A couple of weeks ago, Brian Robinson and his son Carter were at a batting cage in Montgomery, Alabama, when a random stranger threw 'em a high, hard one to the heart.
"There was this bucket of balls with a note," Robinson said.
The note read: "Hope someone can use some of these baseballs. I pitched them to my son and grandson for countless rounds."
The writer went on to say that his family is now grown and gone — but what he wouldn't "give to pitch a couple of buckets to them. If you are a father, cherish these times."
Brian and his wife, Stormy, read that note with tears in their eyes.
"It felt like a moment for us," Stormy said, adding, "We just need to soak in more of our kids and time with our kids."
That's just the message the author intended. "I was just hoping it would inspire some people," said Randy Long.
Long said he used to love watching and coaching his kids – so much so, that when he came across that old bucket of balls in his garage, he couldn't bring himself to just throw away the memories. He says he needed closure.
"It was like a goodbye, wasn't it?" said CBS News' Steve Hartman.
"Yeah, I think it was like a sign-off type thing," Long said. "Ok, that chapter is gone, let's see what else is coming on."
But unbeknownst to Long, his baseball days were headed into extra innings. This week he met the Robinsons at a local park, where Randy learned about a void in Carter's life. The boy lost both his grandfathers at a very young age, and they never saw him play.
After Stormy said the family would love for him to watch one of Carter's games, Long said he'd be there — and then he asked Carter to play catch.
"That a boy. Can you see the smile on my face, Carter? This is bringing back memories," Long said.
Obviously, Iowa isn't the only state with a field of dreams.
"It's what I always wanted for him," Stormy said.
"I'm sure a lot of people across the country now are realizing that's not just a bucket of balls anymore," Brian said.
No. It's a fountain of youth — and a binding force — for generations.
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