I’ve mentioned, I trust, in passing that I’m a baseball fan. Technically, I’m a Yankees fan which, now living in South Eastern Connecticut, still has me among the majority of “four out of five dentists who expressed a preference for gum” in relation to the loyal subjects of Red Sox Nation though in recent years, the numbers have tightened considerably.
I grew up a San Francisco Giants fan because my father was one and he was one because he’d been a NY Giants until Walter O’Malley who owned the Brooklyn Dodgers, not content to break my Mom’s heart, talked Horace Stoneham who owned the National League team playing at the Polo Grounds, into also moving his ball club across the country to the city by the bay.
When the Lords of Baseball added the Houston Colt 45’s and the New York Mets to the National League, my dad and by extension, his first two sons (#3 wasn’t even rumored yet), went right out to Meet the Mets. Speaking, perhaps only for me, the pilgrimages to Shea (when it was built), far more numerous than the jaunts to the House that Ruth Built, never really took and I find myself in the summer of my 62nd year not being able to list a single starting pitcher or even position player for The Amazin’s. They deserve better; shame on me.
I can’t do it for the pitching staff of the Yankees either, but that has a lot to do with injuries and bad luck (all Yankees, btw; I’ve been hale and healthy) and to be honest, it’s not been much of a season, looking at the first half of Derek Jeter’s final bow. Much like the ending for Mariano Rivera, the denouement for his remarkable career would seem to be in danger of ‘falling short.’
Jeter will appear in his final All-Star Game tonight primarily because I voted for him about two hundred and forty seven kajillion times on-line. Please note my absence of an apologetic tone. If anything, I’m sorry I couldn’t vote for him more than I did-things like work, family and sleep got in the way-because I’ve been huge fan of his work throughout his career.
I am well-aware that while we call baseball a game, it’s a serious business (with an anti-trust exemption bestowed upon it by the Congress of the United States) and being an aged man who roots for younger but still aging men who make a handsome living engaged in pursuit of a game children on sandlots enjoy, I don’t really care that the irony of all of this is as obscene as it frequently is.
I will still root for my Yankees (don’t tell the Steinbrenners about my possessiveness) when Jeter no longer takes up his position after the season concludes but for tonight especially and for all the days of this season that remain, I’d wish him nothing less than an MVP year as I join with other fans, whose teams are not lucky enough to be the Yankees, in celebrating an athlete who always did what he loved while giving those of us who loved watching him do it reasons to cheer for two decades.