Have a catch: Grandfather donates bucket full of baseballs so others can form the same family memories as he has

Have a catch: Grandfather donates bucket full of baseballs so others can form the same family memories as he has
FILE PHOTO: A grandfather found a bucket of baseballs in his garage. He donated them to a batting cage telling others to make sure people "cherish these times." (Rudy Malmquist/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — To almost anyone who would come across an unassuming 5-gallon bucket, it was just an old bucket filled with well-worn baseballs.

But for Randy Long, of Montgomery, Alabama, they were more than just string covered in cowhide. They were memories.

Memories of pitching to his son who is now 46 years old.

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Memories of pitching to his grandson who is 23 years old.

The grandfather, son and grandson don’t hit the cage as much as they used to so instead of allowing the bucket to collect more dust in the garage or instead of pitching them into the garbage, Long took the bucket to the local batting cage, donating them so anyone can have a catch or a hit, ESPN reported.

Long’s grandson Ethan Anderson, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, posted a photo of the bucket and the note that Long left with it to Twitter.

The photos were sent to Anderson by his grandmother, the “Today” show reported.

The note reads in part, “What I won’t give to pitch a couple of buckets to them.”

He also reminds anyone who comes across the bucket, “If you are a father cherish these times. You won’t believe how quickly they will be gone.”

Anderson’s post has more than 217,000 likes and 1,000 replies.

Anderson also didn’t realize how much his move away from Long affected his grandfather. He has made a promise.

Soon could be as soon as this weekend, Anderson told the “Today” show and Long is very excited.

Anderson told ESPN, “When I was a kid we would usually go a few times a week to hit in the cages. Many times I didn’t even want to go, but he always wanted me to be the best player I could be.”