Sports: “We Shared It Together”

In a post-parade conversation, Phils pitcher Jamie Moyer and obsessive fan and Hollywood filmmaker ("Radio", "Coach Carter") Mike Tollin get misty comparing notes on the national pastime, fathers and sons, and the bond between player and fan. Who says there’s no crying in baseball?

MT: Well, it’s been said many times that baseball is truly the intergenerational game. It is the game that fathers pass along to sons, to be passed along to their sons. I had my nine-year-old son Lucas with me celebrating the pennant clincher on the field in Los Angeles, and to sit there and hug him and celebrate the pennant for the team that he’s now learned to root for — it’s magical. Speaking of family, there’s this crazy cosmic connection for me between my dad and Jamie. In August 2006, my dad died suddenly. I was in L.A., got the news, flew back. Among my close friends in Philadelphia that I called was [Phils president] Dave Montgomery, who told me, “I think we’re getting Jamie Moyer.” Now, my dad was a Haverford College left-handed pitcher who didn’t throw very hard, but had great stuff. So I just got chills knowing that you, Jamie, would be the kind of player that my dad would really appreciate. I gave the eulogy, and I talked about the Phillies and how baseball is the greatest bond between father and son and how I know my dad is up there looking down and thanking the Phillies for acquiring Jamie Moyer. Fast-forward to spring training of ’07. I brought Lucas to the field at Clearwater, and there’s Jamie and Karen with their kids. Jamie’s throwing batting practice, the kids are playing the infield and shagging flies, and Lukie comes out, and it was, again, magical to see baseball as a common denominator. Here we are, strangers, but Lukie’s laughing and smiling and chasing and diving — it’s just such an immediate connection. The next month, we had a ceremony back in Philly for my dad. After the ceremony, we put on the Phillies game — because that’s what we do — and who’s pitching but Jamie Moyer? And it was the day you almost no-hit the Marlins. I think Cabrera broke it up —
JM: [Laughing] Yes, he did. Double down the left-field line.
MT: Well, just to sit there and watch you pitch the way you did, it felt like the embodiment of my dad’s spirit. So I’m forever grateful and forever touched. And to bring this full circle, the morning after we won the Series, I realized this whole emotional journey wasn’t complete. I traveled out to my dad’s grave site and sat there. It was a classic blustery East Coast fall day, the wind was blowing, the leaves were turning colors. There were Phillies flags at various gravestones in the cemetery, and I just sat there, with my dad, and laughed and cried and shared the joy with him.
PM: And Jamie,  was baseball likewise such a strong bond between you and your dad?