Well, due to Sammy Sosa acting like an idiot last week, I never really got the opportunity to chat about why I do what I do. Why am I a Yankee fan? Why am I writing this blog? Why am I so cranky?
My story begins back in 1978. My father was a member of the M&M Boys generation that lived and died with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. I don't know how he timed it, but I was born in the chaotic glory of the Bronx Zoo. I grew up watching Don Mattingly amidst the empty seats of Yankee Stadium back when they were in last place (Remember the 80s?). I saw Andy Hawkins pitch a no-hitter and lose!
As a teenager, I rebelled against my dad by becoming a Mets fan. It was either that or turning to illegal drugs (Your call on what would have been the worse move!). I interned at the Baseball Hall of Fame and saw half the stadiums in the Major Leagues by the time I was 25. Baseball was ingrained in me.
You would think that my love of the game would be a great pick-up line, but it hasn't been. Most of the time, I scare guys off because of my obscure knowledge or bore them as my eyes drift to ESPN on the television behind them. Then, I met him. My god, he was amazing. He was the first guy who wasn't scared off by me being a Fantasy Baseball Commissioner. In fact, he invited me to join his league (that he of course was commissioner of). You know in certain countries, this would be considered a marriage proposal.
The days we would spend complaining about Fantasy Baseball drafts, creating "Dream Teams" and of course...quoting Rickey Henderson. (Who doesn't?) Although, he was a far better stat geek than me and I was a member of SABR, I knew the game better than him. He probably threw his fair share of balls into the stands with two outs in Little League.
One day, our conversation inevitably moved to the topic of the Evil Empire. Although I was a Mets fan, I was a New Yorker first. As long a team from New York was walking all over either the National League or the American League, I was happy. He used to be a Yankee fan, but converted to Cubsism because...get this... he was "tired of winning all the time."
Tired of winning all the time? What the hell does that even mean? Jesus Christ! Baseball isn't Socialism. Isn't the allure of the game having a clear winner and a clear loser? There are no ties, minus the All Star Game in 2002. He was tired of getting picked on by Cubs fans. Come on! When did any self-respecting Baseball fan take what a person says seriously, when they wear flip-flops as formal wear?
Well, long story short, 6 months, a girl he tried to play me off against and a "Dear Jane" letter via email later, I was left with a broken heart and a Fantasy Baseball league in shambles. Word to the wise folks! Don't screw around with your fellow owners. I went to Baseball games shortly after and would burst into tears. Had he taken away from me the only thing (other than him) I ever loved? Probably...
…Until the Yankees clinched a playoff spot and the light bulb clicked. Had the winningest franchise in Baseball history been dumped by the same underemployed schmuck as me? Yup. Sure, I was a Mets fan, but New York is New York. I switched my NY hat for another NY hat and with all my hatred of one guy, rooted on the most hated team in Baseball as it knocked off one victim after another.
So, where does that leave me today? Reveling in the joy of being a Bully? Oh don't feel bad. He's off somewhere playing "Guitar Hero." Well, I'm still single, published (Thanks University of Nebraska Press!) and empowered (hopefully a little funnier for it as well).