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"They're not that easy to hit," John said.
June 21, 2010 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Last week, before Jack McDonald died, he told his son, Toronto Blue Jays utility infielder John McDonald (14 home runs in a 12 year professional career), to hit a home run for him when he went back to the team. "They're not that easy to hit," John said.

John rejoined his team and got his first at-bat in the ninth inning this past Sunday. Father's Day.
posted by dirtdirt (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's something in my eye. Excuse me while I go wash it out.
posted by deezil at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome. Good for him. The hardest thing I ever had to do was play taps at my Grandpa's funeral when I was 12, I imagine this was a bit similar for Mr. McDonald.
posted by sciurus at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2010


Awesome. Good for him. The hardest thing I ever had to do was play taps at my Grandpa's funeral when I was 12, I imagine this was a bit similar for Mr. McDonald.
posted by sciurus at 10:40 AM on June 21 [+] [!]


The hardest thing I ever had to do was play taps at MY grandfather's funeral when I was 14. I'm right there with you, sciurus.
posted by GamblingBlues at 8:10 AM on June 21, 2010


Had I been pitching, since my team was comfortably ahead, I'd have grooved one to him. Or at least had the catcher tell him what was coming. I doubt that happened, but I would have done it.
posted by Danf at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2010


What makes this extra special is that Johnny Mac, a fan-favourite in Toronto, is not an everyday player. He's a defensive specialist, not particularly known for his offensive talents. They love him in Toronto not (only) because he's a wizard with his glove but also because he's one of the nicest, humblest guys you will ever meet. You can't help but cheer for him.
posted by synecdoche at 8:14 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. That's wonderful.

There seems to be something in my eye.
posted by zarq at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2010


The FPP has it as the dad "asking [him] to hit a home run for him when he went back to the team." The article describes it a bit differently, though: 'We had talked about the type of player I am before I came back [...] and the fact that I don't hit a lot of home runs. He said, 'Hit your next one for me.' So the fact that I got that out of the way quick was nice."

The dad didn't ask that the son hit a home run for him, he said that when his son DID hit his next home run, think of it as being for his dad. It's a minor difference, but it makes the story MORE powerful to me: originally I read the story as a father being almost a bit of a jerk and request that his son, who was grieving over his death, do something that he admittedly didn't do that often, unlikely to happen, and not entirely in his power.

But instead the story is quite sweet. His father just wanted his son to think of him next time he hit a home run...and the son, who doesn't hit a lot of home runs, did so on his very next at bat.

I also found this detail to be really touching as well: "Prior to Sunday's game, McDonald's teammates presented him with a Blue Jays jersey bearing each of their signatures, [his father]'s name and No. 25 -- the number he wore throughout his umpiring career in East Lyme, Conn., and neighboring towns." Aw...
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:59 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm always glad (if a little jealous) to see other people having a special fathers' day moments.

I couldn't read this yesterday, but today, I'm at a coffee shop sending resumes. I need to take a break now because I have something in my eye and can't quite see the screen.
posted by bilabial at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2010


Good on ya, Johnny Mac.
posted by pised at 9:42 AM on June 21, 2010


Ian A.T. - the first article I read about this framed it in my brain the way that I framed it in the FPP (clearly, because I plagiarized at least part of the phrasing!):

"Before Jack McDonald died, he told his son to hit a home run for him when he went back to the team." Extra Bases blog.

...but the direct quote in the linked article (which I used because of the video) is pretty clearly along the "next time you hit one, make it for me" line.

Subjectivity in the face of a good story is hard to maintain. Did McDonald soften what his dad said to counter the "bit of a jerk" impression, or did Abraham over at the Globe take it differently because he heard a different quote, or because he was beholden to a different framing of that narrative, or what? In any case, it's interesting how quickly this sort of thing becomes gauzy and mythological. This happened yesterday.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:49 AM on June 21, 2010


...which is not to say that Johnny Mac did anything or changed anything or anything like that! But many times I've heard people say the same story several subtly different ways, as the framing of it becomes more concrete in their mind. With something as powerful as this I can imagine the sharp edges, if there are any, being worn away in the telling, through the natural processes of, well, processing.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:52 AM on June 21, 2010


Oh, I should have been more clear. I totally wasn't implying that you were either intentionally or unintentionally distorting the story, I was just trying to comment on how a minor variation in wording ("hit one for me" vs "next time you hit one, it'll be for me")--one that many people might see as identical--actually shades the meaning quite a bit. In fact, I was trying to say what you just said, about how these sorts of things get mythologized, but you did it in a much more articulate way. (Sorry if my comment looked like a callout.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:22 AM on June 21, 2010


Not at all! And, similarly, sorry if it looks like I was calling you out for calling me out!
posted by dirtdirt at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2010


That was truly awesome.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:34 AM on June 21, 2010


A few days after my mother died, I made a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought back to the days just before she died, when she asked me, "make a grilled cheese sandwich for me." I told her "They're not that easy to make."
As I ate the grilled cheese sandwich, I realized it was Mother's Day.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Danf: "Had I been pitching, since my team was comfortably ahead, I'd have grooved one to him. Or at least had the catcher tell him what was coming. I doubt that happened, but I would have done it."

This was the sort of the first thing that came to my mind. I thought, "How nice of the catcher to tell him a fastball was coming." Regardless, another great baseball story. Good on Johnny Mac!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2010


charlie don't surf, I'm sorry you lost your very dysfunctional mother.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:42 AM on June 21, 2010


Shouldn't peel onions when I watch things like this...
posted by Quasimike at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2010


There's no crying in base - uh, base jumping. Definitely no crying in base jumping because you'll, um, forget to open your parachute or something...
posted by ericbop at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2010


Providence College baseball, RIP-resent.
posted by yerfatma at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2010


what's with this baseball season making me all weepy?
posted by rainperimeter at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


:--- | .
posted by chavenet at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2010


I was at that game, what a story. Good for MacDonald :o)
posted by radiocontrolled at 3:50 PM on June 21, 2010


Paul O'Neill promised Kramer he'd hit two home runs even though he also said they're not that easy to hit.
posted by fairmettle at 2:36 AM on June 22, 2010


... something ... in my eye ... damn ...
posted by GatorDavid at 8:42 PM on July 5, 2010


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