My love for baseball was formed when I was about eight or nine years old. I had a first baseman’s mitt (any idea how hard it was to find a first baseman’s mitt for your left hand in 1968?) and a bat, and baseball was pretty much all I did as a kid. And while playing was fun, what made me a fan was going to the games – especially the big ones, such as Opening Day, 1971. I remember the experience like it was yesterday.
I was reminded of that when I got a note from a friend in Virginia today. Her son’s tenth birthday is tomorrow, and a family friend got him two tickets to the World Series… so he and his father are headed to New York tomorrow for game two (or game one, if it keeps raining).
Another baseball fan is born. That is good.
On the flip side, the game he’ll remember for the rest of his life will be one between the Yankees and the Phillies. How unfortunate.
There’s a silver lining there, however. I am pretty sure I already know where the neophyte’s baseball loyalties will fall. His mother is from Philadelphia, and even though she professes not to like the Phillies, I think the connection will be hard to shake… and even if he did look past his family connection to the City of Brotherly Love*, the alternative is… well… the Yankees. The difference is small, but there is a difference.
I have to admit a reluctant admiration for the Phillies. Part of that may be that I’ve seen the Phillies more than any other team, except for the Nats… But even so, of all the teams I’ve watched this year (and I have seen them all), the Phillies are the one that I was most impressed with. So for no other reason than my gut (and the fact that they’re not the Yankees), I am rooting for the Phillies.
So to my buddy, Andrew… happy birthday! Enjoy the game… but here’s some advice: remember the experience. Find some other Phillies fans and share the high-fives. If you can, get a baseball and head down to the Phillies dugout before the game, and get an autograph or two. When you’re old (like me), you’ll remember every detail, and you’ll be a part of history.
… and lets go to a Nats game this spring.
* Someone has a sense of humor.
From the “Something to Look Forward To” department:
It is snowing today in Anchorage, so it is not a moment too soon that I head to Arizona on Saturday, where I will take in two Phoenix Desert Dogs games Monday and Tuesday of next week. If the stars have aligned, I believe Strasburg will start one of those games. I am bringing the camera and the computer, and I hope to provide at least a couple dispatches from the desert.