For those who don’t follow me on Facebook I would like to let you know that there was a tragedy in my family this week. It’s with a heavy heart that I am telling you, my son Justin, 23 years old, passed away this past Tuesday. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
I originally was not going to publish this week, but instead I would like to re-run the following blog. Although the main subject of this piece is the 2016 Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees, I also talk about a father and son outing at a Miami Marlins game. To make things even more disheartening, the Marlins pitcher that night was the late Jose Fernandez.
I hope you enjoy this blog from this past July. I dedicate this blog to Justin Tyler Karpel (October 24, 1993-February 14, 2017) Here’s to you my little Buddy, Daddy misses you more than you know.
Today’s induction ceremony in Cooperstown really made me reflect on my relationship with baseball that has existed throughout my life. As Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza took their place among the games immortals I did a lot of looking back and reflecting.
Let me set the clock back slightly to last night. My son and I were at Marlins Park in Miami enjoying a father and son evening of baseball as the team of my youth (New York Mets) played the team I have followed from day one (Miami Marlins). Oh and by the way my son Justin, now 22, grew up rooting for the Marlins. As we entered the ballpark, we grabbed the complementary programs, and Justin asked me if I wanted to keep a scorecard.
This took me back, you see well over thirty years ago,my dad also bought programs and kept scorecards when he took myself and my brothers to Shea Stadium to see the Mets.
Although there are many bonds between Justin and myself when it comes to baseball, this was the first time we kept a scorecard together. The scorecard scenario was a latecomer in my baseball relationship with my son. I helped out his coaches during his Little League years and also spent a year as an official scorer. Times I treasure and always will. We also were season ticket holders when the Marlins played at the old stadium that currently has no name in North Miami. We went to 3 post season games in 2003, and spent so much time at the ballpark as he was growing up.
Now here is the connection to the Hall Of Fame inductions that took place today. Last night in addition to father/son bonding at the ballpark we witnessed so much. We saw a game with playoff implications between the Mets and Marlins who at the moment are part of a four-way dog fight for the two National League Wild Card spots. Jose Fernandez and Jacob deGromm, two of the best pitchers in the game took the Marlins Park mound. Giancarlo Stanton hit a 437 foot rocket off of deGromm that hit the auxiliary scoreboard in the upper reaches of left field. To top off the night Ichiro, now only four hits from 3000 Major League hits made a pinch hit appearance late in the game. He grounded to second, but you can feel the anticipation in the crowd while a legend was at the plate.
Today I reflected on all I have seen come and gone. That first game my dad took me to was during that historic 1969 season in Queens. A call up by the name of Jack DiLauro took the mound for the Mets that day against the Giants. His opponent was future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. I also saw Willie Mays and Willie McCovey on that Saturday afternoon. Since then I have seen so many players who now have plaques in Cooperstown, including my boyhood idol, Tom Seaver.
Although there are four major sports in this country, there is something about baseball that binds us together and Cooperstown seems to be Central Station of this bond.
Congratulations Mike and Junior!
To continue to raise awareness of suicide a dear friend has started a gofundme page in Justin’s honor. Please go to http://www.gofundme.com and search Justin Tyler Karpel. The proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Any life that can be saved by awareness to the suicide rate in our world is worth it! Thank you.
I will resume with new material on Wednesday March 1st with Wednesday Baseball. See you all then.