The start of the season and every team has a shot, anything can happen. This year is no different. Evidence- the Royals swept Detroit to start the year. The Royals! After a dozen games, Baltimore is in first and the Sox in the cellar. Imagine that? Obviously, there’s a long way to go in the season. But for me, the season doesn’t really start until the first Red Sox Yankees series. That’s when it’s time to get serious. But this year, things are different. I have finally converted. After growing up in NY and living 20 years in Boston, I have finally kicked my addiction to New York laundry. Of course, I had to move 3000 miles away to do that. It wasn't easy. But more on that later.
It’s not that I haven’t tried before. I’ve been in enough kick the Yankee habit 12 step programs to recognize the absurdity of it all. My family, friends, and co-workers all rooting for the Sox, and me watching the game alone in another room. These last few years, I’ve channeled my grandfather and his Brooklyn Bums as I would say, “wait ‘til next year”. For 20 years, I’ve admitted that I can’t control my addiction of Yankee fandom and recognized that there was a greater power (Big Papi?, Beckett?, no, definitely not Schilling) that could give me the strength.
Having lived in the area for so long, I knew the history of the players, the front office, the reporters, and Fenway itself. I gobbled it all up, I really was a fan, just not for your team. In fact, I probably knew more about the Olde Towne Team than the Yankees. But for every endearing Coke bottle sign, Wade Boggs chicken recipe, Mike Gimbel hiring, Manny being Manny event and every thing else, I would still root for the team from the Bronx.
I knew the nastiness first hand, too. The Jeter su*ks calls, Larry and the evil empire, the A-Rod blonde wigs, Pedro and Who’s your daddy, the awful comments on sports radio and beer thrown on me in the bleachers. And all of that was just one day at Fenway! No, Boston fans are not nice to New Yorkers. In fairness, I never had a problem at Yankee Stadium. But then Yankee fans treat every other team equally--- poorly. They don’t discriminate.
As a sports fan, I devoured every Shaughnessy Curse of the Bambino and Boston is better than New York article with disgust. Even though the crude inside jokes on the Big Show annoyed me, I listened. I watched and read, but from the sidelines, never crossing to the other side.
So how does a leopard change its spots. And why after so many years. The answer is in the distance. Living in Seattle for 3 years, my passion for baseball hasn’t diminished, but my exposure to the passionate has. Our caffeine obsessed, slacker culture has dialed things down. I watch the games, check the stats, but things are less intense. I am immune to the behaviors that used to bother me and turn me off. And that is how I found the will to convert. By not hearing the offensive arrogance, I can love the team for what it is. Now I can enjoy the games with my kids, my friends and share the joy. I don’t cheer for Jeter anymore, but then you won’t hear me saying Jeter su*ks either.