Baseball and "The Fan"

Charles AsburyContributor IJanuary 5, 2009

Everyone seems to be a fan of something. Just ask any NASCAR enthusiast who their favorite driver is and you’ll get an immediate answer.

A devotee of college football will proudly wear their favorite colors and loudly sing the team fight song.

But for some, it goes deeper than that.

Yes, some appreciate and even love a particular sport. For me, I proudly wear "The Fan" label for what I believe is still America’s greatest pastime, Baseball.

I’m a fan of the game, and these are some of the reasons why.

When I was a little kid, and against my mother’s will, I would listen to the Atlanta Braves’ games underneath the covers with my little AM Radio. With the single ear piece in, I would either listen until the last pitch, or fall asleep trying.

Night after night, and many miles away, that little boy would quietly root for his favorite team. Even though my alarm clock never showed me any compassion the next morning at 6 AM, it never once stopped my nightly ritual of being "The Fan."

Staying up until 1 AM to hear your favorite team lose, which in those days wasn’t uncommon, is just one example of being "The Fan."

As a matter of fact it might even be considered borderline fanatic, which in fact is the word in which "Fan" is derived.

Sometimes it’s not too cool to be a fanatic, but when it comes to sports people don’t think twice about it.

Who can paint their face, make a total spectacle of themselves, and get away with it? Only "The Fan."

As a fan of baseball, day after day, I would memorize the sports page and could zealously quote player statistics at random.

And of course, I would save some of my lunch money to buy and collect baseball cards.

I would also methodically cut out the box scores, game recaps, and any relevant pictures to make a scrapbook of my favorite team. A practice started every spring training which marched on through the entire season.

I played my favorite sport from the age of four and would walk, talk, and try my best to emulate my favorite player. Many times at dusk, my mother would yell, "Supper is ready," but in the midst of my favorite childhood fantasy, I would throw the baseball up in the air one more time, trying to send it sailing over the azalea plants for the game-winning home run.

In my mind, I was living a dream that only a few can understand.

It’s all about baseball, and I am "The Fan."

Listening to a game on the radio, watching it on TV, or experiencing it in person were distinctly different, yet each one complete and satisfying in it’s own way. You see, "The Fan"relishes the special enjoyment of each memory, and I’ll leave you with a few of mine.

A long time ago, summertime Saturday afternoons were spent watching the Chicago Cubs play on TV with my grandfather. Old Polaroid pictures remind me of the father and son trip from Florida to Atlanta, to watch the Braves play the Dodgers.

Then, while stationed in England, baseball held my attention, time after time, while this proud father rocked his little baby girl to sleep. In the fall of 1991, while stationed in Saudi Arabia, I never thought twice about staying up until three in the morning to watch the Atlanta Braves make their dramatic run from worst to first.

And now I can see the twinkle in my son’s eyes as he opens up a fresh pack of baseball cards.

All of these memories, and many more, are written on the tablature of my heart. Immortal, they move the soul. They deepen my love for the game of baseball, and help define this person I’ve become, "The Fan."


By: Charles J Asbury II

"The Florida Writer"