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Aug 26

Truly America’s Pastime-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

In the English-language we use certain phrases or words, we then say we truly understand the meaning of that word or phrase, but do we really? Baseball is commonly known as America’s pastime, what thoughts come to a person’s mind when they hear that phrase, traditionally hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet as the cliché states. What comes to my mind when I hear that phrase is my family more specifically my grandparents, who have all begun their second life, but every time I watch a baseball game I can’t help but think of them. As the New York Mets try to capture a National League East Division Championship, I am reminded of the year 1999, some people may quip it’s easy to remember that year because the Mets have only made the playoffs three times in the last 15 years. That year the Mets won the National League Wild Card and Went on to the National League Championship Series where they lost to their archrivals the Atlanta Braves.

During the 1999 season Sundays for me meant two things, naturally I would be watching the Mets ‘game and secondly my family would be going to Staten Island New York to visit my father’s parents. I am not sure why, but my grandfather who prior to that time didn’t seem to follow baseball closely decided to start to follow the Mets. I think it was because he saw what a diehard fan I was. At the time my grandfather was battling lung cancer so he wasn’t at his best, but when 1:10 PM came he made sure to have someone turn on the game. I can remember one Sunday in particular, the Mets were playing the Yankees: the Subway Series, my dad who is a Yankees’ fan was also watching the game. The Mets were losing in the bottom of the ninth, their last chance to score. Mariano Rivera was on the mound for the Yankees, arguably the best closer in baseball history, so the Mets’ hopes looked bleak. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs Matt Franco who was one of the most reliable pinch hitters that year came up to the plate and drove in two runs which gave the Mets the victory. My grandfather and I had big smiles on our faces while my dad sheepishly grinned. My parents would call my grandparents every night, my grandfather would tell my grandmother to tell my parents to tell me that he was watching the game and that they were doing really well. My parents would jokingly respond by saying something like we could tell Anthony is going crazy.

When July came around my family and I traveled down to Florida to visit my mom’s family including her father. Like my grandfather in New York, my grandfather in Florida also supported his local team, the Tampa Bay Rays. During my vacation my grandfather would try and convince me to support the Rays I would respectfully say no thank you. While we were at his house however I would watch the Rays’ game with him. Meanwhile since I was out of the New York television market, my grandfather from New York would call to give me updates on the Mets. I would say baseball brought my family closer together, because we spent that time watching the games as a family enjoying one of America’s well-known staples.

As I said earlier, my grandparents have all begun their second life, but they are still with me, because every time I watch a baseball game or more specifically a Mets or Rays’ victory I think of them. As we head into baseball’s most exciting month, September the Mets and the Rays are both chasing playoff berths, and I know my grandparents are watching the games wherever they are, and I also know the Bonellis and Onieals have joined together as one rooting section to root for both teams, truly what America’s pastime means.