I’ve been a baseball fan since I went to my first Mariners game. I was about 7. I don’t remember much from that first game except eating cotton candy with my older sister, sitting in the 300 level at the Kingdome. My dad brought us, introducing me to baseball, continuing the most American of traditions.
Each time I was given the chance to go to a game I accepted. My dad reluctantly became a Mariners fan after growing up a Red Sox fan outside Boston. The visiting team we saw most often was the Red Sox, and as such I’ve developed an affection for them as well. I always liked baseball, but I was bitten bad my freshman year of high school. It may have had to do with a teeny little crush on Russ Davis, our intrepid 3rd baseman, but my love of baseball was pure. I tried to write every paper for school on baseball and grew to admire and respect the stars of the past.
Baseball was a natural sport for me to gravitate towards. It’s a sport that has a rich history and a respectful history, full of arguments and lore. It’s a cerebral sport, with more going on than meets the casual eye.
In high school I was also an Atlanta Braves fan, watching their games each afternoon after school on TBS, followed by the Mariners later that evening. My dad and I came up with nicknames for the players and bantered throughout each game. I thank my love of baseball for the close relationship I developed with my dad and the bond that lives on to this day.
I began college at the University of Massachusetts where my passion for the Mariners earned me the nickname Mariner Mandy, which continues to this day.
But as I grew up and began working and fighting for free time in the adult world, my baseball time was severely diminished. I worked at Safeco Field for 4 seasons, putting up close and personal with my favorite team in my favorite sport. Up close and personal isn’t always a good thing. I once wanted to marry a baseball player so I could get free tickets to every game; after seeing what they are really like I think I prefer to buy my own.
Then the steroids scandal broke and I feel away from baseball for a number of years. The betrayal, the feeling of losing the stars and accomplishment of my childhood hurt. I’d been cheated by the sport I loved.
The Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004 kept me somewhat connected to the game, but the Mariner teams in the years after 2001 have been awful and try as I might to focus on Ichiro and his small ball and defense that I loved, it wasn’t enough to keep me involved.
But baseball is my kryptonite and as wounded as I feel from it, I’ve slowly been coming back. I’ve been reading more books, watching more, and when Mark McGwire confessed and confirmed that the home run race of 1998 was fully a sham I felt a sense of relief, that the worst was over.
I’m a baseball fan pure and simple. I’m not a GM or a statistician. I love the game and the million games within a game. I was fascinated with Moneyball and find the new statistics and measurements to be beyond interesting. But the fact is, I love the stolen base, the perfectly placed bunt, the diving outfield catch.
I’m starting this blog because I want to write about baseball, as a fan. Despite what the steroids era took from me, there are some experiences that will live forever untarnished. The 1995 season was incredible. I will never forget the one game playoff against the Angels or Griffey’s mad dash for home in the Division Series. It’s not just the moments on the field that make memories for baseball fans. I remember clearly all the crazy superstitions I’ve developed and gone through. From as simple as not eating or going to the bathroom during a game to as insane as eating a Carmel Apple pop at precise moments (hey, it helped the Mariners to a 20-7 June of 1997!).
Baseball is life.