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The Importance of Baseball and the Yankees to Me

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Home away from home.
Home away from home.

I've heard people call baseball a boring sport, an unwatchable sport, and just about every demeaning term to describe a sport possible. People ask me why I love baseball so much, why I insist on watching every single game, why I watch games when the score is 14-7 and a hitter is pitching, why on earth I would possibly care so much about a sport played by a bunch of ego-driven people that can barely be called athletes. Seriously, these are questions I hear, and these are questions I struggle to answer.

Ignoring the obvious mistakes in the questions, I cannot simply explain why I love baseball, why I love the Yankees, why every single pitch means so much to me. Considering I write for a Yankees blog, there's no better time to explain myself than now.

As a child I was not into watching baseball, though I did play baseball often. My love for baseball grew when I suffered an accident as a teenager and spent nights in a hospital room. On the first day of summer I popped my artery and was forced to stay in for the majority of the summer to regain strength and heal. Although I attended many games before the accident, the time watching every pitch of every Yankees game led to me gaining a greater appreciation for players and the game itself.

When I attended a Yankees game with my cast on I could not clap, so I banged my cast against a nearby pole. (not nearly as painful as it sounds) The fans around me noticed and did the same, rather than clapping. I began to feel like Yankee Stadium was my home away from home. It still is.

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Since the accident my love for baseball grew rapidly. I began writing about baseball, and using the sport to distract myself from my personal problems.

Over the last couple of years I have dealt with diagnosed depression, something more difficult to deal with than words can express. I'm not writing this for pity, but because baseball became my distraction from my mind, my freedom from the jail that was my life.

As I regained confidence and grew as a person through my experiences, my baseball experiences helped me find my path. On a day that I felt completely out of it I attended a Yankees-Twins game and witnessed solid pitching from my favorite Yankees pitcher, Phil Hughes, an inside the park home run from my favorite hitter, Brett Gardner, and a walk-off hit.

For those ~3 hours, my problems were non-existent. It was just me, the baseball field, the crowd, and the love of the game. Pure bliss.