Jan 14, 2009

My World of Baseball-Part I: My Fandom

Editor's Note: I wish I owned a scanner. This is first on the wishlist.

Baseball is an escape of sorts. It's an idealization of physical skill and mental concentration to bring about a larger goal on a competitive level. This has been waxed poetically about for decades ranging from Henry Chadwick, Grantland Rice, Bill James, Ken Burns, and Joe Posnanski with many in between. Each game is a story and each discrete event in the game has been predicated by previous thoughts and actions. It is a graceful tug of will and ability.

That, however, is not my role. I am a fan. I haven't played a full-scale version of baseball since I was 11. I am an intense, introspective fan. The daily travails of my favorite team can be etched across the gleams and grimaces on my face. The accomplishments which shape baseball lore are lights of memory in my life, regardless of whether I cheer for them or not.

I am a Phillies fan; it is deeply rooted. I attended the 1983 World Series when I could barely walk. I attended the NLCS Game 6 in 1993 in Veterans Stadium when the Phillies went to the World Series for the first time in my life. I moved to the west coast three years ago, so now I am a fan at a distance. I managed to see three Phillies games this year in three different cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, including NLCS game 3.

In other years, I was there for the 13 game winning streak in 1991, the John Smoltz near no-hitter thrown against them in 1990?, the Randy Ready triple play, the Ricky Jordan grand slam, the last hurrah of Mike Schmidt, fireworks game, Phanatic's birthday games, the Lenny Dykstra inside the park home run against the Mets, the booing of Scott Rolen before the trade, Curt Schilling striking out 16 Yankees....I've seen a lot of Phillies games live in my life (maybe 200?). I've also lived in St. Louis and the Bay Area and gone to their stadiums because I love it, simple as that. Like many other fans, I watch/follow games on TV/internet/radio.

It is not the only way I follow. I am an avid reader of books, magazines, and internet sites. I collect baseball cards. I have very few people in my life who can take a lot of baseball commentary in a day. So I have decided to write about it through my undecidedly biased prism.

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