It is that time of year. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp, apples are being harvested and the WORLD SERIES is about to start. Have I told you that baseball makes me cry? It does, and I don't know why. Even baseball movies make me cry. "There is no crying in baseball!"- name that movie. There is something about the green grass and fresh dirt with he crisp white base lines and the singing of the National Anthem that chokes me up. Every game I have gone to, major or minor league, evokes this emotion. I love sitting in the bleachers (or box seats, how ever it may be) eating a dog, drinking an overpriced beer and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Some of my fondest memories involve being at a ball park somewhere.
I am a Yankees Fan and I am shameless about it. I have been since I was 11 years old, but not because I loved baseball. There was this boy. It's always about a boy, isn't it? I had the biggest crush on this boy. He had dark hair and blue eyes and he loved the Yankees (and the Dallas Cowboys, but that didn't stick with me) Since he loved the Pinstripe Boys, I did too. We grew up, I grew out of the crush, but my love of the Yankees stuck. I have since friended this "boy" on Face Book (love me some FB, y'all!) and told him this story. He said the only reason he like the Yankees is because his Dad did. Go figure!
In June of 2001 I was in New York to attend a Yankees-Indians game. I was on cloud 9! It had been a life long dream of mine to go to The House that Ruth Built. Only thing was, I was with a large group of Indians fans. I remember the day clearly. I had on a Yankee jersey, a Yankee hat and my fingernails were painted with the NY skyline. On the way to the stadium I stopped and asked NYPD traffic cop for directions. He gave them to me, looked at how I was dressed and said with a heavy NY accent: "God loves a Yankee Fan" and winked his sparkling blue eye.
At the stadium a very large group of very large and rowdy NY Firefighters were having a tailgate party. As our group walked by the firefighters began showing true NY hospitality by telling all the Indians fans to "Go Back to Cleveland- Indians Suck!" All of a sudden, one fire fighter noticed that I was bedecked and bedazzled in all my pinstripe glory and literally snatched me up and took me to their party. I was hugged and kissed and cheered by this group of drunken men. They all wanted to know what I was doing with "that bunch of losers" and decided they wanted to keep me. My poor sister who was on the trip with me didn't know what to do! Eventually they turned me loose because they didn't want me to miss the opening pitch and this was their parting words: "Sweetheart, you're an honorary new Yorker today. Come back anytime!"
We went to the game, I spent an obscene amount of money in the gift shop and the Yankees won. All was right with the world.
Then 9-11 happened. As I watched history unfold on the TV, my thoughts turned to that cop and those fire fighters and I cried real tears as I realized they could be dead. It still breaks my heart.
And so, with the 2009 World Series about to begin, I wonder if those FDNY guys and that cop are gonna be watching down on the game tonight, and cheering on their boys. Cuz you know, God Loves a Yankee Fan.