There was a time when I was not nearly as emotionally attached to baseball as I am now... Twins games were merely a benign presence in my life - something I occasionally went to with my dad to appease him. My involvement went about as deep as sitting with my sister, eating Skittles and making fun of Ron Coomer's name. Usually I brought a book. To me, these things were much more enjoyable than caring about some guys hitting a small ball with a small stick and then trying to outrun said ball to a little white slab on the ground. Pretty dumb.
Then, my friend Emily started dragging me to games with her, because she thought A.J. Pierzynski was dreamy. I started to learn players names, more detailed rules of the game, and the joy of heckling outfielders from the cheap seats. Despite my resistance, baseball was starting to win me over, sort of like a guy you think is a loser but then they keep bringing you flowers and chocolates and you start to think maybe they're not so bad after all.
But there was more...I remember the moment I really fell in love with baseball - the moment it broke my heart. It's amazing how love and hate are so frequently packaged together, and I find it ironically appropriate that this happened shortly following my first (so far only) huge, ugly heartwrenching breakup.
I was sitting in my friend Jon's dorm room in October 2002, watching game 5 of the AL division playoffs between Minnesota and Anaheim. I thought we were in like flynn. I had never been more sure of anything in my life than I was that the Minnesota Twins were going to the World Series.
Nothing can describe the wrenching feeling in my gut when Adam Kennedy's bat connected with that small leather sphere of destiny, making his 3rd home run of the game... not just any homer but a 3 run homer. The unlikeliness and the unfairness of it all was enough to make me yell and throw things at the TV screen, which I probably did. As the angels scored run after run, my heart was like a little bug being ground into the sidewalk buy the foot of a 7 year old...that 7 year old being the Anaheim Angels.
Oddly enough, this experience proved to be the gateway to my obsession with baseball. I had found a sport that played with my heart much like my 19 year old hormones did - mercilessly. Baseball is full of suspense and calculated moves. Every play is potentially game-saving or game-ruining; one missed catch can mean you're down by 3 runs. One great pitch and you're safely out of an inning. It was also during college, or maybe shortly thereafter, that I discovered my appreciation for Justin Morneau's backside. Either way, I was already hooked.
Along the way I developed another passion - hatred for the New York Yankees. Allow me to explain - my dislike of the Yankees is somewhat similar to my disdain for someone who buys a really ugly pair of $700 Louboutin heels and then walks through the mud in them.
1) Just because your shoes cost a lot doesn't mean they're pretty. Similarly, just because you spend a lot of money on guys who can hit the ball really hard and really far doesn't mean you have a great baseball team.
2) If you do spend a lot of money on something, try not to fuck it up. If one of your player's salaries is the same as the salary of other entire teams, you should be able to trounce the shit out of everyone you meet, or at least you should be able to pay them to lose. The Yankees do not do this. They're not *horrible* per se, but clearly the ammount of money Steinbrenner shells out is not enough to do the trick.
3) The Yankees are the satan of baseball. In my opinion. This has nothing to do with shoe analogies, except that sometimes apparently, the devil wears Prada.
So there it is. A brief history of my love affair with baseball. Since I haven't been able to stay up until 12 to watch the Padres games, I'll have to let Ben continue to document these (however truthfully) but I promise I'll be back next week with some extremely accurate coverage.
Have a great weekend!