Baseball Stories: A Bittersweet Goodbye

Just this past weekend, we went to San Francisco’s AT&T Park to see the hometown baseball team, the Giants, play the Chicago Cubs. And we happened to sit in front of a fairly large group of people who all wore matching t-shirts. Not orange-and-black Giants’ shirts, or even Cubs’ shirts, but custom t-shirts bearing the name and photograph of the same man.

As any true baseball fan knows, there can be real camaraderie in the stands. People tend to talk to each other, find out where others are from, joke, discuss and even (mostly civilly) argue about the team and the game. But because I was with my family, and because I was keeping score, and because it was a gorgeous day and an action-packed close game, I didn’t give our neighbors, or their matching shirts, more than a second’s thought. On a cold night, or during a slow game I might well have.

After the game was over, many in our section took a few moments to savor the Giants’ victory and talk a bit. I took a closer look at those t-shirts and saw what appeared to be dates of birth and death. A young man wearing the shirt noticed me looking, perhaps a bit too intently; I was a little embarrassed.

“Someone close to you?”

“My dad. He passed a couple of weeks ago.”

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to be nosy.”

“He loved the Giants, so we decided to celebrate his life at a game. He and I sat together right up there (pointing to the upper deck) for the World Series in 2010, so I put some of his ashes there. We’re going to put the rest in McCovey Cove (the little lagoon just outside the ballpark) right now.”

“That’s beautiful, man.”

“Yeah, it really is.”

Just the thought of it made me choke up. This young man, bearing a portrait on his chest like a heraldic crest and carrying an urn, together with his family, went off to spread his father’s ashes in a place that meant something special to him in life. And as a lifelong Giants’ fan myself, I can’t think of a more fitting resting place or a more beautiful tribute.

15 thoughts on “Baseball Stories: A Bittersweet Goodbye

  1. Brent- a sweet reminder of what matters most in life. Thank you for your quick blogs reflecting on important life topics

  2. This was so touching and I, along with the rest of the Stammler family and friends that were there at AT&T park Sunday, wish to thank you for your words.

  3. Hey I’m the young man that you spoke to at the game, I just want to say thank you for your love and support, this article game me the chills! Just want to share with you how much this touched my family!! Thanks again and GO GIANTS!!!!

    Thanks Sincerely,
    Brian Stammler and the Stammler Family

    1. Brian,
      I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I was really touched by talking with you at the game and seeing the love and togetherness your family showed toward each other and your dad’s memory.
      Thanks for reaching out.
      I wish you all the best,
      Brent

  4. Thank you Brent for sharing my nephew’s story. This was a special moment and you brought it home! You truly are the person to look to when things go south. Craig was a true Giant and a faithful Giants fan.

  5. Dang man this gave me chills readin this was my uncle n its just great to know people notice my family greatly apreaciates u man i was the youngest at the left side nearest to the stairs

  6. Thank you Brant for the very kind words…Craig Stammler was my brother and the best man you could ever meet. I too was at the game and I wish I could have met you & your family. This is very cool, thanks again.

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