Tag Archives: family

On the Fourth, reporting on a first game in Pittsburgh


Here it is, the Fourth of July, 2017, and the day is perfect for baseball. I couldn’t make it out to a game today, but I was able to catch the San Francisco Giants defeat the Pirates 2-1 in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The game — my first in Pittsburgh — was a delight. Under a sunny sky, we sat down the right field line looking out onto the field and getting a panoramic view of the whole park (photo above was snapped a bit before game time). PNC Park lived up to its reputation. The setting is dramatic, nestled along the rivers and amid the brides spanning them. The stadium pays homage to Pirates greats of the past with statues of Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, and today’s players are featured on banners ringing the park.

Bars and restaurants hard by the park were busy if not packed before and after the game, and crossing the Clemente bridge into the downtown core afterwards we found a thrumming crowd at Market Square.

IMG_7883This thriving scene in central Pittsburgh is how things should be in American cities, with baseball bringing in big crowds of couples and families catching a game and maybe grabbing a beer or sandwich or two before and after.

For me, the visit to PNC Park had a sentimental side. As I’ve noted before, my father grew up a Pirates fan and had always wanted to take me to a game at old Forbes Field. As I finally made it to a Pirates’ game, I was pleased to have my younger son, one of my nephews and his wife and daughter with me.

So how could I not pick up a cap? I bought a late 70s-style gold and black Pirates cap for $10 off a vendor at the foot of the Clemente bridge. It will help keep alive the memory of fine day at the ballpark for many years to come.





How to talk to your kids about Richard Sherman

While trying to keep an open mind, I’ve been watching the arguments unfold the past couple of days in the wake of Richard Sherman’s bombastic remarks after the Seahawks defeated the 49ers in the NFC championship game.

Outrage was in abundance that night, with many football fans denouncing Sherman as an ungracious lout and vowing to root for the Broncos in the Super Bowl to spite him. (I’ve read, too, that there was a lamentable racist slant to many attacks on Sherman, although I  observed none from those I follow on Twitter.)

A contrarian view came up in response to the denouncers, and that is that it was “refreshing” that a player would speak so openly in an era of the NFL devoid of controversial figures.

My take?

I approach it the way my father did when teaching me about sportsmanship, and I hope I conveyed the same message to my own children: Compete as hard as you can. Never taunt, never boast, never gloat. When the game is over, be gracious in victory or defeat. Shake your opponent’s hand and say “good game.

That’s the code you follow to become a man (or woman).

I wouldn’t have to ask my father what he thought of Sherman’s outburst, and I’m sure my kids don’t have to ask me what I think.





My dad on the hot corner: Two errors and 0-3 at the plate

One of my growing hobbies is researching our family history, and I found a gem tonight while poking around in Ancestry.com: my father’s name in a box score.

Dad never failed to mention that he loved playing “the hot corner,” something I never doubted. Now I have the box score to back it up, on Page 8 of the April, 30, 1938, Uniontown (Pa.) Morning Herald. (I don’t know if this link will work for those without Ancestry.com accounts, but I’m giving it a try.)

Dad batted sixth and played third base for Mapletown High, which lost 5-4 to South Union High in their April 29 home opener in Uniontown.

Dad went 0-for-3 at bat, with two putouts and an assist — and two errors. If only he were here to share a few laughs over that.

What’s also cool about the page is that the box score and game story are directly above an AP story about Dizzy Dean pulling out of a Cubs-Reds game with a sore arm. And in a story datelined not far away in Pittsburgh, the Pirates were rained out against the Cardinals.

I found a second box score from the same paper on May 7, 1938. Dad, still a third sacker, had moved up to fifth in the lineup. He again was 0-for-3 but had one putout and three assists with no errors. Mapletown fell at home, 12-4, to Georges high, which I believe was in Fairchance, Pa.

A year later, Dad next showed up in the paper after enlisting in the Army air corps at Langley Field, Va.

A tip of the cap to Paul Waner, in memory of my father

Paul Waner

Originally uploaded by doug.goodman

Had cancer not claimed him years ago, my father would have celebrated his 90th birthday today. Dad handed down to me many values, not the least of which was his lifelong love of baseball.

Dad was born in western Pennsylvania in 1920, which meant he grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. He was 5 when Paul Waner joined the Pirates at the start of the 1926 season. Waner, destined for Cooperstown, was the favorite player of my father, a coal miner’s son who years later would point out to me all the fields that were ball diamonds in his childhood. Dad liked to play the “hot corner,” as he called third base, and I shared his passion for the left side of the infield, playing a lot at third and even more at my favorite position, shortstop.

I can’t remember not talking baseball with Dad. Even as a toddler I knew about Waner —  “Big Poison” — and Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner, who joined his older brother on the Pirates in 1927. Lloyd would also be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Dad always wanted to take me to Forbes Field to see a Pirates game, but we never made it. That was a minor disappointment, as Dad took me to scores of Cleveland Indians games over the years and we listened to or watched hundreds of games together.

From my father I inherited a trait that amuses and sometimes worries my own family: I yell at the TV during ballgames, either in elation or more often in anger and disappointment, appropriate for someone who grew up an Indians fan.

On weekday evenings or on weekend afternoons, Dad would listen to the Tribe broadcasts on radio as he did yard work. That’s in my genes, too. I can’t sweep up grass clippings or trim the hedges without having a ballgame on.

So on the 90th anniversary of his birth, I salute my father — and “Big Poison” — for instilling in me the love of the game. I am forever grateful.