After I published my blog post about Mrs. Flynn, my cousin Steve commented that his mom was a GIANTS fan from way back too. My Aunt Emma was a Gamer Babe. She listened to the GIANTS games on the radio and was a steadfast Gamer Babe GIANTS fan. Her only problem? Her husband and 3 sons are/were Dodgers fans. Yes, you heard me–Dodgers fans. My aunt spent her life raising boys. In her youth she took care of her 3 younger brothers. When she got married she had 3 boys of her own.
My dad was her 1st younger brother. He was a huge baseball fan. I honestly have no idea which team was his team, because I remember he watched any game that was televised. Remember those days? I had to have knee surgery–old soccer injury–when I was in high school and my dad dropped by the hospital after work, around noon. When he walked in, he didn’t say hello, didn’t ask how I was doing, he walked straight over to the TV asking, “why isn’t the game on?” It was October 1973-in the middle of the World Series-and the A’s were playing the Mets at Shea Stadium. He was horrified that I wasn’t watching.
My Uncle Julio is her 2nd younger brother and he told me once that he was a Yankee fan because the Yankees were THE team when he was coming up. His son Nick was a stand-out catcher for his legion ball club and in the semi-pro CalMex league. I used to go to his games-but let’s face it-I’m pretty sure it was more about looking at boys than watching Nick play. But I did watch some and I know he was a helluva ball player. My Uncle George is the youngest and he’s not a big fan of pro teams. He prefers to watch the teams who are playing for the love of the game and not the $$$$. His son, also George, was drafted by the Indians and spent a few years playing for their minor league ball clubs.
So you can see why my Aunt Emma loved baseball. She came from a baseball family. She was a proud little league mom. She went to my cousin’s games. If she had stayed with us longer, I’m sure she would have been over-the-moon when her grandson Steven played baseball in college at USF and UOP, in the Cape Cod League and then in the White Sox minor league system. She was an unwitting role model for this Gamer Babe, whose own mother didn’t know the ball from the glove. But I loved baseball because my Aunt Emma made it ok for a girl to love baseball. I’ve told you that Mrs. Flynn inspired my love for the GIANTS, but my Aunt Emma inspired my love for baseball. I did everything I could to be involved with the game. As a high school freshman, I was the water girl for the boys baseball team. One of the players–must have been a literary type–nicknamed me Gunga Din. But it’s no big deal for a girl to be a baseball fan today. Nobody thinks it odd. And we owe it to the original Gamer Babes, like Mrs. Flynn and my Aunt Emma, who paved our way.
My aunt left us way too soon, but I can tell you this–it would fill her heart with pride to see that her granddaughters, daughter-in-law, nieces and great-nieces are carrying on her love of the GIANTS in true Gamer Babe tradition, and some of them, like my Aunt Emma was, are surrounded by Dodgers fans–truly, roses among the thorns.