The Very First Time: An Explanation of My Fandom

I grew up loving the Yanks because the first baseball game I went to was at Yankee stadium. I was seven years old, the year was 1985, and I watched with bated breath in anticipation of Rickey Henderson pulling off a dramatic heist in broad daylight. You see, my older brother had gone to a game a month before and in his excited detailed recap of the game, he had mentioned that this thief named Rickey Henderson had managed to "steal" 3 bases during the game. So when I ended up going to a game with my mom’s friend, a librarian, and her daughter, I was fixated on this player named Rickey who so brazenly stole bases in front of crowds of people. I kid you not. I was not the brightest kid, a stubborn literalist and not yet familiar with the oddities of the baseball lexicon. What’s more is that the librarian and her daughter did nothing to demystify the word for me. You’d think someone who read as many books would be sensitive to a young child’s confusion with the complexities of a word. I remember asking, ‘Is Rickey Henderson going to steal more bases today."

"I would bet on that; he always steals bases."

Established that I was going to see something real bad go down that day, and that, somehow it was a necessary part of the game, I waited and waited. I imagined that he would go up to a base when fielder and ump were not looking, pick it up, put it under his shirt, and then run like hell to his team’s dugout. Since my brother had implied that this was a good thing, I imagined that the crowd would go crazy and cheer wildly when he got to the safety of his teammates.

Of course, I waited until the end of the game and nothing like that happened. ‘Susan, Rickey Henderson didn’t steal any bases today," I said quietly. "Yeah, Nicky, he only stole 4!"

The point of this story is that I’m a slow learner and also the game of baseball is one of wonder. What I didn’t talk about was how beautiful the weather was, how gigantic and impressive I found Yankee stadium, how the players movements were so fluid and perfect that I became addicted to the game that day. The major point of the story is to let Sox fans know that even though I’m a Yanks fan, I’m also a human. Be kind.

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