As some of you active on Twitter may know, friend-of-the-Continuum Jen Mac Ramos’ family was involved in a horrific car accident this past weekend. A drunk driver struck their car, killing Jen’s husband Josh and leaving Jen with severe injuries. A GoFundMe site has been set up to help pay for Jen’s medical expenses and recovery, and anyone looking to donate is encouraged to head there as soon as possible.
I would not be able to claim that I know Jen, although I have often liked Jen’s Tweets and read Jen’s work, but In some way we can see a piece of Jen by reading the piece they contributed to the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon. Entitled “Baseball Bonds,” it was one of my favorite pieces of that inaugural (and ultimately only, as my real job forced me to cut back) Blogathon. You can find it with only minimal edits (removing things about the Blogathon and updating Jen’s bio to note this was written in 2016) after the jump:
I was 16 when I first took an interest in baseball. I didn’t grow up with sports and I leaned more toward art than anything else.
Something changed, though. I watched an NLDS game on a whim in 2007 and thought, “Hey, I actually like this sport.” I grew more invested as the Postseason went on and I knew this wasn’t going to be something that leaves me.
My father was a Mets fan when he lived in New Jersey in the 1980s. He can tell you stories about watching the 1986 Mets.
Growing up, a love of baseball was never instilled in me, though. Instead, I was the one who brought baseball into the family.
At first, my father thought that I had gotten interested in baseball because my friend at the time loved baseball.
I remember getting into a fight about it with him before my first game—Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics, May 24, 2008. He told me that it wasn’t something that I had ever been interested in before, but I know that I was going to be interested in it for a long time.
I dragged my father to more games. I was about 18 then and I didn’t have a car. After a while, I guess he realized that I truly loved the sport and everything surrounding it.
He began watching games when I wasn’t around. I had gone to college in Oakland—about two hours away from my hometown—and he would call me after the Giants game to talk about it. He would also watch A’s games, because my brother became a fan after that game in 2008.
2014 came around and my dad and I went to New Jersey. I had originally planned to go to Trenton alone to see the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants’ Double-A affiliate, take on the Thunder. My dad wanted to come with and drive me there, so we did.
As the Flying Squirrels came out of the dugout, I started greeting the players—most of them responding with, “Hey, what are you doing here!” I had covered the team when they were in High-A the year before and most were surprised to see me in New Jersey.
Matt Duffy came out of the dugout and I said hi to him. Excitedly after, I told my dad that Duffy is one to watch.
August rolls around and Matt Duffy gets called up. I remember telling my dad, “Remember him?? We saw him in Trenton with the Flying Squirrels!” My dad didn’t forget. Not because he was intrigued by the way he played, though I’m sure that’s a part of it, but because he was surprised Duffy had remembered me from his short time in the California League.
From then on, whenever Matt Duffy did anything great for the Giants, we would call each other up and say, “DID YOU SEE MATT DUFFY DO THAT.”
The Giants made the postseason. Even year and all that. I decided to buy two tickets to Game 4 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. My dad had never gone to a postseason game before and I figured this would be a great father-daughter bonding moment.
This game ended up being the Hunter Pence Fence Catch game and I had never seen my dad more into baseball than at that game.
I wanted to take my dad to a World Series game, but so many factors derailed that idea. He told me to go, though, because he wanted me to go to a World Series game.
When the Giants won the World Series, I called my dad up immediately. I yelled, “MATT DUFFY GETS A RING.” Instantaneously, my dad started recalling how we saw him in Trenton and how he remembered me and now he’s a World Series champion.
It’s 2016 now. My dad still reminds me of that time in Trenton and asks me if I’m ever going to interview Matt Duffy now that he’s a fully fledged big leaguer.
Duffy placed second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2015, which exceeded my expectations for how well he would perform at the Major League level.
“You should interview Duffy at spring training,” my dad continues to tell me.
“I’ll try, Dad,” I say. “I’ll try.”
Jen Mac Ramos is a writer who at the time of this piece was a grad student at the University of Southern California and has a bachelor’s degree in English. As a life-long resident of the Golden State, Jen grew up in Northern California and roots for most sports teams in the area. Their work at the time could be found at Purple Row and the now-defunct Today’s Knuckleball. More recent work can be found on Baseball Prospectus. When they’re not writing, they can be found on Twitter talking about a variety of different subjects at @jenmacramos, or knitting.