Monday, October 26, 2009

a fan is born

As a NY Mets fan I have found the last few weeks to be difficult. I have never rooted for the NY Yankees. My formative years for baseball enthusiasm were the late 60’s. The Yankees struggled in those years and the Mets flourished. I felt more of a natural connection to the Mets as well. I grew up in Brooklyn-a la Gil Hodges and the Dodgers. I loved the flare of Agee and Jones, the tenacity of Seaver and the humanness of Swoboda. And I keenly tuned in for a few minutes of Kiner’s Korner after each game.

Now that the National League and Eastern Division Philadelphia Phillies are joining the NY Yankees in the Fall Classic I am almost without words. Only utterances flow past my lips when I speak of baseball.

My six year old son, however, is with words and free of mumbles. I had hoped he would naturally become a Mets fan, as did my daughter. But my daughter grew up with better Met teams. She was weaned on the affability of Piazza and Franco, the resolve of Leiter and the humanness of Bobby Valentine. I have not lived with any Yankee fans for over 30 years. I wholeheartedly wish that family loyalty could trump independent choice on this matter. But, in the final analysis, I favor the joys of fatherhood over the pleasures of sports fanaticism.

And so I did have a smile on my face at breakfast today as I took in the images on the morning back page. My happiness was not derived from connecting with the picture of Jeter, Rodriguez and Teixeira waving arms in celebration. My happiness was grown from seeds planted a couple of weeks ago. I had been informed by my sprouting six year old that the Yankees were in the first round of the playoffs. I was not even aware that he knew there were different rounds to the playoffs. The next week he gave me more news—they were in the second round. Then as he came to the table this morning he peered over my shoulder and saw the pinstripes, the smiles and the hoopla. He said, “Third round Dad-third round.” I said, “It’s worse than that-it’s the World Series.” He waved up his arms and said-“Yes!” There were no words for me but a big smile for him.

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