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Brock: Childhood memories of oiled mitts, games of catch stir as baseball returns

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opinion Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Something magical happens every spring and that magic is baseball.

Baseball transcends generations like no other because it is the national pastime whereas other sports are a game.

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Playing a simple game of catch with your father and then later with your son or daughter will make you understand the magic of baseball. I can't remember where my reading glasses are 95 percent of the time, but I can remember my first baseball mitt.

My father, after he gave it to me, showed me how to oil and tie a baseball in the web to create the perfect pocket. Years later, when I bought my kids their first glove, there was no need to oil the new synthetic gloves. But that didn't stop me from boring them with the details of the old way my father shared.

Growing up every morning before delivering my paper route, I would open the Arizona Daily Star's sports page to read the box scores so I was ready to share stats with dad during the game of the week.

These days, you can watch a baseball game on television almost any hour of the day. But in the 60s, outside of the World Series, there was only the game of the week every Saturday afternoon. My brothers and father would watch the game all the while comparing player's stats and potential.

We each had our own team and pulled for them, even when they were pitted against each other on the TV screen. My father would always doze off somewhere around the fifth inning. I couldn't understand how he could fall asleep during even the most exciting games.

I can remember the first Little League game each of my kids played in, as well as my own. I remember not being able to sleep the night before my own and wonder now if they had the same problem. I can still remember the smell of the fresh-cut grass, a freshly oiled glove and the feel of the heavy wool uniform of my first Little League game.

Like dad, I took a vacation for my kids to see their first major league game, and coached each of them a year in Little League. I don't know if I passed on my love for the game to my kids but, like dad, certainly mediocre talent at best.

Reading this column you'll understand my childhood dream of replacing Brooks Robinson as third baseman for my beloved Baltimore Orioles never happened. But it did nothing to lessen my love for the game and my team. Sometimes I still dream about lining up at the hot corner against the dreaded Yankees as I fall asleep watching an afternoon ball game.

Share similar baseball memories as Press Publisher Harvey Brock? Email him at hbrock@thedickinsonpress.com.

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Harvey Brock
(701) 456-1201
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