Meet the Parents

Editor's Note: Pacers radio broadcaster Mark Boyle is spending his summer working as a broadcaster/mentor with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

I consider my self to be, at least relatively speaking, unflappable. I find most situations to be at least navigable, and over the years I can think of just three things that really rattled me.

• The dreaded colonoscopy. For obvious reasons, this can be a daunting experience. And if the actual colonoscopy weren't distressing enough, that vile concoction they make you drink the day before to get, um, ready is a taste treat not soon forgotten. HELPFUL TIP: For some reason, I thought that it would be educational to eschew the anesthesia so that I could watch that dastardly endoscope wander around my large intestine on the monitor, and while it was mildly interesting, it wasn't worth it. Not even close. Don't. Do. It.

• Doing community theatre. A few years ago, I decided to see if I had the chops to be a thespian, and conned my way into a minor role in a play put on by the folks at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. I had, at most, 20 lines, and though I rehearsed them to the point where I could recite them in my sleep, I was terrified about going out on stage. There couldn't have been more than a couple hundred people in the audience, but for a split second, I feared that I would become the first actor in recorded history to soil himself in public.

• Meeting the Parents. This is universal, no? Over the years, I've actually had pretty good luck with this, as I can be downright charming when the spirit moves. However, my initial experience in this area was so bad that it ended up scarring me for eternity. I was 17, had a mad crush on this girl, and she seemed really into me until I met her mom. At that point, she did a 180, and I found out years later that her mom's nickname for me was Smartass Sam. I didn't know then that some people don't appreciate sarcasm.

So it was with some trepidation that I met Anthony Santaniello's parents this week. Anthony, you may recall, is my broadcast partner here on the cape for the Internet broadcasts of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, and while meeting my partner's parents at my age is dramatically different than meeting a girl's parents as a teenager, I still wasn't sure what to expect.

After all, their precious son was now being exposed to daily musings, both on broadcasting and life, by someone that could reasonably be deemed eccentric by any rational person. Anthony himself seems fine with me, though I suspect that my incessant harping on his grammar, syntax, and vocabulary is probably starting to wear thin. But put yourself in his parents' position. Would you want your child influenced by someone that once kept a life sized cardboard cutout of himself on the front porch to keep the neighbors away? Someone who couldn't even get his act together enough to get his first ATM card until a month ago? Someone who has been known to wander neighborhoods in pajama bottoms adorned with the face of cartoon icon Stewie Griffin?

I didn't think so.

But it turns out that his family couldn't have been nicer. His dad, Anthony, SR (Tony), is an avid sports fan and sat in on the broadcast for an inning Wednesday night, and his mom, Elaine, is a real sweetheart. Anthony's grandmother, Marna, an energetic sort that seems half her age, and sister, Allie (an eighth grader that will be breaking hearts before too much longer) were there, too, and all of them seemed oblivious to my idiosyncratic ways. Or maybe they just pretended to be. Either way, they were a delight to be around, we shared a couple of meals before they headed back to their home base, and I hope they left town feeling good about their son being a part of my orbit this summer.

Mr. and Mrs. Santaniello, I've done almost twenty games with Anthony now, I can see that he has some talent, and I hope that his career goes the way he dreams it will. Meanwhile, I'm starting to teach him the about the important things in life, like good cigars and Knob Creek bourbon. But that's about all I can offer him. He's a good kid with a good heart, and that will carry him much further than an ability to yak into a microphone ever will. That comes from you, and it impresses even a relentless cynic like me.

Thanks for letting me meet the parents.

Pictured: Tony and Elaine Santaniello during their visit to see their son, Anthony. (Photo: Mark Boyle)