Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sports Fan

To my son Tommy,

Here in Baltimore they have regained a bit of the old time Oriole magic.  It is the first time for Baltimore's baseball team to be in the play offs in 15 years and people are excited.  I wish I could somehow get into the thrill of the hunt but I would kind of feel like a fair weather fan.

When I was young I was an Oriole fan no doubt.  I remember being about 9 years old yelling "Eddie! Eddie!" at Memorial stadium for 1st baseman Eddie Murray.  I would stay up and track stats off my handheld radio of my favorite Os.  When we live overseas we would sit glued to the Department of Defense television channel in hopes of Orioles news.  We would laugh when some unknowing DODs news anchor would mispronounce Mike Boddicker's name.  I think your grandfather and I attended almost every game in 1988 when the Orioles started the season 0-21.  We didn't care because tickets were free and easy to come by (for that whole year come to think of it) and being just back from being stationed overseas in Italy, we were dieing for some baseball.  We cheered and laughed and lamented when we lost, and we nearly had the entire stadium to ourselves.  I had my favorites in the outfield like Finley, Devereaux, Anderson, Bradley, Orsulak.  I attended the last game in Memorial stadium and one of the first few games in Camden Yards. I followed them on and on even when they started losing.  It wasn't till 2008 when I gave up.  They hit bottom and finished dead last and I just had no interest anymore.  I must admit I made it much longer than most.  I didn't change teams,  but without a team I pretty much gave up on following baseball.

Now they have a winning season and are playing the Yankees for a chance to go on ultimately (we hope) to winning the World Series.  I just can't get too excited because I remain skeptical that they had a winning season (all the stats and the newspaper said so, but I am still waiting for someone to say there was a clerical error) and I had been let down too many times before.  Also, if they do win, they might just altogether end up pricing me out of my future plans to return to being a baseball fan so my son can have that experience as well.

Being a sports team fan is often a liability in the sense that it usually costs you money and very rarely makes you money.  I can't think of a day being a fan has ever made me money.  It costs money for the ticket, money for that jersey, money for that red hot at the park, money for that large orange Orioles foam finger.  Perhaps it makes some business money when they give out seats to make their best customers happy, but even that can be suspect.  I think only MLB and Angelos have any chance of making money because of me being a fan.  Being a sports fan is expensive and it gets more expensive if your team wins.  If the O's start winning, and can continue success for a couple years, people won't give away tickets, or at least not to me, memorabilia prices rise, and everything becomes more expensive.  Your old man and you may just have to turn away from the majors and find that father-son bond in some lower cost minor league organization like the Frederick Keys.  Rest assured though, we will share a seventh inning stretch and maybe one day you can fulfill a childhood dream of mine and actually put to use the baseball glove we will bring to every stadium in hopes of snagging that foul ball or better yet the home run ball!

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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