Friday, June 5, 2020

My History with Baseball 6/5/20

Hey baseball fans!

It's a somber time to be a baseball fan for plenty of reasons, so I wanted share my story of how I fell in love with America's pastime. I don't think I really talk about how I got involved with the game much, but it's a story worth telling.

Back in 2007, Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre and the New York Yankees were in the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians. The Yanks had stars like Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, while the Indians had recognizable names such as CC Sabathia and Victor Martinez, among others, on their roster. The Indians would go on to win the series, then lose to the Red Sox in the ALCS. I was eight years old at the time, beginning the third grade. I remember liking one of my third grade teachers, Mrs. Nathan, a lot. We  were learning where to put commas in numbers with more than three digits, and I taught the class a trick my mom taught me. 1, 2, 3 kick, 1, 2, 3, kick, which is to say that after every three digits, you put a comma. Mrs. Nathan liked that trick so much, that she invited me to the front of the class to do a kick line with her. I was embarrassed at the time, but it's certainly funny looking back. The mantra would help me remember how to correctly write down the multimillion-dollar contracts that MLB players would soon receive.

One school night, my dad was watching one of the games of the 2007 ALDS in his bedroom. I can't recall how I ended up watching the game with him, or whether it was the "Joba Chamberlain Gnats Game" in particular, but I remember being absolutely hypnotized by the game of baseball, jumping up and down on my parents' bed like a monkey. Soon after the Yankees got eliminated from the postseason that year, I got my first baseball video game, MLB Power Pros 2007 for the Wii. It was an amazing game, a game I still play to this day, despite the unrealistic home run robbery animations or the lack of difficulty, and a game that helped shape my love of baseball even further. The next year, I switched schools because my old one closed down. So, I had to make some friends in the new one through the only way I knew how: baseball. We were fourth-graders, so it wasn't like we were talking about sabermetrics, but the conversations were definitely complex for a non-baseball fan. That was also the time I started researching more into baseball's past, solidifying my stance as a Yankees fan.

The Yankees moved into a new stadium in 2009. I went to the first Spring Training, regular season, and World Series game at the new Yankee Stadium, and all three were a blast (even though the Yanks lost the two games that counted). 2009 was the Year of the Walk-Off in the Bronx, so I used to stay up late, switching to reruns of the George Lopez Show on Nick at Nite during YES Network commercials, as I watched the Yankees win in the clutch night after night. As I walked into the House That the Boss Built for Game One of the 2009 World Series, I saw that the Yankees had played in the Fall Classic against the Phillies once before '09. This I was unfamiliar with, and immediately asked my grandpa, who grew up in the Bronx, what that was about. He vaguely remembered the 1950 Phillies, who were called "The Whiz Kids" because they were so young, but he more so remembered the teams from his younger days, teams with Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio. He told me all about those winners of the 1920s and 1930s, as my other grandpa told me about how he used to listen to the Dodgers while growing up in Cuba. It was a whole lot of information for a fledgling fifth-grader to grasp, but I knew I wanted more.

I started Baseball with Matt three years later, on April 2, 2012, about a month after my bar mitzvah. I became an MLB pro blogger that October and a published author three years after that. Baseball has become my life, my anchor, and my passion in my 13 years of fandom, and it means so much for so many other people. In these confusing times, I encourage you to ask people about how they fell in love with baseball, or about any hobby or interest that has a unifying sense, because if there's one thing that we all need right now, it's a little bit of unity.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed hearing my story. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Stay safe, keep yourselves educated on what's going on, and just keep swinging.

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