I say this every year, but one thing I like about the Pinch Hitters series is the opportunity to present perspectives I could never bring to the blog. This is one of those moments.
Lucas Vanderwarker is a youth pastor near Indiana, PA and his grandfather played some minor league ball with the Yankees back in the 1930s. For his post, Lucas wrote about a truly once-in-a-lifetime moment: Taking his first-born son to his first game at Yankee Stadium.
For most people, November 2, 2010 was just another day. Most conservatives (especially the Tea Party) remember it as a day of victory, as the Republicans regained control of the House and made up some ground in the Senate. For the people of San Francisco, it was a day of jubilation and raucous celebration of the Giants first World Series victory since they vacated New York. Many have long since forgotten the specifics of this day just 14 short months ago.
For me, it’s a day that was truly life-changing — it’s the day my son was born.
It was right about the time that pitchers and catchers were to report to spring training in Tampa when my wife and I learned she was expecting our first child. When I realized her due date was the beginning of November, I immediately thought to myself, “How amazing would it be for our baby to be born the same night the Yankees win the World Series?” She secretly was hoping the Yankees wouldn’t quite make it to avoid any conflict of interest, and ironically enough, it was while I was sitting on the couch watching the Giants put the finishing touches on their series with the Texas Rangers that my wife informed me it was time to go to the hospital.
Three hours later I was holding my little boy, flooded with the gravity of my new responsibility of teaching my son about the things that I love — Faith, Family, and the Yankees. I realized that watching baseball would never be the same.
Our first family vacation to New York City came in August. My wife didn’t insist on a Broadway show — though I know she wanted to — she instead insisted that we go to Yankee Stadium. Of course, there was no argument from me.
Thursday, August 11, was the highlight of the trip: An afternoon game against the Angels, front row of the upper deck, just past third base. We’d taken the subway to the stadium. We snapped some pictures, fed Brandt, and got settled into our seats. I soaked in every moment (and every sunray—it was very hot that day) of watching Brandt take in every detail from the huge, bright video screen to the yelling hot dog vendors to his daddy going nuts when Curtis Granderson tied the game at 2 with a mammoth home run, and even more nuts when Robbie Cano broke a tie game with a “no doubt about it” grand slam.
Brandt was so over-stimulated that it wore him out and he fell asleep for about an hour. When he woke up, he sat ever so contently on my lap and pointed to the outfield as “Enter Sandman” began to play and Mariano Rivera came sprinting in from the outfield.
Sitting there, with my son on my lap, telling him things I knew he didn’t understand and won’t remember, I didn’t want the day to end. We took our time leaving the stadium (when you only get there once every couple of years, you tend to treasure every second you get).
I don’t remember a whole lot about my first trip to Yankee Stadium other than they played the Royals and they got creamed. I remember being so excited to see Don Mattingly. But do you know what I remember? It was my dad who took me to that first game. I consider my dad to be one of my best friends. I have learned so much from him. I’m not naïve enough to think my 9-month-old son will remember this trip to Yankee Stadium, but I look forward to many more — all of which will always remind me of the day that changed my life forever.
I love you, Brandt! Go Yankees!
Photo of Lucas and Brandt