Baseball - A Real Hit For the Family

Baseball can serve as another "ready escape" for today's weary doctors and a way to bond with family.

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

—Yogi Berra

Both of my children are baseball fans—serious baseball fans. Each has a love and respect for the game and for its history and traditions. They remember seasons, teams, players, games, and events. Me too. So the game presents a superb opportunity for us to make a connection.

We’re having a pretty heady season this year—equal parts wonder and worry. It’s pennant fever time and our beloved New York Mets are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade; and win a World Series title for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Getting the time and attention of my children nowadays is no small task. They’re growing older (my son, Kyle, will be 22 in March and my daughter, Lauren, turns 20 this November), so they have their work, their schooling, their friends, and their interests to pursue. Talking about the Great American Pastime brings us together.

My physician-dad enjoyed the game too. He was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and when the Bums decamped from New York City in the late 1950s he, like many others, became a Met fan when they joined the National League in 1962. The first major league game I ever attended was on a Riverview Hospital bus trip to Shea Stadium in 1970.

Dad was a great fan of Met pitcher Tom Seaver and taught me to appreciate his astounding ability on the mound. A Hall-of-Famer and still the Mets most famous player, Seaver helped the team win two NL pennants and a World Series during his 12 years with the club. To this day “Tom Terrific,” as he was called, is still my favorite baseball player (he turns 71 in November).

I first became a fan of the team in 1969—the “Amazing Mets” signature year. I’ve been talking to my kids about the Mets since they were little. It stuck with them. Lauren went through a time where she watched all the games and got me back into watching regularly. Kyle has a real appreciation for baseball history and went to his first game before he was 10.

Last year while attending a Met game my kids really shined with enthusiasm. While looking at some historic Met images at Citi Field, Kyle and Lauren surprised me with their recall for great (and not so great) Met moments and players.

I’ll get the opportunity to do some more baseball bonding next month when Lauren and I go to see the Mets play the Washington Nationals at Citi Field in a season-ending series. The two teams are now battling for first place in the NL East, so the Oct. 2 game could be pivotal.

I also believe that baseball can serve as another “ready escape” for today’s weary doctors and a way to bond with family. According to a recent American Medical Association survey, 85% of physicians (age 40 to 70) have children and about 40% of them have at least three kids. So it seems the opportunity is there for them. Play ball!