Our family is a baseball family. The Martinez clan has been in the States for 50 years now. Our shared lineage owes its “American” roots to our grandfather, Pablo Martinez Sr. He came here as a brasero first and then uprooted our family and brought them to the southwest side of Chicago to settle down. There your father was born into the deep traditions of our people and our family, one of which is baseball.
One day your father will tell you stories which seem absurd (“Grandpa left me in the car while I was sleeping in the parking lot of Comiskey”) but whose factual content can be confirmed by several members of our family. He was given the game by his father who shared with him the deep history of baseball as it was in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Your father, Pablo Jr., and grandfather, Pablo Sr., then played a key role in passing down the game to me via the tools to play the game, the tickets to watch the game, and the stories to give the game flavor, context, and romance.
This is what we do, and what I hope we will continue to do. We pass down the game from one generation to the next as a form of oral storytelling and festive gift giving. We share baseball across a few generations now. You’ll never meet your father’s father, but his memory and image burns vividly in our consciousness and for me part of those memories is fondly tied to this game. Given your father I suspect you’ll be raised as a White Sox fan but I’ll try not to hold that against you; like me you had no choice in your developmental years.
One day I’ll tell you about the time we would drive around in his navy blue Ford Taurus on hot summer excursions to the hardware store as he would regale me with stories of Moose Skowron and Wilbur Wood.
One day I’ll share with you the memories of playing catch with our grandfather when I was 10. He didn’t have a mitt that fit him so he’d catch bare handed.
One day you’ll see the Old Comiskey seats we own as a family, and no doubt as a native son of Washington DC you’ll see your fair share of exciting baseball at Nats Park.
But today, on Christmas Eve, on behalf of the Martinez family, I simply give you the game. I hope you grow to love it.
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