The Decision: 1993, Minus Jim Gray and 10 Million Viewers

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Major League Baseball
Tags: , , , ,

By Phil Bausk

I grew up in a very independent household. My father worked late nights as a stockbroker and my mother was a teacher and helped run a day camp center throughout my childhood. This led to a lot of after school activities, which included organized sports. The first sport I truly fell in love with was baseball. As a heavier child, I didn’t like to run (Nix basketball, soccer, and football), and I needed something that would teach me how to focus, as opposed to being so ADD that I would end up goofing off at work 18 years later….

This made my father extremely happy. He was a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan for as long as he could remember, and was looking forward to taking me up to Fenway Park for my first baseball game. I remember him carrying me around the park, pointing out things that, at the time, I didn’t care about at all, such as The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and even the Bermuda Triangle out there in Right Center field.

We watched the Red Sox get embarrassed by the Toronto Blue Jays (Yes, they still wore these classics), but I remember leaving that ballpark knowing that I had fallen in love for the first time. Not with Joanna Scott, my adorable 7 year-old next door neighbor, but with the Boston Red Sox, a baseball team that would send me on so many emotional roller coasters throughout my life that I am surprised I have no pictures of me screaming on the way down.

This is what connects me to my father, who passed away this year at the age of 60, more than anything. Sheldon J. Bausk taught me more about life than anyone I have ever known, or will probably meet. From a young age, he would use sports and other aspects of life to teach me valuable life lessons. When teaching me how to shoot a basketball, he would say take your time, line it up, and when your comfortable, let it fly. Not only has this given me a decent jump shot, but it has also prepared me for a lot of situations I’ve come across in my every day life. I find myself still asking him for advice, and while I know he can’t actually say anything back to me, I have a good idea of what his response would’ve been.

This is how I became a Boston Red Sox fan for life. I spent countless hours watching games, whether it be skipping school to watch opening day, or staying up till 4 AM to watch them lose to the Oakland Athletics in Japan, nothing was a bigger priority to me than watching the Sox play. My father would call me after every important game and he would take me to at least one Yankee-Red Sox game a year, reminding me that its more fun to be the underdog and that the Bausk men perform best when everyone is counting them out.

Girlfriends would be upset when I wanted to watch a west coast game, rather than go out or talk on the phone. Homework, tests, and papers were neglected to watch Pedro Martinez pitch, and  then watch his post game press conference. Teachers would complain to my parents that on days where the Red Sox played at 1 o’clock, I would leave class and attempt to get the game on my Walkman (Yeah, I still have it) on the 1080 radio station.  This is what my father had brought upon himself. My mom screaming at him because I was a C student who would rather watch Tim Wakefield lob pitch after pitch over the plate then get above a 60 on any math test (Funfact: I went 19 months without passing a math test in High School).

But that was my Dad. He just didn’t really care as much because he knew that I wasn’t an idiot. He would tell me that I should try harder in school but he never pushed me to. I knew he had my back every time I came home with a failing grade and that in the end, everything would work itself out. Some may say this is irresponsible, but I think it helped me become who I am today, someone I am definitely not complaining about.

4 years ago my father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. He wasn’t expected to live past 3 years, and his quality of life was expected to be worse than it was at the time. But like I said before, you can’t count out the Bausk men until the final whistle. He managed to live longer than doctors expected, maintaining a high quality of life, which included the most memorable trip I had with him towards the end of his life.

Nearly 2 years ago, my friend Brian Cury and his father were nice enough to take us to Yankees-Red Sox in Fenway Park, something me and my dad had never actually done together. At the time, my father had trouble walking and wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to make the trip. He brought along his cane, a tool he didn’t need to use about a month after that trip, and was able to keep up with me, Brian, and Brian’s father.

Somewhere in my mind, I kind of knew it was probably the last time my dad would see Fenway Park, but I didn’t want to admit it.  We saw a great game, as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3 in a comeback effort. It was just like any other game between me and my dad. We sat pensively, talking about the game, the rest of the season, and old memories my dad remembered from when he watched games growing up.

The reason why I will never forget that game was because at the end of it, my dad hugged me, kissed me, and thanked me for taking him. While I  wasn’t responsible for getting the tickets, or even driving up to the game, it was the first time my father thanked me for taking him to a sporting event. It was almost like a right of passage, as now I was becoming an adult and he needed me to help take care of him.

My father lived for another 18 months after that game, seeing his youngest daughter get married, his youngest son officially graduate college, and his other children taking care of their own families. He got to see 2 Red Sox World Series championships, 2 more than he told me he thought he would ever see in his lifetime.

After big Red Sox games now, I still expect to get a phone call from him to talk about the game and see how I am doing at my new job (though I don’t know if he’d be thrilled about me blogging at work). It is hard not to think about him while doing the simplest tasks because I know he would be proud of me because that’s just the kind of guy he was. Some people say I am a lot like him, and if that is really the case, that means he did a hell of a job raising me.

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Comments
  1. roomie69 says:

    good stuff, phil. come next door and give me a kiss.

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