It’s one of the oldest American pasttimes. October Fever starts a day early this year. I’m pleased to announce that yet again, my favorite baseball team ever, the New York Yankees, are in the division play-offs. Tonight’s going to be the first game. Home field advantage. Against the Detroit Tigers. Were Detroit playing anyone else, I’d root for them. But they’re not. They’re playing the Yankees. And I’m nothing if not a die-hard Yankees fan.
My love of the Yankees has always been. I’ve rooted for the Tigers, the Twins, even the Brewers… all part of my Midwest heritage. But it’s the Yankees that have always captured my heart. My poor daughter suffers through my chants and cheers (almost) every October.
I have a Yankees sweater jacket that I bought at Disneyland when I was pregnant with her. It’s my favorite attire (other than my red blouse). It’s the jacket I wear every fall.
My old boss used to tease me that it was a condition of my employment that I root for the Angels. I agreed, from 9 to 5, I was an Angels fan. But that didn’t stop me from flaunting that jacket every day on the back of my chair. Hey, he made no requirement to hide Yankee fan swag. And at 5:01, we were both out the door in friendly rivalry. I admit the Angels, at times, have been formidable.
But it’s the Yanks who have made it 16 out of the last 17 years. They’re not perfect. But they’re New York. And that’s good enough for me.
Their heritage alone makes them one of the best teams to support. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and my favorite, Lou Gherig. “The Pride of the Yankees” is Lou’s story, and one I highly recommend, whether you love baseball or not.
My Second Family has tried to get me into hockey. It’s working, a little. I’m learning the terminology and the players (mostly for their favorite team, the Anaheim Ducks), but it’s no bat and ball. I love the roar of Nascar, too. But it can’t come close to how I feel today.
One of my favorite authors, W. P. Kinsella, wrote about baseball often. One of his short story collections is titled “The Thrill of the Grass”. That pretty much sums it up.
The sun is setting a little lower. The air is a little crisper. Can you smell the roasted peanuts? Can you hear the roar of the crowds? Can you see the team spirit?
Can you feel the thrill of the grass?