St. Louis Cardinals: Happy Father’s Day part one, dear Dad

Jun 17, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; A view of the Father's Day hat worn by Baltimore Orioles players during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; A view of the Father's Day hat worn by Baltimore Orioles players during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Today, Sunday, June 18, 2017 is the day we all celebrate our fathers. This day, and this weekend, is also a day in which the St. Louis Cardinals will adorn their uniforms with special blues to commemorate the day.

The St. Louis Cardinals will spend this year’s Father’s Day in the American League-East facing the Baltimore Orioles. Having split the series to this point means that today’s game is the rubber match of the set. What strikes me as the time of first pitch approaches is that these professionals must “work” on a day when they may like to be spending it with their fathers.

I count myself incredibly lucky that I get to spend a great deal of time with my father. Less time now then in a few years past simply because of we don’t share the same town as home but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the time that we do spend.

In recognition of and observance of Father’s Day today, I am writing a two-part submission. First, I will share my wonderful memories of my father and the St. Louis Cardinals. The second post will have me sharing memories of spending time with my sons around baseball and will include a special letter to them.

To my father then. My father was my little league baseball coach who taught me how to throw a baseball, how to swing a bat, and how to field a ball in the infield, He also taught me that I am NOT to yell at my coach lest I will find myself sent to the car (yes, this actually did happen).

Most importantly from our time together as player and coach, my father taught me this important lesson: No one will remember IF you strikeout, but they will remember HOW you REACT to the strikeout. This has helped me throughout my entire life. I may no longer swing a bat but I do keep this motto live in my heart when literally anything happens.

My father taught me a love of the St. Louis Cardinals and for that I am forever appreciative. Through several trips to St. Louis, my father taught me how to read the strike zone, how to yell at an umpire (calling him “Blue” the entire time), and how to both cheer and boo (and when each is appropriate). He taught me how to be a “best fan in baseball.”

I have photographic evidence of my father and I with the likes of Ozzie Smith, Todd Zeile, and our all-time favorite Aaron Miles. Dad and I have been to Busch Stadium II and Busch Stadium III. We have shared many games together at Autozone Park in Memphis too.

Speaking of Memphis, one of my favorite games shared with my father was when we made a special trip to Memphis from our home in Jonesboro on his birthday in April to watch a rehabbing Mark Mulder attempt to make a comeback. That day we sat in direct sunlight, hot, but loving every moment of it (except for Mulder’s inability to throw pitches).

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As I have grown older, my relationship with my father has changed as they naturally do. We have progressed from a parent directing his child to a parent supporting his child. My Dad is there for me at every turn and is certainly the “color” of my “parachute.”

As I’ve said, my father has taken me to several St. Louis Cardinals games. Of these, though, my favorite trip was our most recent one in which we jumped a small plane from Jonesboro, AR and flew up to St. Louis to meet our long-lost cousin, Aaron Miles (absolutely no relation). I will literally never forget sharing this trip with my Dad.

On this trip, we laughed and talked more freely than we ever had. We ate at Ballpark Village before the game, shared a beer together, and then went to the Aaron Miles event. We met this wonderful player (wonderful in our eyes, maybe not so much from the stats side of things) and then spent the night reliving the game (that I believe the Cards lost).

The next morning we had breakfast and talked of how much the St. Louis Cardinals had changed in 2016 and how much our lives had changed. We then boarded the tiny plane again and returned to Jonesboro. For the rest of my life, this trip will stand as a pinnacle memory of my father.

To my Dad, thank you for all the wonderful memories. Thank you for making me the man I am today and for wanting me to forever be better. Thank you for modeling for me how to be a great father. I love you.

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I know I’m not alone with wonderful memories of the St. Louis Cardinals and fathers. If you have a great story to tell, zip me an email and I’ll recap any wonderful stories I receive in the coming days. Go Cardinals!