Every fan can thank certain people in their family who helped influence their fandom. With a team like the Dodgers the love for the team is often generational, especially when many of your family members were transplanted to the same new land as the team. The nucleus of my family wasn’t the only ones who moved west when the Dodgers bolted Brooklyn.

Growing up in an area with relatives living close by has advantages for two working parents, an available free sitter. The lucky relative who regularly drew me as their assignment was my Great Grandmother. It was during my 10th year when I went from being a fan to a super fan. Great Grandma Zelma was a hardcore baseball fan. Many a day I’d come in after school to find Grandma firmly established in her favorite chair, sitting roughly 6 feet in front of an old black & white TV, watching the Dodgers telecast. I can’t even come close to recalling how many times that scenario actually took place, but it lives in my memory as something I encountered every day.

As I look back and realize of all the deep analytical discussions and debates surrounding the on and off- field activities of the Dodgers I have had over the years, it’s funny how some of the most insightful and impassioned took place between a not-to-enlightened-at-the-time early teen and an elderly lady in her 70’s. Those discussions with Grandma were actually few in number, but influential enough to plant the seed that would cultivate a self-proclaimed authority of the game. Anytime people ask how I learned so much about the game, I can’t credit Grandma for most facts and figures – having passed away over 30 years ago – but I can credit Grandma for having showed me the rewards of being a lifelong fan. I watched the day to day tapestry of memories the game weaved throughout her life. At 10 I seldom knew much about the cast of characters and snapshots of seasons she would recollect, but I saw how it kept a spark for life burning in her aged eyes. That understanding is probably why every time James Earl Jones’ character in Field of Dreams makes the speech about Baseball marking the time, I can’t help but smile as my eyes slightly moisten. There may not be any crying in Baseball, but there is also a place for a nostalgic tear of joy.

For anyone who owes a portion their formative love of the game to the influence of Mom, Grandma, or even a Great Grandmother, this Mother’s Day the perfect gift may not be flowers or a dinner. Consider the simple joy of sitting in front of the TV, or by the radio, and share a few leisurely hours sharing in your mutual love of Baseball.

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