April 20, San Mateo, CA: Travel can be brutal. I'm so tired. And I feel like I am really getting old. It makes me think of my father.
I remember the day my dad turned 30. April 3, 1979. My mother told me to make fun of him because he was old. She was 26 at the time.
He was always pretty active, and I remember him coming home from his Thursday night softball games (in that too-tight yellow and green t-shirt and the foam-front/mesh-backed cap) and telling me how many exciting plays he'd been involved in at first base. I played shortstop for most of my 23 seasons, so I remember thinking: "Yeah, right....exciting? Softball?" Well, I turned 30 four years ago. And I swear the thought of playing softball makes my hip hurt. To say nothing of two doubleheaders every Saturday, like I did until 5 years ago.
The same year that he turned 30, we shared another day I don't think I will ever forget. It was how those 23 seasons began. My dad took me to the store to buy my first glove. I was 5. It was a Wilson brand Jim "Catfish" Hunter mitt. That's the closest I ever came to being a Yankee fan. He bought some oil for the mitt (I think he still has that can of oil, and I can still remember the smell of it). And he tossed the ball to me until there was barely enough light coming from the streetlamp to see it. I remember thinking that I never even knew he could catch. In fact, I don't think he had a glove of his own at the time. That was such a great day. Dad just turned 60 three weeks ago. He was in pretty great shape at 30. Well, he's in pretty great shape now. And still a great role model for me in many ways.