Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On baseball teams - my favorites

Ah, the more observant among you have certainly noticed the plural in that heading... and are probably thinking, what gives?

Truth to tell, my favorite baseball team of all time has to be the Chicago Cubs.

But there have been others.

My first ballgame was a double header at Fenway, only I was far too young to remember it (2 months). It would be thirty years before I returned to that park but I've always felt a little soemthing for my first team (and first ballcap, and first piggy bank). I'll root for the Red Sox if they are not playing one of my other favorites.

In Syracuse, where I grew up, we only had a minor league team, the Chiefs, who were a farm team of the Yankees. For some reason I liked the Reds instead, who were about as far away as New York City was and they had Johnny Bench. I loved Johnny Bench.

When we moved to Buffalo, I continued liking the Reds, but the new cable company brought the Cubs into my life, and I always rooted for the Cubs. Even against the Reds.

Next we moved to California, in the last part of 11th grade for me. I took to the hometown Giants, but not really. I still liked the Cubs, and still could watch them on cable. They often sucked, but they were my Cubbies.

Moved to Sacramento, rode in the bus convoy to the Bay to press for a team of our own. Still have the shirt - Sacramento's March on Baseball!

Didn't work.

Off to Buffalo again, where I fell in love with our ballpark and our team. the park had been built almost across the street from my office, and was designed to be expandable if we got a ball team (they went to Toronto instead). It was a terrific park, well-designed, without a bad seat in the house. We'd often go over and watch a few innings at lunch, have a fried bologna and a Labatt's , then head back to work. I'd go over about once a week during the summer, and saw many games. They won often, too, conquering the International League and then another league season after season.

Then, of course, I moved to Chicago, home of the Cubs!

Unlike a lot of my fellow fans, I don't have any hatred for the White Sox (though when they won the Series, I couldn't get up for that any more than if they had been, say, Tampa). I've even been to a few games, and will gladly root them on so long as they're not playing the Cubs.

Truth to tell, there are a lot of teams I'll choose over others, for what may seem the oddest of reasons.

Pittsburgh Pirates, because of Roberto Clemente. Died in a plane crash flying relief to earthquake victims in Nicaraqua. Made quite an impression on me as a kid.

Cincinnati Reds, because of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine. Just... cool.

Boston Red Sox, because of Carl Yastrzemski. My Dad went to school with Yaz at Notre Dame for a year, and that's good enough for me. :)

Cleveland Indians, because they were the prent team for the Bisons and I saw a lot of guys get called up. Not so much anymore because I don't follow the Bisons anymore.

Chicago Cubs - my all-time favorite bunch of loveable losers who actually are having a pretty good game this year. Waiting for the eventual breakdown, but it's fun while it lasts.

I don't really have any teams I hate - or even much dislike. I root against the Cardinals, even though they're a good team, because of the threat to the Cubs' standings, but I kind of like those guys... who couldn't like Dizzy Dean and the Gashouse Gang?

I root FOR teams, not against them - in baseball, at any rate.

Who knows? It's the nature of the game.


Martin said...

Three posts in one day! Wow. Yeah, you'll be blogging here full time - count on it. Glad to see all the sports talk - even though I don't follow a lot of sports (okay, I hardly follow any sports - I've never been the jock type, even the couch-jock type).

KC Ryan said...

I've never considered myself an especially big sports fan - it's just primarily baseball I really love.

Ice hockey comes in second.

Football, third.

Basketball, seventh.


KC Ryan said...

How could I forget?

Houston Astros - for no other reason than I played on the team designated Astros, year after year. Still have a soft spot for those guys.