by Adam Halford
My entire childhood sits in an enormous plastic tub in my shed. This tub has survived several moves and various transitions in my life. I sometimes go out there and move all the other junk aside so that I can get to the tub and look through these memories. This tub is full of all of my baseball cards and memorabilia. My brother and I would get a box of cards each year at Christmas and to us, this was the best gift. We would sit and tear open each pack and make piles of the unique cards, good players, and common cards. The excitement and wonder of what was in each pack was almost unbearable! Getting a Donruss “Rated Rookie” card or a Topps “Future Star” was exhilarating!
Growing up in Missouri, I was predestined to be a Cardinals fan. My father’s company had season tickets so we would frequently drive the 3 hours from Springfield to St. Louis to catch a game and sit in the good seats. My brother and I would love to get there early so we could watch warm ups and beg the players for an autograph.
I played baseball as a kid but was never delusional enough to think I was going to play in the big leagues. I knew the reality of the situation. That did not impact my love of playing or watching baseball. I could still pretend I was my favorite player on my favorite team. The only problem was that my favorite player was not on my favorite team. While I loved everything St. Louis Cardinal baseball related, for some reason, my favorite player was Cincinnati Reds outfielder Eric Davis. I cannot recall where this came from, but I really loved me some Eric Davis! I even dabbled in being a Cincinnati Reds fan for a season (just so happened to be the 1990 season they won the World Series) but quickly felt like I was betraying my original love and went back to cheering for the Cardinals!
Of all the games I have attended, one of the best experiences came in 2014 when my brother, my dad, and I went to game 2 of the NLCS in St. Louis. The Cardinals were playing the Giants and the game was close. Oscar Taveras hits a homerun that lands in our section! (It would be his last game in Busch Stadium as he would tragically pass away 2 weeks later in a car accident.) We were up in the top of the 9th and feeling confident but then the Giants scored to tie it up. In the bottom of the 9th, Kolton Wong hits a walk-off homerun that lands right in our section a few rows in front of us! The screams and celebration are still so vivid to me. Even Though we would go on to lose to the Giants in that series, I was so thankful to have been apart of that special game.
I also got to take my oldest daughter to her first Cardinal game in 2013 and look forward to taking my youngest daughter to her first game soon. Sharing these memories with them is extremely special to me.
While I cannot count the number of Cardinal games I have been to over the years, I have yet to attend an Opening Day….until now. I feel like this is an important box to check as a baseball fan and I am excited to experience this with my dad, the one who introduced me to this great pastime. This game is just that. A game. It will come and go and there will be others. In the end, it’s not about the game itself. It is about the memories and the people you share them with. I have a big plastic tub in my mind that is overflowing with great baseball memories.
Adam, his Dad and brother at Game 2 of the 2014 NLCS.
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