Memories of baseball with my dad

Father’s Day in the past for me was a day to spend with my children, sleep in and basically relax the entire day.

But I’m going to start a new tradition this year – I plan to play catch with my son.

Coaching a wonderful group of minor league baseball players this spring led me to the path of this


From the first day of practice, I suddenly turned into a 12-year-old kid again, and memories of my father “Wortie” coaching me during my Little League days were rekindled.

I remember how we bonded talking baseball. Even though dad had the baseball mind and I was just a kid, we chatted like two old friends.

Sometimes I questioned his strategy. He would just laugh, especially when he was right, which was nearly 100 percent of the time.

Fast forward 32 years later and the same discussions between myself and father, now take place with myself and my bright-eyed 8-year-old son.

Just like when I was near his age, he likes to question my strategy. I just laugh, like dad did, except Joseph’s been right a few times, and he’s not shy to let me know when this occurs.

One of the best compliments I received this spring came from a longtime coach and volunteer with Belington Little League.

Steve O’Brien, who coached alongside my Dad for many years, said I was “Just like Wortie” in some of my methods on the diamond.

When Steve said this, I had to take a moment to regain my composure as tears shed from my eyes.

The times I spent with my father at the ball field are memories I will always cherish, and hope to pass along to my son.

This will be the fifth Father’s Day without the company of my dad, who passed away in 2009.

After playing catch with my son, I plan to visit my father’s grave, baseball in hand, and talk about sports and life in general.

I know in my heart he will be looking down, and still letting me know his eloved Atlanta Braves defeated my Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1992 playoffs.

I encourage other fathers to take a moment over the weekend to grab a glove and ball and start your own tradition with your children.

Just a little bit of your time can create memories that will last a lifetime.

Happy Father’s Day.

– Sports Editor Joey Kittle can be reached by email at