My Wedding day was one of my favorite days.
So was the day I got my first promo copy of Split Rock Road.
When the Giants beat the 18–0 Patriots was a good day too.
So were all the Yankee WS victories in my lifetime (7 at this writing).
My first kiss was a good day.
Walking into that church basement and laying eyes on the short Italian girl with the badass attitude was a great day!
But the best day of my life — May 17th, 1998
It was a Sunday. A beautiful spring day. My brother Keith called me early that morning, asking if I wanted to go to the stadium with him and the old man. He worked for Maury Povich at the time, and he got Maury’s box seats for the game. He had an extra. But he also knew that I had a softball game that day; a doubleheader, in fact. And despite my negligible athletic skills, he knew that I was committed to the idea of team.
He wasn’t surprised.
He went off to catch the the D train to the Bronx, while I collected my gear and headed to my afternoon doubleheader.
I don’t remember who we played. I don’t remember if we won. But late that afternoon, as a car parked next to the the field carried the last inning of the Yankee game, I can still remember the excitement in John Sterling’s voice as he called the last out —
“POPPED UP. He’s gonna get it. O’Neil…. near the line…
MAKES THE CATCH!
DAVID WELLS HAS PITCHED A PERFECT GAME!
I dropped my head and laughed to myself. I looked over at my teammates.
“I had a ticket for today.”
“You shoulda went.” One of them responded as the rest of them laughed.
When I got home, I saw the flashing light on my answering machine.
I knew who it was.
The call was from a payphone, inside the bowels of the stadium. I could hear the whoops of excitement in the background before my old man’s voice cut through the din.
“Hey Jimmy, I hope your game was good. This one sucked. There were no hits in it.”
Of all the things I’ve lost, I’d cut off a finger to have that tape in my possession.
Hours later, I got calls from both of them. We went over every moment of the game that they could remember. MSG replayed it that night.
I’ve watched it hundreds of times. It will be on again today. I’ll probably watch it again.
But not once have I regretted my decision. Not for a second.
I was born first. Me and the old man had lots of memories before my brother came along, including that profile pic atop my FB page.
And the three of us had a multitude of adventures together.
So did my brother and I.
My brother and I were at the NFC playoff game in 86 when the Giants beat the 49ers 49–3
I was with my old man the following week when the Giants won the NFC championship over the Skins.
The three of us were together when the Giants won the NFC championship in 2000.
And we were together when we went to Camden Yards for the first time.
And Jacobs field.
And every major roller coaster park on the east coast.
And multiple spring trainings in Tampa.
It wasn’t just sports.
There was the time he took us to see “Tommy” at the Ziegfeld when I was 10.
And countless weddings and surprise parties.
And yearly tradition of heading into the city on Christmas Eve to do our shopping.
But May 17th, 1998 was the best day ever.
It was the only day they had all to themselves.
Just two 2nd sons, sitting out in the Bronx on a beautiful spring day, watching history being made.
I may be a little jealous, but I wouldn’t change it for a minute.
Best day of my life, and I wasn’t even there.
And a tip of the hat to Boomer; for one day, you were perfect.