After growing up in the Bay Area, cheering for Bay Area teams, being a Bay Area sports fan, I get the feeling I'm in for a big change. I'm on my way to my summer vacation: a week in New York and a weekend in Boston. We're going to a Yankees game and a Red Sox game as well. And, along the way, I'm going to try my hand at covering the sport of BASEBALL, not just the Giants.
With the exception of watching a few minor league games of Indians' farm teams in Ohio, I have never had a sports experience outside of California. I haven't been a home team anywhere else, and I definitely have never experienced the history that I spend my time reading about.
There's something about actually being in a place that you've heard so many people talk about, and I'm on my way there right now, visiting two of the three must-see stadiums on my list.
On Tuesday night, I'm going to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees take on the San Diego Padres. I have no personal feelings towards either team, but given the chance to walk through the same halls as some of the best players to ever play baseball is something that will not be accessible after this year.
The history books are changing, and kids reading "old" baseball stories will read about Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio, not the real pioneers of the game like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.
Personally, the Yankees are one of the easiest teams to hate, and I do. I despise the Yankees, yet I have to respect their 26 championships and abundance of Hall of Fame talent. The pedigree of Mantle, Ruth, DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig Whitey Ford, Casey Stengel, and Yogi Berra are not comparable to the likes of other teams, and to be in that stadium will be a real treat.
Like I said, I don't really care about the current Yankees, whose infield alone earns more than the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays combined, but to be one of the last people to walk through "The House That Ruth Built" is something I will always remember.
Going against all tradition, and against most people's common sense, that Friday I'll head over to Boston to watch the Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Boston is a city that I also love to hate, seeing as it has the Sox AND the Patriots (I do like the Celtics though). The Sox have had their run in the last decade, but are also one of the first franchises to establish itself on the East Coast.
Fenway Park holds a lot of history as well, and is one of the oldest stadiums in the league. Red Sox fans are some of the greatest in baseball, or so I've heard. There's so much history in this park as well, and one of my favorite players of all time, Ted Williams, called Fenway home for his whole career.
This is a first for me to drop any bias I have against these teams and immerse myself into being part of a bigger picture. I doubt that I'll become a Sox fan or start wearing pinstripes, but these places are landmarks in baseball history, and as a baseball fan, it is my duty to experience these stadiums, these teams, and these cities with a clean slate.
Both teams have done enough to earn my respect, and I hope every other fan, in any sport, can find the time in their life to go to places like this and pay homage to the history that preceded them.