Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jim & His Son Andy

Although this coming Sunday, September 23rd is the Final Game to be played at RFK Stadium by Our Washington Nationals--yesterday was The Final Game for one of The Old Ballyards Biggest Fans--Jim Doyle.

From 1968 through 1971--Jim was a Season Ticket Holder for The Washington Senators. His seats during those Final Seasons of American League Baseball in The Nation's Capital were in Section 320, Row 2--Seats 16 & 17. As a child, his son Andy fondly remembers attending many a Senators Games, cheering on Frank Howard, Dick Bosman, Eddie Brinkman and a host of others. While, at the same time--booing The New York Yankees. Yes, even in the late 60's, early 70's--someone was chanting "YANKEES SUCK".

Of course--at that time in baseball history--The Yankees Did Suck. And, so did The Washington Senators--expect for that Fabulous 1969 Renassaince Season when Ted Williams took over as Manager.

Jim Doyle was, and is--a HUGE BASEBALL FAN. Never did he believe ANY TEAM would return to call Washington, DC its home. Yet, when the stars all finally aligned in late 2004--The Montreal Expos became Our Washington Nationals. Jim Doyle was now retired. His son--Andy--now the working man, with a family of his own.

As a huge surprise for Christmas, 2004--Andy Doyle presented his Dad with a GIFT for THE AGES. Washington Nationals SEASON TICKETS to be shared among his family and friends.

Those Seats at Newly Renovated RFK STADIUM? Yes, you guessed it: Section 320, Row 2, Seats 16 & 17.

Don't ever tell me people don't care about RFK STADIUM. Jim Doyle does--and he loved every moment sitting beside his Son, His Wife and His Grandchildren over the past three seasons.

Sunday was a sad day for all of us in Section 320--and it had nothing to do with a loss to The Atlanta Braves. Jim Doyle witnessed his Final Game at the ballpark where, alongside his son Andy--they bonded as only a Father & Son can--some 38 Years Ago. Not a single one of us in Section 320--did not take notice of the poignient moment.

Yes, Jim Doyle is coming with us to New Nationals Park for 2008. But, an ERA came to an end yesterday on East Capital Street. Our Friend, and Section 320 Compatriot will no longer be sitting in his accustomed seat.

Sunday, September 16, 2007--will never be forgotten among Fellow Section 320's.

Mr. & Mrs. MickNats both exclaiming: "Now--If we can only get Our Washington Nationals to GIVE HIM THOSE SEATS--One Day."

Nothing would be more appropriate.


SenatorNat said...

This is a very nice post, emblematic of scores of fathers and sons who collected priceless memories via going to Senators and Redskins games at D.C. Stadium and RFK. Jim Doyle is a distinguished vibrant Washingtonian, great role model, and it is therefore difficult to understand what happened to Andy!!

That is a joke, since Andy and I are longtime colleagues and friends and we share the seats in Section 320.

My own Dad and I were frequent fans at Senators-Redskins games. Indeed, I attended a Redskins game in December, 1961 (the Santa Claus game) where we lost 12-6, I believe, to the Steelers, sitting in the Mezzanine, which was quite a novel experience.

In April, 1962, Dad worked at the White House, so we were able to be part of the Kennedy entourage, when he threw out the first ball at the Senators-Tigers opener, won by the Nats, 3-1 behind Bennie Daniels excellent pitching.

We went to the All-Star game that year at D.C. Stadium, won by the NL 3-1, where JFK offered his famous aside to Stan Musial, "They said you were too old, and I was too young to be here {42}, but here we both landed!"

And, we went to hundreds of Redskins-Senator games over the next decade, including all the home games of The Streak in 1969, where my Dad relished yelling to Ed Stroud, actually in jest, ("The Streak"): "Stroud, You are a Bum!" to which to our great delight and surprise Stroud responded by stealing home!

We were there for Sonny's last harrah: as he rifled it in to running back Larry Smith to beat the Dolphins at the end of the game early in the 1973 season for a measure of revenge v. the team that had been perfect and bested them at the LA Super Bowl VII earlier that January...

And, the Sunday just after his death, I cheered my lungs out as Dexter Manley knocked Danny White out of the game in frigid January, 1983, and the Redskins went on to their first winning Super Bowl...

Friday night, my little son, T.J., and I sat through the rain,for hours, and endured what looked like a come-from-behind win v. the Braves.

Named for my Dad, it is likely that RFK will be for T.J. a dim recollection of "the old stadium the Nats first played in;" while the Nationals Park will be the site of the two of us attending many terrific memorable baseball games.

And - so it goes.

Trust in Baseball. All Good.

Anonymous said...

The African Queen and SBF:

Your blog brought fond memories of the past three years to mind (and also dampness to my eyes). I shall never forget you and the 320’s that made me so welcome. The Nats have no greater fans, nor none so vociferous.

One thing, especially ,stands out in my mind: all of that 320 noise was good noise, noise of support for the Nats no matter how badly a game was going.. None of the cheers (or the groans, and we had our share of those) contained one single expletive or angry or derogatory word or comment on anyone. (Hey, I’m no saint; I just noticed.)

Guys or girls, everyone was active and involved with every play, every pitch, and knowledgeable about what was going on. You all are true baseball fans, in the best sense of the word.

I was already lucky when I settled into the same seat next to Andy, on April 14, 2005, for the first time since September 30, 1971. I became luckier yet to be surrounded by such good friends. Thanks for everything.

Go Nats!

Jim Doyle

Anonymous said...

Very touching post! This is why SBF you have a wonderful Fan perspecitve blog! Thank you so much for keeping this blog update everyday!