Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baseball Goes Beyond the Diamond

BY David Villavicencio
October 19, 1986 is not a historic day in baseball history.

The Red Sox clobbered Dwight Gooden and the Mets that night. Boston beat New York, 9-3, to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series that the Mets would eventually come back to win in seven games.

But this post is not about Bill Buckner, Mookie Wilson or anyone who actually played in that World Series. This is about how that World Series was literally the beginning of my love affair with the game of baseball.

Game 2 of the 1986 World Series started at 8:30 PM in New York and all eyes were on Shea Stadium that night. Roger Clemens and Gooden squared off in a battle of young aces that ended up a slugfest.

Regardless of the result, the anticipation heading into the game was great and baseball fans everywhere found a way to tune in. For Osvaldo Villavicencio, it meant watching from a hospital delivery room as his wife, Omaira, was about to give birth to their first child.

As excited as my dad was to meet me, he was just as excited about the World Series.
From what I have been told, he was as passionate about the game then as he is now and he hated the Mets because of their division rivalry with his beloved Cardinals.

My parents have told me that he spent most of the night running in and out of the delivery room to check the score or watch a couple of pitches. He was even updating my mom’s doctor on what was going in the game.

Three hours and thirty-six minutes after Game 2 began, it was all over and the Red Sox had won. About 15 minutes later, my dad knew his first child was also going to be his first son. 

My mom had given birth to me at about 12:20 AM on October 20, literally minutes after the conclusion of a World Series game. From the very beginning, baseball was a part of my life. It even was involved in my birth and I take that as a sign that I was destined to be connected to this game that I am so passionate about.

A huge part of that passion came because of my dad. He is one of the biggest baseball fans I have ever met. My dad is knowledgeable and passionate about baseball. He passed that knowledge and passion on to his son from the very beginning.

I can still remember him buying me my first baseball set. Of course, it was Cardinal red. I still have the wood bat with the Cardinals logo, along with my first pair of Cardinals shoes and my first Cardinals hat. I wish I still had my Cardinal red glove!

I will never forget playing catch in the yard and going to Marlins games with him as a young boy. I will always remember sitting next to him at the 1997 World Series games and travelling all over the country to watch games in different ballparks.

I will also never forget the trip we took together to St. Louis in 2006. It was our first time ever seeing the Cardinals in their home stadium. I have to thank my mom for that trip because it was her idea and it was one of the best three days of my life. I hope to share something special like that with my son one day.

My Dad and I at Busch Stadium in 2006
We do not get to watch games together as much as we used to. Over the past three years, I have been watching from the press box while he is in the stands or watching at home. But we sit together and watch whenever we can, like we did Wednesday night. It was just like when I was a kid again. He was in a seat and I was next to him. When the Cardinals finished off the Game 1 win, we hugged and high-fived. It was perfect. Father and son sharing another special moment thanks to baseball.

So as I write this exactly 25 years after Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley retired Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez to clinch a Game 2 win, I want to say thank you to my mom for allowing my dad to watch the game that night and for embracing how my dad and I have bonded so much over a game we both love.

I also want to thank my dad for taking the time to introduce me to the game. Without him, I would have never developed a love for baseball and sports in general. Because of baseball, we have built a special bond that we will share forever. 

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for reading my work. You make it possible for me to do something I love and I appreciate your support.

Who ever would have thought that a random World Series game 25 years ago would have made such a profound impact on a person’s life?

I am certainly glad that it did.

1 comment:

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