David Wells Gave Me a Perfect Introduction To America's Greatest Pastime
I still remember the night before going to my first baseball game.
It was the anxious feeling that you get the night before a trip to Disney World as a kid.
The unbearable feeling of anxiousness that you get on Christmas Eve.
After dreaming about what it would be like all night, I found myself walking through the tunnel of the left field terrace the next day, May 17th, 1998. It was just like what you see on television—the cliche first reaction to a child's first glance at a major league baseball field.
Growing up, I didn't have much of a choice on what team I would be cheering for.
My Dad had me on his lap, in our living room, watching games since the day I came out of the womb.
After years of watching my favorite players on television, my chance to see them live had come. At the time, I was a sports-crazed eight year old dying to see Tino Martinez step into the batters box and hit one of his famous left field upper-deck shots.
We got to our seats, my jaw still dropped to the floor, as the the first pitch to Matt Lawton struck Jorge Posada's leather. My journey as a baseball fan had begun.
As the innings progressed, my interest grew even more. As a young kid, I had no idea that when the end of the 8th inning rolled around, we were witnessing history in the making.
My Dad explained to me what was at stake; a feat that was last accomplished by Don Larsen.
When Well's took the field in the bottom of the ninth, words cannot fully describe the sound that was being echoed throughout the stadium.
Every fan in the 49,820 crowd that day was now on their feet, supporting Well's pitch by pitch.
The same feeling of anxiousness I had dealth with the night before had crept it's way back in my stomach. My Dad later told me he still had imprints from my fingernails a few days later.
I remember the last three outs perfectly, as if it were yesterday.
A fly out to right.
A weak flyout caught in foul territory by Paul O'Neill in short right field.
Wells threw his hands to his face and pumped his fists twice, eventually being carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates. You could clearly see the tears flowing from his eyes on the big screen as he left the field that day.
I'm pretty sure we shared the same emotion of anxiousness that day, but his was in order to get the game over with without allowing a baserunner.
The feeling I felt after the final out was the greatest feeling I will ever feel in relation to sporting events. I sometimes wonder if it weren't for this game, would I still have this passionate love for sports?
My first baseball game is the reason why I think of baseball as more than just a game.
I think of it as a love, filled with thousands of different emotions and endings, just like everyday life.
Although there are probably thousands of memories ahead of me regarding the sporting world, none will impact me greater than my perfect first memory at Yankee Stadium.
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