06/04/15 - posted by Scott Grant

I'm Frank's nephew, Scott Grant (Charles' son). I thought you might enjoy this excerpt from my book, "Hooked in the Heart," which includes a childhood memory of Frank.

The first game

I was seven years old, I think, when my grandfather and my uncle took me to my first Major League Baseball game. We ascended the steps of Candlestick Park in San Francisco and sat in the top row, up with the seagulls and the clouds, which I assumed was the best place to watch a ballgame because you could both spread out (no one else was seated near us) and see all the action without turning your head.

The Giants defeated the Dodgers that day, throwing out Maury Wills, the game’s best base stealer, and knocking Sandy Koufax, the game’s best pitcher, out of the box.

“Where’s he going, Grandpa?” I asked as Koufax exited the field.

“He’s going to the showers.”

“To the showers?”

I didn’t understand why a player had to leave the game or visit “the showers” afterward. What I didn’t understand, though, didn’t prevent me from enjoying the game. In fact, I was enthralled. When the Giants recorded the final out in the top of the ninth inning, all the players left the field: the game was over. I did not yet know that the home team doesn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth if it is leading after the visiting team bats in the top of the inning. I deemed this rule unfair. I thought that if the Dodgers batted in their half of the inning, then the Giants should get to bat in their half, even if victory had already been assured. My real problem, though, was that I wanted to watch more baseball. I didn’t want the game to end.

Thus began a lifelong love affair with the game. I played baseball in youth leagues and in high school; as a fan, I have attended my share of games through the years. I always hoped that if I had children, they would want to attend baseball games with me. So, when my oldest daughter, Christina, turned seven, I took her to her first baseball game, a minor league contest in San Jose.

I was worried that she would be bored and that she’d be begging to leave before the game was half over. In fact, she was enthralled, though she didn’t understand everything. She was especially taken by the off-beat entertainment between innings. I was caught up in her wonder, standing and cheering with her so much that the teenagers behind me finally shouted, “Down in front!”

The game lasted longer than expected. By the seventh inning, it was past my daughter's bed time, and I suggested to her that we leave. She said she wanted to stay. Finally, after the eighth inning, I insisted that we leave. She begged me to stay, pleading, “I never want it to end!”

Then I remembered: I didn’t want the first game I attended to end, either. So we stayed. We stayed for all nine innings, including the bottom of the ninth, which was necessary because the home team, the San Jose Giants, was trailing after the top of the ninth. Half the fans left before the end of the game, but Christina and I stayed for every pitch.

My grandfather had long since died, but my eighty-five-year-old uncle, who I hadn’t seen in years, was still alive. The next day, I wrote him a letter, reminding him of my first game and telling him about Christina’s first game. Of my first game, I wrote, “I’ll never forget it.” Of my uncle, I wrote, “I’ll never forget you.”

Jesus tells us that the Father gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11). Is it too much to suppose that he might even give us love for something as seemingly trivial as a game—a love that unites a father with his daughter, a love that reunites a nephew with his uncle? On a summer night in San Jose, I didn’t think so.
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