The first time I saw Dodger Stadium on TV it was 1983. The Mets had gone to LA for a weekend series and even though I was supposed to be in bed before the 10:05 ET start I was wide-awake when the game started. My brother, sister and I were spending the weekend at the place my father shared with his then girlfriend. That night, after we have been fed, washed the dishes and (probably) had Jell-o, it’s time for bed. I insist I can stay up to watch the Mets but my dad isn’t having it.
Once we headed upstairs I turned the black and white portable TV to WWOR Channel 9. When the game comes on two things amaze me: there are palm trees just past the bullpens and it’s still sunny out. Time zones hadn’t been explained to me yet so I just assumed that the sun must always shine on Dodger Stadium.
Two innings into the game, after my brother and sister have fallen asleep the door opens just a little bit and I can see my father in the doorway, he motions for me to come to the door and I think I’m going to get in trouble but instead he points down the stairs and I followed him. Downstairs the game is also on but in glorious 1983 Zenith color. Dad busts out the chocolate milk and we watch the game for a while. When the Mets fall hopelessly behind switch to WPIX (Channel 11) shortly after midnight. Why did we my father switch to WPIX? He had a very good reason; Star Trek was on.
As I experienced the Starship Enterprise for the first time a second round of chocolate milk was called for. Baseball and Sci-Fi is a great way for a nine year old to spend an evening. While it was never planned, we’d repeat this ritual once or twice a year until WPIX stopped showing Star Trek at midnight.
I haven’t watched Star Trek with my father in more than 20 years but it’s impossible for me to see the original series without thinking of him. Last week, my wife and I went to see the new Star Trek movie and if she wondered why I got a little misty eyed at the end she has probably figured it out by now.