Red Sox Nation keeps baseball all in the family. Whether in the stands with season tickets handed down from generation to generation, or family members following in the footsteps of former major leaguers, the game of baseball brings families together. It seems baseball’s influence on future generations is stronger than in any other sport. Although this may be shortsighted (and most definitely my opinion), there is something special about the game and the impact it has on families.
Examples of this can be found in Cal Ripken and Cal Ripken Jr., and Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. Today I caught two more current examples. In the space of a few hours I read a New York Times story about Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson Mike, and a tweet that John Farrell’s son, Jeremy, plays baseball.
Yastrzemski’s grandson lost his father to a sudden heart attack at the age of 43. After that tragic event, the family grew closer, and so did Mike and his legendary grandfather. Yaz would train Mike often, helping him with his swing, something about which Yaz knew quite a bit, with 452 home runs and 3,419 hits to his name. Mike Yastrzemski is currently a senior at Vanderbilt, and though ball clubs wanted him last year, he decided to graduate because it is what his father would have wanted. During a recent slump, Mike called his grandfather and was able to get back on track thanks to his advice. Now he is batting .333.
Meanwhile Jeremy Farrell, 26, has been in the minors since 2008 and currently plays for single-A Winston-Salem. Prior to this year, he played at the single-A, double-A, and triple-A levels for a variety of teams. I wonder how father Farrell coaches his son, or if he coaches him at all.
What is it about the game that draws those young players? There is such a powerful attraction to this sport. I believe baseball is not forced upon future generations, but chosen. Baseball players are called, like those who choose to serve as priests or public servants. It is extraordinarily impressive and inexplicable at the same time.
Who got you interested in baseball? What is your family’s baseball history?