My life revolves around The New York Yankees. I sat at the Stadium in The Bronx through the longest rain delay in MLB history (5 ½ hours). I was there when A-Rod hit his 600th homerun. I was there when Mariano Rivera made his 1000th appearance. I get goose bumps when I hear “Enter Sandman”. Everyone knows I am a HUGE Yankee fan.
It hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up in central Connecticut-literally ½way between Boston and The Bronx, you were either a Yankee fan, or a Red Sox fan, I am a girl, so I didn’t really care. I didn’t understand how important this choice was, and how it would shape my life and personality forever. Fortunately, I didn’t make a hasty choice.
I went to a couple of Red Sox games when I was little on bus trips with my Dad’s work. All I really remember about it was that on the way home, we ran out of soda on the bus, so the grown ups let us kids drink miniature beers. Ah, the innocence of the 70s…
But I digress…
I never liked the Boston sports. I am not sure why, exactly, but there is something about their fans that I could never relate to. They are kind of…what’s the word? Punks.
Back in the day when Hartford had an NHL hockey team and the Boston Bruins would come to town I was a waitress at a restaurant near the Hartford Civic Center. To this day, in all the customer service jobs I have held, Boston Bruins fans were the absolute worst people I have ever served. In. My. Life. And I wasn’t even a Yankee fan yet. Boston fans are so loud and obnoxious when things are going well, but the second the Red Sox start their inevitable collapse, they start talking about the Patriots. They give up on their own team! I mean, let’s be real here-I don’t fault you for being a Red Sox fan, I fault you for being a fair weather Red Sox fan…and that is what the majority of the really loud ones are. Those fans that quietly watch every game – hoping but never daring to think that they could actually win a pennant race – are the true fans. For those fans, 2004 and 2007 were years filled with joy and World Series rewards for their patient suffering, and I am silently happy for them…the non-punky fans.
On a side note, both of my sisters and their families are Red Sox fans. Just sayin’.
So being a Red Sox fan was never an option for me. That would make me a Yankee fan by default right? You would think so, but I didn’t think I was qualified to be a Yankee fan. Not a fan of bandwagon hopping, I didn’t want to be one of those people who only liked a team because they win most of the time. So I didn’t choose to be a Yankees fan.
I became a Minnesota Twins fan. Wait…what???
To make a long story short, I hopped on a bandwagon.
I was working in Florida, and my best friend there was from Minnesota. When you come from a state that HAS a team, there is no question where your loyalties lie. It was fall of 1991, and the Twins were on their way to winning the World Series. I knew NOTHING about baseball back then, I just knew that I liked Kirby Puckett and the way he wore his love for the game all over his face. And the way he hit home runs. I vividly remember watching a playoff game where he was being intentionally walked and saying to Michelle, “That’s not fair! They won’t even let him TRY!!!”
The rules of baseball were still a mystery to me at the time. I basically figured it was like kickball, but with bats instead of feet. No one gets intentionally walked in kickball.
So, for a few years, I was a Twins fan. But unless you live in the area where your team plays, you don’t get to see many games, and it is hard to follow closely. I had become a Twins fan in name only.
So how did the Yankees come about for me? In a way, I married into it, but it was a gradual thing. My husband was a lifelong Yankee fan, but being a chef, he was not often home to watch the games. When he was, he wanted to watch the game. This was fine with me. I would read, or do a crossword puzzle. He could watch his sports.
Then I started to get distracted by the game. I re-read the same paragraph twelve times. Alfonso Soriano would hit a homerun and I would look up, watch the replay, watch him go into the dugout and do intricate high fives with each of his teammates. I thought Soriano looked and played like Willie Mays Hayes in the movie Major League. I started to get caught up in the way the players interacted with each other and realized that it was like a soap opera for guys.
I like soap operas.
I started to watch the games when The Husband was not home. It felt wrong. It sure didn’t feel normal. I am a girl. I am watching a baseball game by choice. If The Husband had to go to bed early, I would turn down the volume and turn on the subtitles. I read the entire 2001 Game 7, which was one of the best games I ever saw…even though it ended with the Arizona Diamondbacks winning the World Series.
An unexpected side effect was that I could go to work and have intelligent conversations about last night’s game with GUYS who had been watching the sport all of their lives. Guys who, prior to my getting involved in the discussion, assumed that I was just a dumb girl who picked the Yankees because they were winners, and that I only watched during the commercials of Melrose Place. But I proved myself. I was part of the club now.
I’m not just a true YANKEES fan. I’m a true BASEBALL fan.
Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that I would be blogging, tweeting and cheering about the Yankees, I would have thought that person was from some kind of alternate universe. I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would have been like if I had been a Red Sox fan. I certainly wouldn’t be smiling as much!