This weekend's series between the Padres and the Detroit Tigers at Petco Park marked the 30th anniversary of the two teams playing in the World Series in 1984.
It means so much more for me. Growing up in Michigan, I was a die-hard Tigers fan, a trait I picked up at an early age from my father. He took me to Game 4 of that series, one of my earliest and fondest memories from childhood.
For those who don’t recall, the Tigers won that series, four games to one, to win their first World Series in almost two decades.
So many things about that team stand out to me and will always be ingrained in my brain: Jack Morris throwing a no-hitter in the first weekend of the season (watched with my dad on the couch). Fans doing the wave at the old Tiger Stadium (watched with him when he took me to a game during the regular season). The way they rolled through the playoffs (he took me to the ALCS clincher too).
I remember watching the Padres win the National League Championship Series. I didn’t know much about the team back then. Their manager (Dick Williams) looked old, just like ours (Sparky Anderson). They beat the Cubs, but didn’t everybody? Their jerseys were ugly. Steve Garvey was an awesome player. And their relief pitcher, Goose Gossage, had a crazy mustache. These are the things that rattle around the head of a youngster.
I’ll never forget that Game 4. Alan Trammell hit two home runs. Jack Morris pitched the entire game for the 4-2 win. And all was well in my little kid world.
My dad actually had tickets to the next game of the series – the one where the Tigers clinched their first World Series since 1968 – but he decided to take his new girlfriend at the time. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t mad. But I was able to let it go, especially since they’ve now been married for 25 years.
Especially because we were champs, and I was one happy kid.
After the Tigers won the clinching game, fans ran on the field to celebrate. Some of them threw chunks of sod from the outfield into the stands. My dad caught one of those chunks, brought it home and planted it in our back yard. There it grew for years. When we moved, we took the sod with us. That piece of Tigers history will be with us forever, growing in our back yard.
I was able to relive some of those memories this weekend. Pops flew out from Michigan and we went to all three games together. It was amazing.
It's such a cliche, but still so true: Baseball brings fathers and sons together. It always has, it always will.
In "City Slickers," Billy Crystal and his friends remember being a teenagers and having nothing to talk about with their dads except for the sport.
James Earl Jones waxes poetic in his booming voice in “Field of Dreams,” talking about the power of “BASE-ball” with an emphasis only he can provide.
It’s no different with us. The Tigers have always been a special bond. They will always be our team, just like any number of fathers and sons all over.
So we watched all three games, exploring Petco Park along the way and talking about great players past. We probably ate more hot dogs than is healthy for anybody in one weekend, but that’s the way it is.
For me, it was something I’ll never forget. It was me and my dad, watching baseball. Thirty years after that amazing season, we’re still making memories at the ballpark.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Matthew Wood covers the Padres for #OnFriar. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @mcarloswood.