At about 10:30 on Thursday night, I dialed my father’s phone number for the first time in a couple of months. Why I don’t talk to him more often is a long, complicated, sad story – some of which I mentioned here. Tonight, our negative history was irrelevant.
Sounding simultaneously happy and sad, the first thing he said to me was: “I knew it was you.” Of course he did. Only I could be calling him when Derek Jeter had just knocked in the winning run in the last game he’d ever play in Yankee Stadium.
It was 1977, and I was in the third grade. It wasn’t my first trip over the western state line, but it was the first I could remember alone with my dad. My parents were thankfully separated. Life was much quieter. But I saw almost nothing of the former man of the house – until suddenly he was taking me to Yankee Stadium.
We sat with his friends from work in seats right above the Yankee dugout. I yelled out to Reggie Jackson and got a smile and a wave. My father smiled a lot, too, in between answering my questions about the rules of the game. I couldn’t remember the last time he’d talked to me so much. I’ve been a Yankee fan ever since.
The safe subject for most people is the weather. For my father and me, it’s the Yankees. Bad trades and costly contracts, win or lose, I’ll always love them for that.