Homegrown-Home team memories

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Homegrown-Home team memories

Date: 
Tue, 11/02/2010

As the San Francisco Giants clinched the World Series title, I was ecstatic as most long-time central California baseball fans were! 55 years is a long time to wait for a World Series title – years of San Francisco Giant memories, from memorizing the starting lineups, collecting baseball cards, attending games and checking the box scores daily for their statistics. I was (and am) a giant, Giants fan!

Watching the games reminded me of peddling my tricycle down the lane from our farmhouse to my grandparents' home. We would sit at the kitchen table listening to KNBR-68, Giants radio for the two-hour-plus baseball game. Sitting still for that long was indeed a task for this 4 year old. Living an hour away from San Francisco, we were huge Giants fans and would take in a few games each year. As I got older, I would go to Candlestick Park for Kodak Camera Day so I could see all the players close up and take pictures of my favorites. My aunt and uncle had season tickets, and it would be my birthday present each year.

At right, Baseball Hall of Fame member, Frank Robinson, who was manager of the San Francisco Giants at the time, poses with a loyal Giant fan at Candlestick Park.

I always enjoyed playing baseball at home on the farm, too. With only three children in the family, having a baseball game was not an easy task. The center of the farm was the ball diamond. First base was the corner of the milk barn, and third base was a carefully placed calf hutch. While the bases were not 90 feet apart, they were all of 50 feet, so it was quite a workout. Dad wore his huge glove from his high school baseball days.

Each year the local Holstein groups in California would form baseball teams and there would be a state Holstein baseball tournament. It was a one-day picnic and social gathering for family members of all ages. Gloves and bats would be recovered from dust-ridden closets to display the baseball skills of these dairymen. Way back then (three decades ago) I thought some of the “farmer players” were past their prime, but two of them still play baseball on community teams to this day!

My love of baseball was nurtured, not by the game itself, but from the memories it created with family members. Listening to the game, heading to the ballpark, and playing in the yard with all of them are the best parts of my baseball memories. After the game last night, my two siblings and I shared in the excitement, even living in three different states. We called each other to extend the celebration of the long-overdue victory.

Do you take time from your hectic schedule on the dairy to make memories with your family and friends? I remember, when I was young, all the work had to be done, but Dad always found some time to throw the ball around so farm kids could make homegrown memories, too.

As the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, when families commonly gather, what activities are you planning? Will you remember them 10, 20 or 30 years into the future?