Everyone has a story about how they became a Yankee fan. Several times this season, we have held an open discussion about our respective histories as Yankee fans. Some were born fans, who have only known the Bombers as their favorite team. Others became interested in baseball and the Yankees later on. Each story is unique but for the vast majority of us, we owe our fandom to a loved one. It may have been a parent, grandparent, an uncle, an aunt, or maybe even an older cousin, who took time to nurture and cultivate our fandom. As we grow older, we in turn pass on that love and inspire a future generation. Without question some of our members have already been through this with their kids or in the case of some, grandkids.
Like many, my father is a diehard Yankee fan. His love of the Bombers extends almost fifty years when he would go see his favorite player, Mickey Mantle play back in the original Yankee Stadium as a child. My father in turn made certain to expose me early to the Yankees. My most common outfit as a babe was a pinstripe Yankee onesie, of which there are numerous photos. As I grew a little older, my interest in baseball was almost non-existent, more casual as cartoons, tag and running around the neighborhood with my best friend took precedence. In spite of that, one of my earliest and fondest memories is when my father first taught me how to swing a bat and his own surprise that I was a natural switch hitter.
Yesterday marked my niece Cyann’s fifth birthday; it also marks the first time that my family has not been present to celebrate her birthday, due to my sister and her husband moving to St. Louis this August. Every week, we always held Sunday dinner where the family would get together. Without fail, as soon as Cyann would walk into the house, she would run over, pluck my Yankee cap off the rack and plop it on her head with the widest little grin on her face. For the longest time, I was never sure if Cyann liked my Yankee cap because it happened to be her uncle’s favorite hat. One week though, David Robertson had just secured a save, Cyann, still wearing my Yankee cap started jumping up and down cheering right in front of the television. I can never be completely certain but, I take that as a sign that my father and I made another little Yankee fan.