Following in the footsteps of my dad (the original zog blogger) read on for about as close to sports writing as I can get…
Out of all the teams that were the topic of MANY discussions between the men of my house growing up, the Yankees were always the most talked about. I knew from an early age that the Yankees were sacred to my dad and my bro and of course, I became a fan by default. I think the first game I ever went to was when I was invited to tag along on one of my brother’s traditional birthday outings to Yankee Stadium. I don’t remember much about the game, but I remember feeling a part of something magical…oh yeah and lots of traffic getting out of the Bronx!
When I was in high school and the Yankees won the first World Series of my lifetime, I begged my parents to let me ditch school and head into the city for the ticker-tape parade. After being denied, I did what any other disobedient 16 year old would do–I went anyway. I don’t regret it either, my fondest memory of that day was climbing up on top of a bus stop to gain a better view of the players. To this day, I swear that Jeter winked at me! (Editor’s note: I got caught, and I think grounded, but I’d like to think dad was secretly proud that I was at least ditching school for a sports related event).
When I headed up to the great state of RI for college, I quickly learned just how serious the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry was. Once I was deemed a “Yankee fan” I was quickly grouped in with the other Long Island and Jersey transplants and became part of the small but faithful group that bravely cheered against the Sox. During one Yankees/Sox series a bunch of friends and I crafted homemade “Yankees/I love NY” wife beaters and proudly showcased them at the local campus bar (thankfully it was actually owned by a native New Yorker who was a huge Yankee fan…I think our photo may still hang on the wall…)
So getting back to the point, although I was never the biggest sports fan, despite being raised by a sports writer/sports fanatic and growing up with a brother that watches ESPN religiously, I always had a soft spot for the Yankees. Baseball was a sport I could actually follow and understand and root for, and baseball games were a great time (beer, hot dogs and sunshine). Shamefully I will admit that I have been to more than one Red Sox game and was even photographed wearing a Sox hat once, but I have always felt proud to be a New Yorker and root for the Yankees, a team whose history and tradition is so rich.
Last night, watching the last game at a stadium that I’ve heard about my whole life, I definitely felt more than a touch of sentiment and nostalgia. I’ve always been a sucker for history, and seeing all the past legends back where it all started struck a cord with me. I watched the whole game, right through to Jeter’s heartfelt speech to the fans. I cried–I’ll admit it, I cried at a sporting event and I think I like baseball just a little more now. Too bad the Yanks are out of it, but I am looking forward to next year, to becoming a better fan and to a new place for history to be made.