If one looks back to January 2011 (something I have been doing often since that wonderful trophy tour weekend at the 6th Avenue Hilton) and focuses on my screensaver picture The Sey Hey Kid when he was a tenant in Harlem serves as the backdrop for a family photo surrounding the World Series Trophy. One regret has been that I did not attend the Baseball Writers Dinner and meet Willy Mays. It is a mistake I repeated this year but I don't think it was a mistake after all. I was going to book a room again and get on line early and relive the experience, maybe even as far as hanging around the autograph hounds to get a chance to meet the man.
But the tour schedule didn't include the Hilton this time around, my eldest son was on a skiing trip and my wife was hesitant to spend a day in the city with less than the full contingent, in a Manhattan bar with my youngest son having to come from Philadelphia (where she thinks he should be studying) and my daughter having to get there from Bethlehem, Pa...."I'm not coming," she said until I made arrangements to pick my daughter up in the morning, and my son vowed to meet us there with his Philly girlphriend (who promised to wear his Cain jersey in the photos- she clearly has potential...). She changed her mind then, not wanting to miss a family event.
So this is how I ended up driving toward 2nd Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets on Saturday morning, January the 19th day of 2013. The trophy was coming at 2 p.m. and it was between 11 and noon, there was a line outside Finnertys, a place I have heard about but never noticed before. We got our movie ticket stubs from a guy at the door and I entered. Games from each series playing on the tv screens, people of every age, race and gender all adorned in black and orange cheering wildly when Pablo struck one deep or Sergio fanned a Bengal, chants of Lets Go Giants breaking out spontaneously. Wall to wall Giants love, something I reveled in at Candlestick (3 times) and China Basin (twice) contrasting all those games at Shea and Veterans Stadium over the years. A conversation with a grandmother decked out in Giants Threads about her grandson of about 7 and how he has no idea how long a journey some of us have traveled.
I swear the two hours flew by like minutes and the owner announced it was time to close the taps and pay the tabs and moments later amidst an explosion of love, gratitude and bliss, a guy walks through the front door and with Our World Series Trophy held aloft like Bruce Bochy did on October 28 in the Motor City. My heart soared as flashbulbs lit up the room, he walked directly to me and then past, tears welled up from within and my eyes met my daughter's loving gaze, "Oh Dad, I am so happy for you," She whispered. I will take this moment with me to my journey's end.
We all exited the bar, lined up on the street of New York, the trophy made its way through the growing crowd, onlookers wondering who we were and what we were doing, I met and thanked Peter McGowan for all he did for us, and Larry Baer for the gift of this day. My whole family are Giants Fans because of me, we were sending our eldest son pictures and texts (1 said "this is one of the best days of my life")all day, my wife wore black and orange even if it didn't come with logos. But it was that moment, a private glance of love filled to overflowing between a father and a daughter that caused the tears to flow and the day to be complete.
Before November 1, 2010, I hoped against hope, I begged, I prayed but I didnt understand. I never knew this gift would keep on giving or that bounty upon bounty would be grace filled and fulfilling. I swear I am a better man for this, a better lover of baseball and that not even the team that cannot be mentioned by name in this writing (a rule to be violated below)is hated anymore. Through those tears on this glorious Saturday afternoon, I wondered what my parents would have thought back in 1954 when my mother's hand wrote "Both his parents are Dodger fans" in my baby book. If they could only see me now...