Monday, April 3, 2017

#AtoZChallenge: B Is for Baseball, Beisbol, Base-Ball, Puro Yakyu, Yagu, Bangqiu...

            (I don’t know what other languages have a word for baseball, but if you know, please post a comment.)
            Yes, Sunday was opening day for a few teams, but as far as I’m concerned, today is the official Opening Day, and the first game for the New York Mets. The Mets have been my team for the past 30 years. Yes, I became a fan in 1986, the second time they won the World Series.
           The only reason I hadn’t been a Mets fan before is that I thought they were too far away from where I live. We’d been going to Yankee games for about eight years, and though we had to go downtown to get to the Bronx, which is uptown, Queens seemed so far away. Until my daughter started high school in 1986, and her school had a block of seats at Shea Stadium in mid-September. Of course we went, that is, my husband and I went. Our daughter wasn’t all that interested. And it didn’t take much longer to get to Shea than it did to get to Yankee Stadium. And no only were the Mets contending, but they were playing real baseball – that is, baseball without the designated hitter.
            I’ve been an off-and-on baseball fan since childhood. Well, sort of. In 1949, I lived in Brooklyn and was in the second grade. A classmate asked me whether I was for the Dodgers or the Yankees. I had never heard of the Dodgers (surprising, because my lefty parents surely knew about Jackie Robinson), but our downstairs babysitter had mentioned the Yankees, so I said I was for the Yankees. “You live in Brooklyn, so you gotta be for da Dodgers,” my classmate said, in strong Brooklynese. You can’t tell me who to be for, I thought, and instantly conceived a (somewhat) lifelong hatred of the Dodgers: it waned somewhat when they moved to L.A., then returned when they beat the Mets in playoffs in 1988.
            As a teen, I lived in Philadelphia suburbs, so became a fan of the Phillies, the lowly Phillies, last in the National League when there only 16 teams in the two leagues combined, so the Phillies were last of eight. Sometimes they’d end in seventh place. I kept a residual allegiance to the Yankees, since they could be sure to win and balance out my fandom for the underdog.
            I think this is enough about baseball for today. Except to add that the Mets won today, their 36 opening day win against only 12 losses since 1970 (they lost their first eight opening day games). And it was a pretty interesting game, a pitcher’s duel through six, then the Braves’ bullpen fell apart.

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