I haven’t listened to the pitchers and catchers report once this year, guys.
Quite truthfully, I’m avoiding baseball entirely.
Avoidance seems to be the best way for me to deal with a bout of cognitive dissonance that began last spring, when I, a supposed tried and true Yankee fan, got all hot and bothered by another team.
To make matters worse, that team was the Mets.
I married into Yankee fandom eleven years ago.
My husband, a California native, traded in his beloved Padres for the Pinstripes when he arrived in New Jersey as a teenager.
We had football in our house, and we had hockey. But baseball ruled.
The games were on all the time. At first I watched to be supportive. Baseball was a way for us to spend time together. Before children, it wasn’t unusual for the two of us to drive up to Yankee Stadium on a Friday night to catch a game.
It was those live games that got me hooked.
Soon, there was no other place in the world that I would have rather been than Yankee Stadium. It wasn’t just watching the games that awed me, but it was the history of that stadium. It was the stories of passion and wins and non-wins and the heartbreak and triumphs behind them.
The injustice of Don Mattingly never taking home a World Series ring.
The understated magnificence of Lou Gerhig’s farewell speech.
The mystery surrounding the transaction that traded Babe to the team.
Along with most baseball fans, I had my superstitions. There was the hat that I insisted I wear to every Yankees game, despite its tattered condition.
After the 2007 Boston Red Sox World Series win, that broke the curse of 1918, I took it as a sign that the world was going to end.
I was afraid, guys. For weeks.
In the fall of 2003, six months pregnant with my first baby, I sat in the bleachers during the dramatic game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox, where the Yankees won in the bottom of the 11th thanks to Aaron Boone’s walk off home run.
I took off work the next day for no other reason but to bask in the awesomeness of that win.
Yet, despite my love of all things Yankees, there were at times, an undercurrent of disapproval. There was George (rest his soul) and his temper tantrums, and the huge Yankee payroll, and the players accused of using performance enhancing drugs, again and again and again.
And while I remained a fan, there were disagreements. There were doubts. And while every relationship has those, mine, at times, overshadowed my loyalty.
And then, on June 1st of last year, John Santana threw the first no-hitter in the history of the Mets.
I was elated. So elated, that I sort of felt like I had to hide it. Like I was defying my beloved Yankees by being so happy for another team. And while rejoicing in the success of another team would seem like good sportsmanship to many, it’s not so much with a Yankee fan, when speaking of one of their two notorious rivals.
My moment of joy over the Mets no-hitter revealed a moment of truth for me.
I’ve always kind of been a closet Mets fan.
In a city with two baseball teams, one which is overshadowed by 27 big, shiny rings and an even bigger payroll, I can’t help but root for the scrappier team of the two that keeps on trying.
I’ve always loved the underdog, and in baseball, it’s no different.
Am I going to throw out my lucky baseball cap?
And I will never look at a number 46 without thinking about Andy or a number 2 without thinking about Jeter.
I’ll never be able to hear “Enter Sandman” without thinking about Mo.
But I’m not sure if I can stay faithful to just one team anymore.
Am I an adulteress?
Am I a fair weathered fan?
And do I really have to choose?
And if so, why?
Your turn: Have you ever switchted teams?
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