Baseball was one of the things my Grandpa and I enjoyed together.
At 103, Tony Ament knew he wouldn’t see many more Opening Days. The last one we shared was 2014. The Twins lost to the White Sox 5-3.
He’d never been to Target Field, or the Metrodome, but he was a lifelong Twins fan. Every two weeks I’d visit Grandpa and stay overnight. We’d watch the Twins and remind ourselves that hope springs eternal in baseball. Maybe one day the Twins would be winners again!
When I take in a game at Target Field, I get there when the gates open to take in the wonders of the ballpark. One Saturday late in August 2014, I arrived early to watch batting practice in the first game of a double-header with Detroit. There wasn’t much competition for the two batting practice balls I caught that day – TWO!
Excited as could be, I headed right from the game to St. Cloud for a visit with Grandpa. I gave one ball to him. But he wouldn’t keep it. “I got two!” I insisted. Nope, he wouldn’t hear of it. So I promised to bring “his” baseball with me every time I visited. “That’s a deal,” he agreed.
Visits were closer together after that, as he rounded third and headed for home himself.
During the 2014 World Series, the ball was there on the bed as I held his hand and watched the Giants beat up on the Royals 11-4. I updated him on the score as the game went along and he squeezed my hand in acknowledgement. But it was a long game – four hours – and he left before it ended.
To honor Grandpa, and to celebrate my love of baseball, I’m visiting ballparks across the U.S and sharing my experiences. Follow along as I detail the sights, the sounds, and the smells of my MLB and MiLB baseball adventures.