There was a big turnout at The Gardens at Westlake Monday afternoon as the senior living community hosted an Indians kick-off party featuring a meet and greet with Tribe mascot Slider.
Hot dogs, nachos, hot pretzels and beverages set the stage for the opening of the 2015 Major League Baseball season.
Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston was also on hand to speak about “Our Father’s Game.” The award-winning writer took a sentimental look at the national pastime, recalling the impact of his own dad who made time to play catch after work each evening with the future sports writer.
“My father, Felix, and I, like so many other fathers and sons, played catch. He made it look easy, although it was anything but that for him,” recalled Livingston. “The ball never hit my glove like a pistol crack. That was because my dad was 45 years old when I was born, and, by the time I was old enough for catch, he was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.”
It was years, said Livingston, before he truly realized the gift given to him as a youth by a father who took time each evening to play catch under the setting of a heavy Texas sun.
Livingston added that baseball columns are widely read, especially by a female audience segment, because, he conjectured, baseball players are athletes most like the rest of us, making it easier to relate to them as regular individuals.
He also entertained guests with anecdotal material about stars, like Bob Feller, he has met in his 30-plus years on the beat.
Most important to Livingston, however, are the lifelong memories that keep a connection alive – like getting permission to skip school to listen to the World Series on the radio from a devoted dad who would leave this world when his son was just 17.
“To this day, while I too cry at the end of ‘Field of Dreams,’ I know some things are more important than a game of catch,” said Livingston.