My Grandfather Figure

I can’t figure out exactly what it is that makes me such a big fan of Lou Piniella, but I have a pretty good guess. He is baseball’s closest version of Bobby Knight. He has a fiery temper, and a very short whick. He is dynamite ready to explode at any moment, and he’ll take the whole ship down with him to sink. Do I respect that in a man, absolutely. There isn’t a team in the Major Leagues that wouldn’t be interested in acquiring the services of Louis Piniella, and it is because he is a fiery leader and when a battle in the trenches ensues, he’s ass kicking to the top of that melee. Now that my two grandpa’s are dearly departed (God keep them well, always), ‘Sweet Lou’ is the closest thing I’ve got to a grandpappy. For that, I don’t just like the guy, I fucking love him.

Can’t you see he’s got all the grandfatherly characteristics? Hot weather stirs up his temper. The sweat on his brow and forehead become one, quickly ruining a nice perm on that frosted grey hair. I garuntee he’s got that grandpa-like smell to him, fucking garuntee it. You know the musk, old man smell, not bad but just, well old smelling. He’ll sit at the table on a saturday summer morning, making waffles for me and my cousins, while grandma makes his breakfast drink, high in fiber so he can stay regular. No waffles for you, Grampa! It’ll have your dumper backed up for weeks if you do!

He can be the most pleasant old man on earth at one minute, and the next he’s swearing to God that he hates us all, because we’re ‘eating him out of house and home’. I’m sorry Gramps, please don’t be mad! I promise that I’ll fnish that RC-Cola, I promise, every last drop. I know you don’t buy Pepsi or Coke, it’s too expensive. Should you find one that isn’t finished, I promise it wasn’t mine. It was cousin Joey’s or Maria’s. Please don’t yell.
Please don’t get angry and shout Gramps, it’s not ‘becoming’. Life is too short and I worry about you when you get so tightly wound that you can’t catch your breath. I want you at your very best, you see. When you’re at your best gramps, I am too. I remember when you led my Reds to a World Series Title in 1990, I was the happiest little Grand-sonny in the world. I blushed when you went to home plate as a young grandfather and kicked dirt on that scummy, crooked umpire that called that homerun a foul ball. I saw it on TV gramps, and I know it was fair.

That time when you returned to Cincinnati a few seasons ago, you didn’t recognize me. Your own grandson. You gave me a happy, boyish quick-wave, and it made me happy. It was early in the game and your team was winning. You were happy as a man who had just coiffed. I was generally glowing as well, gramps. Later in the game I kept pestering you, like I pestered my other real grandfather, Rocco. I kept calling out like a bird “Sweet Lou! Sweet Lou!” and you stared me down and told me “Shaddup!”. This made me generally happy inside as well, taking me back to the days of my youth when I was very ornry.

There’s a lot to be happy about now, Gramps Piniella. Your grandchildren are all grown. I’ve turned into a man, and mom’s doing just fine. I know you don’t like pets, so we got rid of our dog. No more complaining about dog hairs being on the furniture from you. You’re managing the Cubbies now, and although I’m sure you’ll find plenty to get angry about (you always do gramps), they’ll have a pretty good team. You can fart in the dugout till your little heart is content, they won’t mind. Maybe you can even use that new Remington electric shaver I sent you for Christmas, you don’t have to though, you always looked more like a good grampa and a happy grampa with those whiskers and shadow in full tow.

Next time I’m over, I’ll drink all the milk in my cereal bowl in the morning, I promise. Even if all the frosted flakes are gone, I’ll take care of things on my end. I’ll tidy up when I’m done. I’ll stay out of your office, too. You never really used that office, you just said to stay out of it. Why was that? When you tell a kid to stay out of somewhere, you know gramps it just raises the curiosity and makes them wanna get into it more. Even if now I go into your office, I promise I won’t get into any of your shit, as long as it is safely tucked away inside those drawers. I’m really not here to make you mad, gramps. I’m here to give you enjoyment, and tell you I love you. So why when I tell you those words do you always say “I know you do.” You know, grumpy, you could say it back.

Things are really looking on the up and up for me and you. I’m gonna keep my hands off your car in the garage, and you can take me to the old’ park sometime with you. I don’t like the Cubs but I’ll be happy to just spend a day with my gramps. If you start to yell, I’ll dissapear. You won’t even know I’m there. If you wanna take out your frustrations for me getting into your tools or dragging trash home into your yard from around the neighborhood that’s fine too, afterall I knew it was stupid, I don’t really know why I did it to be honest. I won’t dig in your garden and I sure as hell won’t forget to bring in your mail. I know you hated most of all when I’d flick or play with your ears, so I promise, I won’t touch you. I know that old men don’t like to be touched and it can make them become excitable, and I’m not here to do that.

I love you Gramps, take care, and I’ll be watching and rooting until the next time we meet. Don’t be kicking your hat in anger this year. You’re getting too old for that.