First the backstory: Wednesday night the New York Mets clinched the Major League Baseball’s 2015 National League Championship Series by sweeping the Cubs and advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2015. When it comes to the subway series’ teams, Pop is a diehard Mets fan. Not sure how it happened, but in my formative elementary school years somehow the Yankees wooed me. Perhaps it was the lure of Mr. October, Reggie Jackson. Although I know I was hooked before that awe show-stopper World Series of a performance. To prove my love, I still have baseball cards from the 1970s that include many of the Yankee greats and other teams’ players. At PS 221 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I was a self-proclaimed queen at the 1970s version of the baseball card game. At the cafeteria lunch table, I’d snatch up my opponents’ wad of baseball cards just.like.that.
Up until just beyond college, I remained an avid baseball fan, which included watching games on television. I’m not into baseball as I once was (I actually don’t watch any sports as in previous years. I have my theory regarding my disenchantment with modern day sports, but I’ll save that for another day.), but I still appreciate the game. And, there’s nothing like visiting a ballpark and taken in a game, especially with the newer ballparks adding their own special flair of experiences and food options. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good grilled Nathan’s hot dog and some sticky Cracker Jacks with the hat to match. Goodness no I didn’t go there. Anywho, what I getting at is us foodies also love other good food options.) Singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to my now favorite Neil Diamonds’ (Brooklyyyyyn STAND UP!) “Sweet Caroline” are sometimes more anticipated than the game itself. Okay, I may be over exaggerating, but they are cool, nerdy, and ♪♪SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!♪♪ (Sidebar: I use to do a pretty good Neil Diamond impersonation. I might still have it.) This past summer’s serendipitous moment, Pop was visiting me and we attended a baseball game. It was perfect timing. We witnessed Max Scherzer pitch a no-hitter for the Washington Nationals, to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before exiting the stadium Pop simply and perfectly stated, “That was beautiful”. I agree. It really was beautiful and magical I might add.
You know, while I ponder further, Pop is Jets. I’m Giants. Baseball, football, basketball, growing up in a household with men, I loved them all. And, watched them all, including boxing, (Man I loved boxing.) with Pop, my brother Terence, or on my own. But, I imagine because Pop and I respectfully appreciated (New York City love is New York City love.) the other’s teams, there was no trash talking going on. So much so I didn’t realize Pop was Mets/Jets well into my adult years. Humph… Exhibit A evidence of my independence as a child was real. But, we’re both Knicks. Simpatico! Although, in their current state, the Knicks will be the death of every New Yorker that’s a fan. Can you say Brooklyn Nets? But, I digress. Back to Pop.
The only baseball team other than the Mets that Pop has a heartfelt love for is the LA Dodgers. You know why that is right? Come on. Noooo, it’s not because he loves the sun and beautiful people of la la land. This is an easy one. Think! Because, they were previously the Brooklyn Dodgers (I already hinted that I grew up in Brooklyn) which included who I would imagine was Pop’s baseball and Civil Rights Movement’s man crush, Jackie Robinson (He’s the first Black man to play for a MLB team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.). #42! Ebbets Field! Brooklyn! Crown Heights! (our hood) An amazing Black man knocking fences down and representing. Priceless!!! What Black (or Negro back then) man working and living to be acknowledged and respected during the Civil Rights Movement, wouldn’t have had a man crush on Jackie Robinson? Mr. Robinson provided many proud, poking chests out moments on and more profoundly off the field.
Here’s how Thursday, October 22, 2015 (The morning after the Mets win to clinch the NL MLB 2015 series.) “Morning Pop Talk” went. (The usual call on my way to work.) Me: Heeeyyy! Pop: Good morning! Me: Did you see that I called you earlier? Pop: I saw your name. Me: You feeling good huh? (I already know the answer.) Pop: (excited) I watched the entire game. I stayed up and saw the whoooole thing. (This is big for Pop since he’s normally knocked out just past Jeopardy.) Pop: Goooooo METS! AMAAAAZING!!! Me: Yeah that was cool. Pop: So what are you about? Me: On my way to work. Pop: It’s nice when young people have somewhere nice to go. Hahahahahahaha… Me: I know right. Pop: What are you doing this weekend? Me: Not sure yet. Pop: Yeah I’m thinking of something. Maybe next weekend. My sinuses are acting up. (Pop is us to something. Probably planning his next visit to me in his head.) (There’s a slight pause in the conversation and I know somehow we will get back to the Mets) Pop: Niiiiccceeee!!! (We’re back on Mets feel good talking points now.) Pop: Surprising that the Cubs went this far. Actually, surprising for the Mets too. Next season was supposed to be both their year. Me: They were talking about the “Curse of the Billy Goat” on GMA this morning. Pop: They (meaning everyone) have been talking about it the whole time. Me: They said the name of the goat happens to be Murphy (How crazy is that because Daniel Murphy is the Mets’ player who waxed the Cubs a$$ the entire series. He’s had a home run in EVERY game and 1 hit/1 run/1 RBI in seven games in a row-HUH???). Pop: Hahahahaha… Pop: I think Kansas will take it. (meaning the AL series) Me: What’s the series? Pop: 3-2. Kansas at 3 and Toronto at 2. I think game six is tomorrow. It’ll be the Mets and Kansas in the final. Me: Cool! (slight pause) Pop: Alright. Have a good day. Me: You too Pop: Pop: Be safe. Me: You too. Pop: Love! Me: I love you too. Pop: Okay!
Pop is definitely on a natural high. I love experiencing him like this. At this age (86), I’m blessed and grateful to see life and a spark in him. I hope for many more moments like this. I think I know what I’m getting him for Christmas this year. Shhhhhh…
The beauty of life is seizing upon moments that can provide magical serendipitous memories. It can be just as simple as changing the channel to the baseball game, having a seat, and chilling. All in the company of beautiful loved ones. Take time to seize any moment you can, authentically connecting. Any moment! For THIS moment is all YOU have to share with love and harmony. Love!!! BeDoLove
PS: Pop probably wants to visit next weekend so we can watch the World Series together. Who does he think he’s fooling? I’ll gladly welcome him so I can see and experience that smile on his face (And, get some oxtails.) when the Mets become the 2015 World Series champions. Again, New York City love is New York City love.
I love the relationship you have with your dad. Cherish it, enjoy it, get in as much time as you can. I live vicariously through you and your dad’s relationship. Wish I had had those opportunities, RIP Lloyd Tenquee Chang, I will always love you.
Carol I am truly blessed and grateful. And, I try not to take it for granted. Pop is 86 so times like this become more and more important. Much love to you sis. RIP Mr. Chang! Love!!!