A photo of my Dad & I at PNC Park in 2005
On this special day that we honor our fathers, I would like to reflect upon mine. My father is the reason I began following sports. He got me into sports at an early age. I was born in Frederick, Maryland where there is a Class A minor league baseball team called the Frederick Keys. My dad took me to my first baseball game when I was only six weeks old. I was exposed to baseball at a very early age.
When I was four years old, my family moved back to South Jersey where they are originally from. As I got older, my dad started taking me to Veterans Stadium. I began watching the likes of Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, and Rico Brogna among others. My dad taught me the game and explained everything that was going on.
One of my fondest memories with my dad was one of the last games at Veterans Stadium in 2003. We wanted to take in one last game at the Vet. We received a mini-replica of Veterans Stadium before the game, which I still cherish to this day. We saw Vicente Padilla pitch on a Sunday September afternoon. We sat up in the 700 Level right in front of the ever-popular fan group “The Padilla Fotilla.” My dad and I had a great time laughing at the crazy antics of the group. I don’t recall if the Phillies won or lost this game. It was more about sharing time with my dad and having a great time. Padilla had a decent amount of strikeouts during the game. They even ran out of tortillas by the later innings. This was a time where the Phillies certainly weren’t a great team. It was the days of Marlon Byrd, Jim Thome, and Bobby Abreu. I just had a blast sharing such a fun game with my father. We walked the concourse after the game taking in the sights and sounds of the Vet. The Vet was due to be imploded that spring, so we wanted to take it in one last time. We spent time after the game taking pictures of the stadium both inside and out. I remember wearing my Pat Burrell t-shirt and sitting in front of the stadium. This was one of my greatest baseball memories as a kid and I have my dad to thank for that.
My dad taught me about all different sports. We also share a special connection when it comes to football. We are both Philadelphia Eagles fans like the rest of the Delaware Valley. But we are also in the same fantasy football league. We are in a league with people that my dad used to work with. I was invited to the league about five years ago and have loved participating ever since. We enjoy talking trash during our live draft and during the season. It especially gets intense when we play each other during the season. The trash talk ensues and it is anything goes. We enjoy ribbing each other and just having a good time.
My dad and I really connect when it comes to sports. He influenced me to be the diehard Philadelphia sports fan that I am today. He has taken me to many baseball stadiums including Veterans Stadium, Camden Yards, PNC Park, and Citizens Bank Park. It’s so much fun to have a dad to share a mutual interest with. He showed me how to play the game of baseball too. One of the best experiences was getting out my baseball mitt and going in the backyard to have a catch with my dad. Those childhood memories will last my entire life and I’m grateful that I was taught sports by a truly great man.