The weather is changing, it’s starting to get warmer, and Spring Equinox is almost here. You know what that means? The start of the baseball season is around the corner. (Yes, I’m going to talk about sports again. I really enjoy sports. Don’t hate me too much.)
Baseball is a sport that I have enjoyed since I was a child, mostly because it was engrained in my little child brain that I needed to be a Yankee fan.
The reason I am a Yankee fan and sports fanatic in general today is all thanks to my uncle. I will never forget the time he walked up to me and insisted that I have no choice but to be a Yankees, Knicks, Giants and Rangers fan. Since that day, I have never wavered from those teams. What can I say? I was easily convinced. As a result of my uncle being a HUGE Yankee fan, I always watched games with him. The more I watched, the more I got into the habit of emulating his reactions to a big strikeout or a homerun. Soon enough, they became genuine.
One of my favorite players as a kid was Mariano Rivera. Now, he is famously known as being the all-time saves leader, but when I was a kid, his fire and quiet confidence when he pitched made every one of his games fun to watch. When you heard his theme song “Enter Sandman” by Metallica play, you knew that Mariano would finish the game in three, two, one and the Yankees would win.
There are more than a few players that had a similar aura that drew fans to games. The one thing I noticed was that, just like in my other post “Still Catching ‘Em All,” baseball helped me build relationships just as video games did by providing me with new stories to talk about every day. I remember back in third grade when Derek Jeter dove into the stands to make an out, his face was victoriously bloody and it became one of the most memorable moments of his career. The next day, that play was the talk of the town (or my classroom, at least) and I began to connect with classmates I had never spoken to before.
When the Yankees won three out of four championships in a row from the late 1990s through the early 2000s, I was very young and I vaguely remember them. However, I continued to watch them play and enjoyed the suspense of whether or not they would make it to the World Series. Eventually in 2007, I was inspired to join a baseball team and I played until I graduated in 2009. While I was feeling a sense of growth as I had just graduated and started my freshman year of high school, the Yankees won the 2009 World Series title. Seeing this happen during that time of change was pretty darn awesome to me because I was old enough to appreciate the team and, with my uncle and my friends, I watched the team grow together over the past years and finally win another championship.
Although people may believe that baseball has lost its luster and that it isn’t as exciting as football, I will continue to watch the Yankees and even pay to see a game every now and then because of the memories the team has given me and the memories I have yet to make.