Passing on the Love of Baseball

Ernie Harwell interviews Hall of Fame manager Al Lopez.Jam Handy Organization, Creative Commons Public Domain

By Joe Underhill

My earliest memories connected to baseball involved an old AM radio and Ernie Harwell weaving the story of the game. I’d listen to Tigers games while throwing baseballs against the side of a shed (much to the consternation of my father). I would imagine I was the pitcher who “kicks and deals” or the hitter who hits one that is “LOOOOOOOOONG GONE!” 

Ernie Harwell was the long-time Voice of the Tigers.

My wife and I recently brought home a little bundle of joy through an adoption. As I look into my son’s eyes, sometimes very groggily, I think about the things I want to teach him.

The days of radio broadcasters who can weave the story of what is taking place on the field seem looooong gone. Yet part of what makes baseball the greatest of sports is the generational transfer of passion for baseball.

I can still remember the first time going to the corner of Michigan and Trumbull: Mickey Tettleton hit a two-run home run but the Tigers lost anyway.

Baseball creates memories that last a lifetime. 

Right now, the game is marred in a work stoppage that has no end in sight. However, what has always been the strength of baseball is the relationship it fosters between parents and their children in the transfer of knowledge and shared love of the game.

I look forward to playing catch in the backyard with my son. I look forward to taking him to baseball games.

Harwell once said “I love the game of baseball because it’s so simple, yet so complex.” It is the simple complexity of baseball, the love of the Tigers, and the simple enjoyment that baseball brings that I look forward to passing down to my son. 

As we start the New Year, there is a world of unknowns, including a virus that continues to wreak havoc. Though we look forward (hopefully) to baseball returning, take a few minutes to remember the most important part of life: family. As Harwell said, “baseball is a great survivor” that will continue because it is still a sport that can be played and enjoyed by the whole family. 

Bill Veeck was right when he said, “Baseball should be savored and not gulped.”

Joe Underhill is a diehard baseball fan and fan of the city of Detroit. Joe currently writes for Follow Joe on Twitter @TransplantedDet.

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