Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baseball narratives

By Nate Taylor

Tony Silvia, University of South Florida journalism professor and author, spoke to our class today about narrative writing. Silvia also discussed his upcoming book, Fathers and Sons in Baseball Broadcasting, due in bookstores later this month. During his session, Silvia read an excerpt about Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck and his father, Jack, and how baseball was a critical part of their relationship.

Baseball is same for me and my father, Michael Taylor.

He is important to me. It’s easy to say that after losing my mother when I was just age 2. Since then, my father has raised me through various ways. One of those was through learning the game together.

My father loves sports and taught me everything he could. When baseball came up, it was the sport my father knew the least about. But he did everything he could to teach me.

He enrolled me at Satchel Paige Elementary School, named after the famous Negro League pitcher. That allowed me to learn more about the history of baseball.

He took me to ballgames every summer. He bought me baseball cards so I could learn about each statistic. He just wanted to give me anything he could.

It’s unfortunate that the African-American community is losing interest in the game. Not since Ken Griffey Jr. roamed the Seattle Mariners outfield in the early 1990s has a black athlete in the sport excited African-Americans about the game the way Michael Jordan and LeBron James have stirred passions in basketball.

That didn’t matter to my father. He wanted to make baseball just as important.

Earlier this year, I bought tickets—for the first time—to see Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke. It was nice to do something for my father, who had taken me to so many games. A 90-minute rain delay gave us time to talk and then when the game began I could see how much fun my father had. He smiled. He laughed. He even joked around. He asked me about every player on the team.

Listening to Silvia read his excerpt reminded me of good writing and what baseball can mean to fathers and sons. It’s certainly makes me thankful for my relationship with my father.

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