Chris Gittens got called up to THE SHOW on Saturday. After toiling in the minor leagues for seven years, Gittens’ hard work finally paid off when the Yankees started him at first base Saturday night against the Boston Red Sox. What made the event doubly cool was that Gittens’ father was there to share in the moment. Why is that significant? Because Gary Gittens hadn’t seen his son play IN PERSON for the past seven years. The reason? Well, when Chris was drafted back in 2014, his Dad told him that he would not go see him play until Chris made it to the major leagues. Period.
So while Chris was climbing the minor league ladder, his Dad was not going to his games while Chris was winning the Eastern League MVP, his Dad was not going to his games. While Chris was hitting home runs in Triple A, his Dad was not going to his games. But Dad was there, as promised, when Chris took the field as a member of the NY Yankees for the first time. When asked about the strange scenario / pledge during the game, Gary Gittens was unapologetic, to say the least, “Nothing below the majors is good enough. Go to work. I’ll come and see you make the major leagues. It’s all about the work.”
Dad is dedicated, and Dad sees himself as a motivator for his son, I have no problem with that. And pacts/bonds between fathers + sons are beautiful, wonderful, and sometimes hard to understand unless you are one of those fathers or sons. BUT… isn’t part of the joy in being there Saturday night having been there for all the blood, sweat, that helped get him there? Shouldn’t there be a random game in Scranton that you and your son will always remember? Shouldn’t there be a time when your car broke down on the way to a game in Trenton, but you Uber-ed it in time to see him hit a walk-off home run? Shouldn’t there be a time when your son doubted himself in Bridgeport, but you were there after the game to tell him, “Hell no, you’re not doing that.” Isn’t that part of this? Gary Gittens loves his son, and I am sure no one was more proud of Chris Saturday night than Gary. But that pride needn’t have come at the expense of all those other moments the two could have shared. And if/when Luke Voit returns and Chris gets sent down to Triple A, here’s hoping his father will have learned his lesson.
Here’s hoping Gary will be there to watch his son play the game he loves as he works his way back to the majors. -Doug