Excerpts from the Published Works of Jim Gullo
PAGE 12: Capping it all off was a poster of Manny Ramirez, Joe’s favorite player, placed carefully by a little boy in the A-position at the head of his bed, where it was the first thing he saw in the morning and the last at night. It showed a powerful young man in a Red Sox uniform, muscles bulging and dreadlocks flying as he socked a pitch with a devastating swing. He was a modern-day superhero, and after years of fending off Joe’s Pokémon and Marvel characters and Dragon Ball Z action figures, sneakily replacing them with baseball books and stories about Mickey Mantle, I was happy to let Manny be Joe’s role model.
In retrospect, this was perhaps not my brightest parenting decision of the last decade.
PAGE 20: The next thing he did made my heart hurt.
“Look, Dad,” he said, waving a card of a player who had not been named by Mitchell or associated with drug use. “This guy hit forty-eight homers in 2001 and hasn’t hit more than twenty-one since. He was probably using drugs, wasn’t he?”
Gulp, I replied. This kind of thing is simply not covered in the parenting books. What to expect when you’re expecting, indeed. What could I tell him? To the category of juicers, Joe wanted to add a new subcategory of possible juicers who hadn’t yet been caught. They were players whom Mitchell hadn’t named, but even a seven-year-old could figure out there was something fishy about their performances.
Good dads are supposed to have answers to all sorts of questions, but the one I came up with made me sound like a lawyer for the Major League Baseball Players Association: “Well, in the absence of any proof,” I said, “we have to assume that the player wasn’t guilty of taking drugs.” It sounded phony as soon as the words left my mouth, and I had a terrible feeling that I might be saying the right thing to protect a baseball player, rather than the right thing to protect my son and truthfully answer his questions.
PAGE 244: I like to think that somewhere in the ether of baseball, Babe Ruth said, "Nice going, kid." Henry Aaron nodded, pleased. Ty Cobb snarled and threatened to spike me. Walter Johnson approved. The Easter Bunny tipped his Mariners cap at me and Joe. My father grinned and hit one over my head.
Let's play ball again.