While cruising around the internet this morning I checked in on Pete Colaizzo's Marist Running blog. Pete is a die hard Yankee fan, with enough NY loyalty that when the Yankees aren't playing he roots for the Mets. He had a link to a NY TImes Op Ed column written by David Brooks, who I guess is a conservative writer and long time Mets fan. Here's a link.
The article brought back memories of the first time I had my heart broken. No, not by a cute little girl. It was 1957, I was 11-years old and my first love was the NY Giants and my hero, Willie Mays. That was the last year they played in NY before moving to San Fransisco, changing my baseball world forever. The first baseball game I ever went to, my dad took me to the Polo Grounds. I don't remember much about the game except when Willie walked out of the dugout for the first time. I can still hear my dad saying, "There's the 'Say Hey Kid'."
With the Giants no longer playing in NY there was very little chance to see them play on TV. My only way of keeping up with the team and Willie was by checking the newspaper. Back in those days the paper of choice in our household was the now defunct New York Herald Tribune. I only looked at one page, the one with the scores from the games the day before and the Stats section. The stats had a little box that listed batting average, home runs and RBIs for the top five players. My hero was always there.
When the Mets starting playing in 1962 my dad and younger brother gradually became Met fans. Through the years I went to a few games, even took my own kids to some Met games when they were younger. As much as I tried, I could never develop a passion for the team. They weren't the Giants. It was great when they brought Willie back to NY for the end of his career, just having him in NY felt right. He was past his prime and probably should have been retired. Still, for those of us who had rooted for him in a NY Giants uniform in our formative years, it was a fitting ending for him to come home to end his career.
Back in the 1990s a strange phenomenon took place. My wife started watching some baseball games with me. She knew almost nothing about the game. Every game we watched became a teaching session, with me explaining rules, strategy and some of the nuances of the game. (The one thing I still can't help her with is the balk rules. They remain a mystery.) Her timing in taking an interest in baseball was perfect. It coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Mo Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte era with the Yankees. She became a "fanatic". Before I knew it we had a packet of tickets for ten games a year, plus options to get cheap tickets for some other games. When the new stadium opened it was Season Tickets. Our last year living in NY was 2009. We were at the game the night they won the World Series.
So what do you do when your wife is a Yankees "fanatic" and you live in NC? You sign up to get the Major League Baseball Package. We get to watch all the games except when they play Baltimore. Through some bizarre reasoning, the southeast corner of NC is considered to be in the Baltimore market so the games are blacked out. It's a minor annoyance that we can live with. I'm sure that on one of our trips to NY we will go on Stub Hub and get tickets to a game. It's getting close, opening day is less than a month away.