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My First: Love of the Game 

A dad, a daughter and baseball

Let's call it the female Field of Dreams effect, a transitive property: My dad loves baseball. Ergo, I love baseball.

While dad and I have had our clashes, in the world of strikeouts and batting averages, dirt and dugouts, we understand each other effortlessly.

April through September: Baseball season was always daddy-daughter time in the Brey household. Dad may not have a college degree, but he does have an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport and peppered my childhood with historical baseball facts. Details about Pete Rose's betting-on-baseball debacle, reciting memorized ironic Yogi Berra quotes, and revisiting passages form "On Your Toes in Baseball," a long out-of-print book that details every possible baseball play scenario. We spent hours together on the couch, screen door open, watching innings lazily melt away. Baseball was our summer secret.

Maybe he wanted a boy. Growing up an only child I worried about that a lot. Baseball was my way to fill the void of the father-son connection he would never have. At six, Dad bought me my first tiny leather glove and taught me how to throw a softball that barely fit inside it. By 8, I was chasing pop flies around the yard, diving in the dirt for grounders he skidded at me. By 11, I learned to underhand fast-pitch, although I was no Jennie Finch (hello, Team USA medal winner!). Then, the beginning of the end: At 14, I quit softball to pursue a short-lived career in ballet, a decision that I know broke Dad's heart even though he never said it out loud.

Baseball provided so many firsts in my life. Inevitably, my first crush was a baseball player. Derek Jeter. Although I seem to remember also having a thing for Scott Brosius, a goofy-looking mid-'90s third baseman for the Yankees, but perhaps that was just because he stood so close to Jeter.

When my dad took me to my first professional baseball game, a bum set of directions from an early version of MapQuest led him down some Anaheim back alley, making us miss the pre-game batting practice he so desperately wanted to watch. My first time lost in the big city. I don't think he's ever fully forgiven the Internet for that.

My dad loves baseball so much that he doesn't even have a favorite team. He roots for the best possible game, whichever will make the series last longer, so he can keep sipping Coors and listening to the overzealous announcers on the boombox in the garage. Other sports never held the same charm because Dad didn't love them like he loved baseball. Thanks to him, baseball is my first and forever favorite.

Even though I haven't played catch in years, I still love baseball. I love the smell of freshly cut grass. I love the clean white foul lines extending sharply into the outfield. I love dirt warning tracks and the hot, shadeless plastic seats. I love knowing players' batting averages and the difference between the National and American leagues, even when no one else cares. I love the slow-building excitement of the postseason. I love hot dogs and beer and peanuts. More than all of that, I love my Dad, and I love all of these things because he loves them. SW

Summer Guide directory: Read the rest of our Summer Guide "Firsts," HERE.

Bend Elks Home Game Schedule

Vince Genna Stadium, 401 SE Roosevelt Ave.


Wed. 12, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz

Thu. 13, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz

Fri. 14, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz

Sat. 15, 6:35 pm vs. Kitsap

Sun. 16, 2:05 pm vs. Kitsap DH

Tue. 25, 6:35 pm vs. Corvallis

Wed. 26, 6:35 pm vs. Corvallis

Thu. 27, 6:35 pm vs. Corvallis

Sat. 29, 6:35 pm vs. Kelowna, BC

Sun. 30, 5:05pm vs. Kelowna, BC


Mon. 1, 6:35 pm vs. Kelowna, BC

Tue. 2, 6:35 pm vs. Klamath Falls

Wed. 3, 6:35 pm vs. Klamath Falls

Tue. 9, 6:35 pm vs. Top Speed

Wed. 10, 6:35 pm vs. Medford

Thu. 11, 6:35 pm vs. Medford

Fri 12, 6:35 pm vs. Medford

Sat.13, 6:35 pm vs. San Francisco

Sun. 14, 5 pm vs. San Francisco

Tue. 16, 6:35 pm vs. Klamath Falls

Wed. 17, 6:35 pm vs. Puget Sound

Tue. 23, 6:35 pm vs. Thurston County

Sat. 27, 6:35 pm vs. Wenatchee

Sun. 28, 5:05 pm vs. Wenatchee

Mon. 29, 6:35 pm vs. Wenatchee

Tue. 30, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz

Wed. 31, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz


Thu. 1, 6:35 pm vs. Cowlitz

Fri. 9, 6:35 pm vs. WallaWalla

Sat. 10, 6:35 pm vs. WallaWalla

Sun. 11, 5:05 pm vs. WallaWalla

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