I find baseball to be a misunderstood game. It get’s a rep for being boring, slow, and worst of all, easy. Now I’m not a baseball player, I never played softball in school, hell, I don’t even own a glove. What I do have, however, is a passion for a game that I’ve learned to love over the years. Growing up in Queens, you would think my family would support the Mets, but for as long as I can remember my family has been all about the New York Yankees. Granted, I think I only started to recognize baseball on TV by the age of 7 and I definitely was not as interested in it then as I am now; as someone who once thought that baseball was boring and cumbersome my appreciation and love grew as my brother’s interest in sports management did.
“Boo, your brother got you into sports, YOU’RE NOT A TRUE SPORTS FAN.” Oh hush. My brother and I are two years apart in age and although we once had a lot in common, as we grew older our interest diverted like a fork in the road during the protagonist’s long journey on the way to find themselves. So while people think sports are dumb or whatever people choose to say to put themselves on some sort of pedestal, I inadvertently learned about baseball and found common ground with my brother. By this time we were well into high school. The first few years of really intense baseball watching were awful. We would watch every game, every out, could not miss a second of the action or inaction as some would say. I was a casual fan at that point. I represented the home team, even it wasn’t the Queens team, I knew a few players names and I was content with basic knowledge of what was happening. When my brother was in his last years of high school, we were still watching the games just as intensely but the more we watched the less annoyed and more intrigued I became.
I would say by 2009 I was a full-fledged baseball fan. I knew the names of the players on my team, I knew coaches names, announcers – I knew what positions everyone played. I had a lot of the terminology down because it was all my brother talked about. What solidified my fan status had to be going to the world series that year. So many of the guys who were on that team have retired now and that makes me feel ancient and I’m only 22. I miss a lot of those players because I’m sentimental like that. The relationships they had with one another is why I enjoyed that year. A lot of walk offs, pies in the face and just fun memories of watching the games. Certain sports you just connect with. Baseball was that for me. Watching it on TV was fun, but seeing it live? Honey, that’s a whole different story.
I saw my first game in the new Stadium in 2011. I remember my uncle and I sat on the left field side and I had the perfect view of my favorite player (who still plays, shout out to Brett Gardner, gold glove left fielder). We played the Orioles in a day game which I’m pretty sure we lost and I was convinced I jinxed my team. Its become a recurring joke now because most times when I go see a game with my family, we’re playing the Orioles. My brother calls me a closet Baltimore fan. There is something in the atmosphere of a live baseball game that you don’t forget. First was walking in and seeing the player’s banners, second was roll call, third was just how loud and vibrant everything was. I’ll never forget it. Going back ever since then, I’ve began to call The Stadium my home. I feel connected to people I’ve never met and not in a riding the subway – connected through our hatred of the MTA kind of way. But connected in our shared passion for a team’s success.
Baseball isn’t for everyone. I know that and I get that. It’s an acquired love, at least for me it was. But, too many times people judge (oh my God, this word will never be the same, thanks #99) without first giving it a real chance. The go in watching thinking this is boring, its slow, nothing’s happening. Not every game is home runs and trick plays. Sometimes its pitcher’s duels and lots and lots of ground balls. But nothing can beat the feeling of watching a walk off after sitting there for 9 innings and seeing both teams put their absolute all into a last-minute, all or nothing rally.
So what began as a way to try to find something in common between myself and my brother turned into a love for a game with a deep history, and a team who plays some of the longest games the sport has ever seen. Thanks Yankees, my sleep schedule really appreciates those long night games.
*This has been a late night post sans-editing so I do apologize if there are any egregious mistakes.