This is, I hope, the first of a series of writings I will do on baseball, and most of the ones I have intended to do will be much more an analysis of the game itself than this, which is supposed to be an explanation of my interest and an exploration on the formation of interest in Sport.
When ever I am asked why it is I am so into baseball, and spend the time I do on it I give the simple answer, that was the sport I most enjoyed playing as a child, and therefore why I still display a love for it today. This is not the full story, there are in fact a smattering of factors all of which contribute to the development of it to the point of my favorite hobby.
The first baseball related thing I remember is my grandfather watching it when I would visit. He was a Mets fan, and most of my memories of him are watching with him, not really sure what was happening, but feeling the tension nonetheless of every hit ball, or swinging strikeout. My most vivid memory is of the score being something like 5 or 6 to 4 or so, with two men on base and someone I did not know at bat. It was a later stage, maybe the top of the seventh, and I watch with glee and awe as this nameless, faceless human being laced a ball into the outfield, except that wasn’t the ball, that was a piece of the bat, the ball had actually bobbled out of the infield and into the right fielder’s mitt for a 2 rbi single. This was hit that tied up the score, and had me amazed for how crazy the game could be, a bat could be broken but the ball could still wriggle it’s way into a hit somehow.
When I was 6 or 7 I got a book written by some guy called Jorge Posada who I guess was a baseball player that was about baseball. As a child I loved it, and it only compounded my growing interest in baseball, as I found out you could bat lefty or righty, and about this team called the Yankee’s who piqued my attention. Now I should use this moment to explain that, yes, somehow with a grandfather who was a Mets fan I became a Yankee fan, despite only ever watching the Mets and the only other real baseball influence me being a fan of the Mets. Then again just watching the Mets is probably enough to push away an impressionable young fan, still finding out their options.
Then, as a 6/7 year old I joined my first proper team, around where I lived, with a bunch of the kids in my school, and to my shock this was a rare sport that I, perhaps not excelled, but certainly did well, slotting into the 3 spot and getting moved around the infield and outfield as the coach tried to find the best positions for some kids who were better at booting the ball in the air than actually catching. Perhaps even more important than my own ability at the sport though, was the fact our team went unbeaten for the season, and that I played all but one of the games. It was ridiculous fun smashing the ball and running the bases, and mucking around with friends when we were supposed to be ‘fielding’.
My interest sadly waned as I moved to England, where there was no reporting of baseball and for a long time I had not baseball influence. It started to creep back into my life at age 11 or 12 when a girl joined our school who was a Giant’s fan, really hard to talk to after their second WS by the way though. I then also found out about and joined a baseball league in London which was when most my knowledge about the actual game of baseball was developed, and allowed me to build up more and more of an enjoyment and slow dependency on the game. This for the longest time though was the extent of my baseball interest until about 3 years ago, where I followed, confused, the end of the Yankee’s 2014 season. I found out that that guy who had written that book was actually Jorge Posada, the long time Yankee Catcher and DH, who also could mash a few HR. As well as that I discovered the stat side of baseball. That discovery is why I spend so much time obsessing over baseball, as I learn more and more about the stats and sabermetrical developments going on in the game. I am now avidly waiting for the new season in 2017, and more importantly, really enjoying the WBC, although sad now the Netherlands have left.
So, this I hope has made it a bit clearer sport interest and jubilation comes from.