Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to where it all began

You'll have to forgive me this weekend Giants fans. I may get a bit misty and feel nostalgic. For the first time since the 2010 World Series, the Giants are returning to the park in Texas where they won their first title of the San Francisco era.

I know there's been great times in 2012 and 2014. There might be even more amazing things ahead for this team. But this weekend I'm looking back.

Why? Well it's the only Giants title I got to share with my father. The 2010 team was a culmination of a lifetime love affair with the Giants. It validated all those years I hung around as a fan of this team even though I had never been to San Francisco. My dad was originally from New York and I was raised in the Chicago area. I go in depth about this here if you'd like to check it out.

Seeing the Giants in gray celebrating on another team's field brings me back to always seeing them as a road team in all my time growing up going to Wrigley. Year after year we would head to the park wearing our Giants gear knowing we'd be in a small minority. We never got to make the pilgrimage to AT&T Park until it was too late. You were there with me back in 2013 when I finally made it. We left a lot of you behind in McCovey Cove to let you watch your Giants forever.

I had just moved down here to Florida back in 2010. My father was living outside Chicago. We were on the phone constantly during the series and he was the first person I talked to (outside of Karen, she was in the room with me) after Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to send us all into delirium.

It was truly one of the last great moments we got to share together. I only saw him one more time and that was shortly before he fell into a coma and then passed away in March of 2012. I've always felt like he hung on just for that trip to Florida to see me. I'm lucky I had that time.

So this weekend while we all are obviously looking forward and the Giants will get to play with their new toy Mike Leake, there will be a big part of me looking back and thinking about the man that made me care about these things in the first place.

This post may be totally disjointed and not make any sense at all. I don't know and I don't care.

Here's to you Barry Nathanson. The reason I am a crazy Giants fan who lives in Florida. You were one of the greatest fathers any son could have asked for. I love you dad and miss you every day. I'll be thinking about you this weekend and hope you're proud of me.

-Eric Nathanson

Friday, June 26, 2015

It's not about me

Well it kind of is, but not really.

Unless you've been living under a rock you heard today that the Supreme Court of the United States voted in favor of gay marriage. They stated that no civil part of our union can turn away a couple based on their sexual orientation. If you want to marry someone of the same sex that's cool. Love is love.

As a gay man, this obviously makes me happy. Let's be clear here though, it's not about me, Far from it. I'm 36 years old and deeply settled in the life that I have. The life that I love.

A few years ago I fell in love with a woman. Granted, I've dated lots of women in my life, but this was different. She gets me. Karen understands me in a way no one else does and I'm pretty sure it goes the other way too. I get her, she gets me.

The fact that my sexual preference is for men is not an issue. You love who you love. Yes I hurt her when I finally came out as gay, but that never diminished the love that had already been built. The fact that we've stood by each other is nothing short of amazing.

So now that I'm legally allowed to marry another man does that mean I'm going to run out and do that? No. It doesn't mean that at all.

All it means is that now I have the choice to do as I please as an adult and not face consequences for that.

But is this really about me? Is it about any of us that grew up afraid to share our true feelings at the risk of being mocked? It really isn't.

Let me tell you a story. When I was around 16 years old I was at a friend's house having a bonfire and drinking. As the night wore on I let my guard down and tried to admit I was gay to my buddies. I even took the time to point out who at school I thought was attractive. But I was laughed off and poked fun at because nobody was comfortable with this. To this day I can hear them bringing this night up later in our friendship and me having to defend it as "I was just drunk", or something similar.

Nobody wanted to be ok with it because I'm a guy's guy. You've seen it here. I watch sports, I write and talk about baseball. But back then we all thought everything was connected and everyone should have their "place". So I shut up for many years and never pursued it again.

I mean, if my best friends couldn't support me, who the fuck will?

Now many young men and women across our country may not have to face the same roadblock. Now that marriage is defined as 2 people that love each other and it is not defined by the sex of those people, things are different.

I have to wonder if I had grown up in a world in which gay marriage was legal would my friends have reacted differently when I tried to show them the real me. But I'll never know. Frankly, that's ok.

You can't retroactively change the past. Just because a decision comes down from the highest court in the land it doesn't mean that suddenly every one I encountered was suddenly wrong. I mean, yes their minds could have been a little more open, but they were only working within the parameters of what our government laid out for us.

Since you can't change the past all that can be looked at is the future. That's what jumps out at me with this decision. This is why I have cried more times than I care to share today.

It's not about me, it's about all those that come after me. It's about a teen being able to admit that he or she has a crush on a certain individual and not getting ostracized for it.

That's who today really benefits. All the kids that will grow up with no other understanding of love except that it's the factor that wins out.

No, one decision doesn't wipe away hate. There will always be hate spread through the generations. We're a young country, only 239 years old. It's hard to change things overnight. There's no way to convince people that are so strong in their convictions against gay marriage. It's just not going to happen.

But maybe their kids will soften up a little bit. Then their kids after that.

That's why it's selfish to think of just myself today. Finally getting the right to marry who I want is not where this all ends. It's where it begins.

By all means, go out and celebrate this landmark day. I for one know it's not just about me. It's for all the generations to come that can now grow up in a world where whoever you marry doesn't matter in the eyes of our government.

Here's your freedom to be you, don't ever try to hide it. You may be missing out on the best days of your life.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cub Kidd and the Athletic Butler

photo via

In a strange bit of sports news the Chicago Bears signed tight end Bear Pascoe to a contract. It's the first time I can remember a player sharing his first name with the team he plays for. The only example in professional sports that comes to my mind is Napolean Lajoie  for the Cleveland Naps and the team was named after him. If you can think of others, feel free to comment below.

It got me wondering. How do other team names sound as the first name of a player? More specifically, what would every Major League Baseball team's nickname look like as a first name? Why baseball? Because it's April and that's what I'm watching.

Just for fun, I've decided to list an example of every team name used as a first name, paired with a common surname in either North or South America. As in the Bear example above I'm going to drop the 's' at the end on most of the names.