One More Pitch

Eight-year-old Erin and me playing baseball in our front yard

I’ve heard so many men, including some good friends of mine, say that they didn’t spend enough time with their kids while they were growing up because they were so focused on their career. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tragedy of epic proportions.

One of the things I am proudest of in my life is that I have no regrets about how much time I spent with my daughter, Erin. The many happy times we shared, and the knowledge that she felt—and still feels at 29—unconditionally loved and cherished, is far more valuable than the big bank account I might have had if I had been more focused on making money instead of memories.

Here’s a piece I wrote a while back that speaks to the joy of being the dad of the best girl in the world.


From the day she was born, I looked forward to taking her to baseball games like my father took me, but she never cared much for the games, even when a player in the bullpen would trot over and hand her a real baseball, which happened twice—which never happened to me when I was a kid, but then I wasn’t a cute little girl with tons of freckles and a smile that would make your heart stop. Well, yes, she did ask to go to a game now and then, but only for the hot dogs and frosty malts, so once or twice every season we’d go and she’d sit on my lap and I’d hold her tight and explain every play to her and she’d humor me by listening for a while but we’d always leave by the fifth inning because she was bored and wanted to go home.

No, she never enjoyed watching but, oh, how she loved to play. Every April, before it really warmed up, she’d ask me to pitch to her, so I would dig through the closet until I found the bat and ball, and we’d put on our jackets and we’d go out and play in the cool night air. And, even though she had homework to do and she hadn’t practiced her piano lesson yet and it was getting late, I’d tell her to swing hard and keep her eye on the ball, and I’d pitch to her again, nice and slow, and right over the middle of the plate. And, finally, when it was getting a little too chilly and a little too dark, I’d say it was time to go in, and she’d say,

“One more. Please, Daddy. One more.”

And so I would pitch to her again, and another line drive would whistle by my head, spinning me around, and she’d circle the bases, giggling, and I would chase the plastic ball as it rolled down the sidewalk, and when I picked it up, she’d already be standing at the tree we used for home plate, her cheeks pink from the fresh air, her ponytail dancing softly in the wind, and she’d be grinning as she picked up the bat and I could see the laughter in her eyes.

And now, whenever I go to a game, I buy a hot dog as soon as I sit down and I eat it slowly, mustard only, the way she liked it, and I lean back and forget about everything else and I watch the game. It feels so comfortable, like spending the afternoon with an old friend, and I smile when I think of her rounding the bases and I’m glad that I taught her that there’s always time for one more pitch.

Click  here to watch One More Pitch: The Music Video, a song I wrote to celebrate Erin’s childhood and the joy of our Daddy and Erin times together.

Click here to view all my baseball-related posts.

Click here to view all my posts about parenting.


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6 Responses to “One More Pitch”

  1. Ellen Brown Says:

    I loved this post, Phil. It reminded me of the games I attended with MY dad way back when and how much I cherished the time I spent with him … And how grateful that he wanted to take me along!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Ellen. Sometimes I think parents are oblivious to how much such outings matter to their kids. I wish every kid could have memories like that.

  3. Todd Silva Says:

    Hi Phil,

    I read this post and the others you sent today in the email, about your dad’s letters and helping your mom go through his stuff, and I cried. They all tugged at a real soft spot in my heart. My “little girl” is still at home, 14 years old, but I remembered back on our Indian Princess camping weekends together. I know she’ll cherish those forever and so will I. As a teenager now, it is not always easy to connect with her, but today I just chose to listen instead of telling her what I thought she should do or hit her with another lecture. You know, you are absolutely right, fame and fortune are fun to seek and really get a hold of us at times, but there is nothing more important than putting a smile in a little heart, and just being with her.

    Erin is very lucky to have you as her dad!!

    Blessings, Phil,


  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you very much for writing, Todd. You are wise in choosing to just listen to your daughter. That is all she asks of you—to recognize, honor and celebrate the essence of who she is. Asking thoughtful questions instead of dishing out should’s will go a long way toward deepening intimacy and trust. Here’s to dads and daughters!!!!

  5. Doncesar Says:

    That’s great Phil, I have a 2 year old and i can only imagine what it’s like to see your daughter grow up and become a woman and have a family of her own someday. I’m gonna know how that feels 30 years from now. It’s such a wonderful life to have a beautiful family like we have. God Bless!

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Doncesar! Be sure to cherish every moment with your little bear cub! I wish I could do it all over again!

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