team was a curve ball/fast ball type who eventually had a fine career at Boston College and the Minor Leagues. Aaron, batting third, followed two initial routine outs by understandably anxious young ballplayers.
Our heads work alike, and I knew he was nervous as he stood in and took his warm-up swings. The first pitch, a sharp curve ball, found him out in front, a mere wave at best. He stepped out and gathered himself…I could hear him think…”head down and quiet, hands ready but in motion, take the ball up the middle, see the spin, keep weight back, set, swing away if it’s good and hit the crap out of it”…his mom grabbed my arm and I suppressed my breath. Another curve ball came, and this time he held his mechanics in check. The swing, like a flash, sent the ball high and arching towards left center. It kept rising, rainbow like, in eyes of my mind, as it is now as these words pour from my keyboard, and at its apogee seemed to settle like a feather into the net of heroes above the Green Monster. There was a audible gasp from the crowd, and then we all released adrenalin and joy into our bodies and hearts. We have a lifetime to celebrate…we do…Home Plate is so perfectly named when it’s on your side.
By Cornelius Meyer
Jack Dolan said…
Great story from a great guy who is truly a wonderful father and family man, with a deep love of baseball that has been at the core of his family’s life for many years. I’ve been lucky to know Neal Meyer for many years going back to our sons’ Little League days and know just how special that Fenway moment was for him and his family. It’s terrific to relive it again with his well written piece and the video! — Jack Dolan
June 16, 2014 06:49:17