Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thanks For The Memories


James T. Doyle was an Original Section 320 Faithful at RFK Stadium, well before Our Washington Nationals transferred from Montreal, Quebec--Canada in 2005 to The Nation's Capital. You see, from 1968 through 1971, Jim Doyle was a Full Season Ticket Holder for The Washington Senators. In Section 320 at originally called D.C. Stadium, Mr. Doyle had tickets in Row 2, Seats 16 & 17. Along side him sat his young son, Andy, many times.

A Father and A Son sharing their love of the great game of baseball--together. That time honored tradition that has been passed on, generation after generation, among untold numbers of American Families throughout these United States.

Baseball truly is life like no other sport in this country and The Doyles shared many enjoyable moments together at the Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street until September 30th, 1971. The night their favorite team, The Washington Senators--Died.

The heartbreaking end for Major League Baseball in Washington, D.C. for nearly 34 years.

Despite hometown baseball no longer in their lives, Jim's & Andy's lives went on. Mr. Doyle continued his decorated career as an official in The U.S. Foreign Service and made overseas residences in Paris, France; Bonn & Berlin Germany; as well as, Dakar, Senegal. The neighboring country to The African Queen's The Gambia.

Following in his father's well grounded lead, Andy is today a successful businessman right here in Washington.

And like most all fathers and sons, The Doyles still shared moments together at ballparks after the Senators left town. Sometimes back at RFK watching The Washington Redskins. Or, maybe over at The Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland; then eventually back downtown at originally MCI Center (now Verizon Center) taking in a Washington Bullets/Wizards Basketball Game or Washington Capitals Hockey Game.

But their outings were never quite like their times shared on East Capitol Street those last four seasons of The Washington Senators.

By the time Our Washington Nationals arrived in D.C., Jim Doyle was already retired. He and his wife, Betty, had moved from Annapolis, Maryland to Cape Coral, Florida. But a longing for home found Jim & Betty now back in Northern Virginia. A perfect setup for a Son to thank his Dad for all the love and attention Jim had given Andy growing up in late 1960's and early 1970's.

Now the working man with a family of his own, Andy surprised his Dad with Full Season Tickets to The Inaugural Season of Our Washington Nationals in 2005. To make the moment even more special, Andy honored Jim by purchasing the exact same seats his Dad owned for The Senators from 1968 to 1971.

Section 320, Row 2, Seats 16 & 17.

That's right, this was a match made in heaven.

For all three seasons Our Washington Nationals played at RFK Stadium, Jim Doyle attended countless ballgames along with his son--Andy. Many times, Jim also attended with his wife, Betty. Other days, even with his granddaughter--Erin. But at all times, James T. Doyle became a Big Part of all the fun and laughter everyone enjoyed in Old Section 320. Mr. Doyle loved the constant cheering, the camaraderie and the friendships that flourished there. It's where The African Queen and I first meet him. It's also where MickNats & Mary, The Noise Boys, Abby with her parents--Becky & Mike in tow, and of course, SenatorNat--combined with many others to help form one of best rooting sections any team could ever enjoy.

Anywhere.

There was nothing quite like Section 320 at RFK Stadium for games involving Our Washington Nationals. And there was nothing quite like experiencing Jim & Andy Doyle sitting together again at The Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street taking in a Major League Game--in the very same two seats they first shared their love of Washington Baseball in 1968. Missing a true home side for nearly 34 years on the local diamond didn't spoil their memories.

Thankfully, Nationals Baseball only enhanced it. Andy Doyle still retains Season Tickets today at Nationals Park.

Yes, Baseball Is Life and their heartwarming story needs to be told again.

Because sadly, James T. Doyle passed away last week after a long illness. He was 81 years old.

While Old Section 320 lost a great friend and ardent Senators/Nationals Fan--Andy Doyle lost his father--and his best friend.

Our hearts go out to Jim's surviving wife, Betty, and to Andy's large and extended family.

Rest In Peace--Jim.

And Thanks For The Memories.

PS--James T Doyle will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to: Capital Hospice, Attn: Development Office, 6565 Arlington Blvd., Suite 500, Falls Church, VA 22042

6 comments:

ckstevenson said...

Thanks so much for sharing, sad but heart-warming.

paul said...

That was a nice tribute.

My dad is 86. He is frail and can barely walk around his apartment, and I appreciate all the time I can spend with him.

Recently I read that the folks at Strat-O-Matic created a Negro Leagues edition. For old time's sake, I called up my Dad and asked for the card set for my birthday. The last present I asked him for was in 1969, for the 1969 card set. I was very excited then, as I am now. Read the article. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/sports/baseball/08strato.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=negro%20leagues%20strat-o-matic&st=cse

They have done a lot of research to put this together. I propose we have a Hot Stove League of Negro baseball. Does anyone want to be in? Arlington seems to be the equidistant point for our fan base. Are there any Arlingtonians willing to host? I would also be willing to lend anyone my card set.

Bang the Drum Natly said...

SBF, thank you for a most beautifully written post.

Andy, my heartfelt condolences go to you and your family on your loss.
I will cherish those RFK 320 days, evenings (and occasional post-midnight finishes) as long as I live, and watching them with you and your father (along with all the other 320 originals SBF listed) was an absolute joy. Your father was an outstanding human being - warm, funny and gracious. Much like his son. He will be missed indeed. Again, my heart goes out to you and yours.

Most sincerely,
Rob Black

SenatorNat said...

Concur with wonderful post and fitting comments herein, except that having worked for Andy for 20 years, I had no idea that he had a sense of humor!! Seriously, SBF, et al, have made the Nationals experience a family-like one. This is the Number One lesson for new sports owners, and they had better learn it quickly and well, no matter how seasoned they may view themselves - it is NOT like any of their other ventures. Once born, the franchise is a communal event, a living organism to be nurtured, shared, and worried-over. Distinguished men and women give their allegiance and experience to the team the attribution reserved for important life characteristics, accomplishments, and strivings.

I recall when Jim send me a note chronicling those 6 seasons since 1904 in which the Senators lost 100 or more games, to contrast it with the two already in the Nationals short five years - this was a prominent part of his life. My own Father worked at the White House in 1962 so we were able to be part of the presidential entourage at the Opener at D.C. Stadium, which Nats won over Tigers with Bennie Daniels pitching. As SBF says, this Father-Son baseball connection very typical - I am able to take my young son to Nationals games, including this year two walk-off wins!!

Trust in All in the Family. And the memory of one of our most gracious members of the old Section 320 gang...All Respectful.

gleason2 said...

Dear SBF,

I think that I was more moved by your post about Mr. Doyle than anything else of yours that I've read. Perhaps this is because I lost my own father back in April. Unfortunately, because of my father's health, he was able to make it to only 1 or 2 Nats games back in 2005, and never made it to another in any of the subsequent 4 seasons. He did watch many of the games on TV, however, so to that extent he was able to enjoy the return of baseball to DC. Most of my baseball experiences with my dad were our 2 or 3 trips up to Baltimore each spring and summer. I'm really glad that Andy had the chance to sit through many games with his dad after the Nationals returned. I think that you have honored Mr. Doyle with just the right touch. Thanks for writing this.

Tom said...

This entry is what sets Nats320 apart from all the other sports blogs in town. You really are telling the story of the family of fans in DC who support their beloved Nats no matter how much they win or loose. I look forward to the next chapter in this story of life called the 2010 season. Keep up the good work.