My dad didn’t live to see the Giants win a World Series. He died last March, less than a month before opening day.

My young friend Luke didn’t get to watch any of the playoffs in person. The tickets for his beloved Giants were a bit too pricey, especially for those opening Series games against the Texas Rangers.

Nonetheless, the Giants’ first World Series championship in San Francisco makes me smile because it reminds me of the times when these two baseball fans took me to see their team play. You don’t have to be a huge fan to enjoy what the game does for those you love.

As a 9-year-old, I went with Dad and a few others to a Giants game. Willie McCovey hit a grand slam. Willie Mays hit a home run. And I felt the wonder of sitting in that cavernous Candlestick Park and taking it all in. Looking back, the best part was being with Dad.

When the Giants won the National League pennant in 1989, I got the delight of taking Dad back to Candlestick to watch the World Series. We had tickets for Game 4. We got to use them twice, once for the earthquake (yes, it was THAT game, with quite a shaky ride in the upper section of the ballpark) and once for the game that actually was played a week later. The Athletics clobbered the Giants, but Dad enjoyed both Bay Area teams and was glad to see it. And I was glad to see it with him.

My friend Luke started taking me to see the Giants four or five years ago. Luke, 26, told me last spring that the team was going to the World Series this year. I reminded him of that last week as we watched Game One on television. I didn’t remind him that he’d predicted this for the last three years. (Hey, one out of three is a pretty good result in baseball.)

Luke can be a shy one, and he often finds himself a bit intimidated in most social circles. But he’s in his element with the Giants. No one enjoys the game more than he does, or the chance to revel in it afterward. We typically take the Larkspur ferry to and from AT&T Park. On the return trip he loves to sit on the back deck and recall game highlights with other fans. I have learned that you can talk baseball whether you are 9 or 90. Luke gets the added benefit of doing it with those who share his passion, who get what he cares about.

And when they win, it’s all the sweeter.

— Robert Digitale