On June 19, 2024
Columns

Baseball memories

By Merisa Sherman - There’s nothing like popcorn at Fenway!

I have been to the new Yankee Stadium once. Obviously, since I still call it the “new” Yankee Stadium even though it’s over a decade old. Maybe it smells older now, that combination of piss, hot dogs and popcorn that lingered throughout the stadium. It was too new then, the smells were wrong, the field was the wrong shape and size and everything just seemed so cold. More like a mausoleum to baseball that a living, breathing part of the sport. 

It was my last game with my dad, who would get cancer the following year and then pass away the next. We had gotten there early, to see the new monument park but I had brought my iPad instead of having it stolen. Which meant we had to go back to the car to put it away. We missed our opportunity to see Monument Park. So my dad never got to go.

It’s one of my deepest regrets in life. Bringing that iPad and screwing up something that could have been so marvelous. My dad loved baseball. He loved playing more than watching, but one couldn’t play baseball all the time. You need to rest, and that’s when you watch. I didn’t understand this excuse; we watched baseball every night. And if we didn’t have television, we listened to the game on the radio. Baseball was the soundtrack of my childhood, mixed in with Peter, Paul & Mary. My dad played league ball until about two months before he died, legging out a triple in his final at bat.

Because that’s who he was. And who our family was. Skiing and baseball. But losing dad changed all that. No more tickets. No more games.  Baseball is on in our home all the time, but we no longer go to over 10 games a year. We listen to the radio, to Suzyn Waldman and the new guy who sounds a lot like John Sterling but obviously isn’t.

We don’t always watch the Yankees. I love to listen to Bob Uecker announcing for the Brewers, I can hear him calling the games in “Major League” and it just triggers happy thoughts. I have developed a fondness for the Cubbies, and love singing along at the end of a winning game: “Hey Chicago, What do you say?” We watch whatever game is tied in the seventh in ning, because you know those last few innings are going to get pretty tense.

We try to go to games whenever we travel. I went to an O’s game while Megan was in the hospital. We’ve been to two Colorado Rockies games when we’ve been through Denver and we tried to go to Wrigley but there was a tornado warning so we went to a bar and watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cub and then got caught in a Wrigleyville riot instead. Not the experience I was looking for, but …

My favorite place to watch a game is Fenway. I love Fenway. I said it. As a fourth generation Yankee fan, I would rather see a game on Yawkey Way than down in the Bronx. It feels more like baseball there, with everyone tight and snuggled in on each other. It’s a ballpark, not a stadium and it lives and breathes baseball.  It smells like baseball. It is baseball. The Red Sox threw a better party for Jeter’s last game than the Yankees did. Because Fenway.

This past Father’s Day Weekend, we met up with another couple (both Boston fans). We had all lost our baseball loving fathers who had raised us on the sounds of the game. It is so hard going to a game without your dad, the one who always took you. Who taught you how to keep score, who taught you the lyrics to take me out to the ballgame and with whom we worked on collecting all the retired numbers cups. Can you name all the Yankees by number? 1. Billie Martin … 

Throughout the game, there were moments where each of us was not with the group but rather with our dads. Filtering through memories while making new ones. We started with popcorn, because my dad wouldn’t have it any other way. He had a specific popcorn lady at the old Yankee Stadium and I remember running around the ballpark trying to find her in the new one. She was so stoked to see my dad that she took a clear trash bag, filled it with popcorn and then threw the bucket in with a laugh. 

But I can’t go back to the Bronx without my dad. It’s not that I don’t like the Yankees — I wear my NY cap with pride — but I don’t have memories of my dad at the new stadium. I can’t see him there. I can imagine him in Fenway, enjoying the history and celebrating the greatest rivalry in all of sports. But he’s not in the new stadium for me. He’s just not there. 

My baseball memories were torn down, brick by brick. 

And so this Yankees fan will keep making baseball memories, but at Fenway. At Wrigley. At Mile High. At Camden Yards. Anywhere but the Bronx.

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident, town lister, member of the Development Review Board, Coach PomPom and local realtor. She can be reached at: Merisa.Sherman@SothebysRealty.com.

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