by: Mr. November
Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy the game of baseball as much as I do. I played for only one year in high school. I had a wicked half-knuckle, half-forkball when I was on the mound, but I couldn't get a hit if the pitcher rolled a bowling ball to the plate. Seeing as the BCSL American Division in north Jersey didn't exactly promote the role of the designated hitter, my playing days were cut short.
I had always been a Yankees fan (outside of an ill-advised half season of rooting for the Mets as well in 1986 - sorry, Dad), but I guess my interest waned a bit during my high school years. Once I stopped playing the game myself, I got involved in my school's theater program. I was more caught up in getting laughs on stage than watching grown men play a kid's game for millions of dollars. I have to admit that when then strike of 1994 hit, it didn't phase me as much as it should have.
Then I went to college in Boston, a rabid baseball town. Even during my lesser years, I still watched the Yankees as much as I could and followed the game overall. But living in Boston, literally walking distance from Fenway Park, sparked my desire for the game all over again. My love of baseball in general and of the Yankees specifically grew with every Red Sox fan I met. I started going to games again, even non-Yankee games, and I learned to appreciate all the nuances that had alluded me in my years away from the field.
Turns out I still had the love for the game. All the years I had supposedly not been a real fan were still there in my memory. I was able to carry on full conversations (OK, arguments) with other fans about Yankees seasons and players of old. I started to amaze myself - I thought I hadn't been paying full attention all those years! Guess I was all along.
When the Yankees won their first World Series in 18 years in the fall of 1996, I watched the last out from a dorm room in Warren Towers on Commonwealth Ave. I called my dad during the final inning and we watched it "together" on the phone. It felt like the right thing to do and, looking back, it was.
Eleven years later (yes, I'm getting old), I'm sitting and waiting for the 2007 Yankees to take the field in Cleveland for their first game of the current postseason. I'm alone this time, in my house, with my wife at work and my dog sleeping on the coach. My passion for the Yankees has never been greater. I will cheer every hit and curse every out. The "NY" tattoo on my right calf still looks good, if you ask me.
And yes, I will call my dad during the game, probably more than once. I wouldn't have it any other way.