Start Spreading the News


If you follow baseball the way I follow baseball - and that is to say choosing to focus not on the salaries and the hype and the negatives - but instead on the personalities and the improbabilities and the heart - then you've got some teams that you will cherish and hold on to in your memory forever, like old friends.

I grew up at Exhibition Stadium and cheered for my beloved Blue Jays when both the franchise and I were too young and naive to know that we should feel badly about losing. One of my fondest memories in sports was in 1983, when I was eight years old and they were six years old and they managed to play .500 ball for the first time. In many ways that may have been sweeter than any World Series victory I've hoped for over the years. We weren't winners, but hell, we weren't losers either. We were...OKAY. And it felt great. Those were the days we listened to the games on the radio and only got to see the team on TV once a week, if we were lucky. Those were the days before the emergence of Sky Dome and the back-to-back World Series wins of the 90's. Those wins that never felt anything but empty to me. They weren't the team I loved as a kid anymore and try as I might I felt nothing for Joe Carter or Roberto Alomar or John Olerud.

With Garth Iorg and Willie Upshaw.

I had been quietly cheating on the Jays for years though, first when I started to take books out of the elementary school library on Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio and later when I totally crushed on the 1987 and 1988 Minnesota Twins (I couldn't help but love Kirby Puckett). Cheering the Twins on gave me a taste of victory, and I liked it. But over the next few years I lost interest in the game. The striking, the steroids and my conflicted attention span all played a role in my disinterest. I still watched the standings and took note of the post season but it wasn't the same.

I had lost interest in the game...that is until the winter of 1995 when I read a sort of scouting report in New York Magazine on the 1996 New York Yankees. This Jeter kid, who was just my age sounded like SUCH a throw back to the glory days that I had read about and thought were a thing of the past. It wasn't that he captured my imagination that day; it was that the IDEA of him did. The mere idea that somebody like him could exist in this day and age made me curious enough to start following the Yankees and it was love at first sight. Jeter and Joe Torre restored my faith in the game. Now for 13 years I've been following the highs (there have been so many) and the lows (none worse than 2001) of Jeter, Posada, Andy and Mo. And now, here we are, one win away from the only kind of victory that means anything to these warriors, a World Series win. It's been almost a decade. So much has changed, a new stadium, a new Joe at the helm. But the important things remain, the heart and the drive to win.

Today is a travel day and tomorrow "we" play Game 6 hoping for a victory against the gritty Phils. I haven't been thinking about the defeat of 2001 or of the last victory against the Mets in 2000. My mind keeps jumping back a full decade to John Sterling's call at the end of game four of the 1999 series when the Yanks beat those dreaded Braves, for the second time in a row.
The crowd standing, cameras flashing, and Rivera as cool as a cucumber. The 1–0. Swung on. Hit in the air to left center. Bernie trots over, Curtis is there. Curtis makes the catch! Ballgame over! World Series over! Yankees win! THE Yankees win!
It's memories like these that make the heartbreak that comes with following and loving a team worth it. I CANNOT WAIT until tomorrow night. I CANNOT WAIT to hear Frank sing New York, New York. I am welcoming the new era, in the new stadium, under the "new" Joe with open arms. Start. Spreading. The. News.


  1. That was great, Tracey. Beautiful
    Remember when George Bell's grand slam against Texas gave you a goose egg? Ah, memories....

  2. Whether you root for them heart and soul, or you're part of the "Damn Yankees" crowd, baseball wouldn't be BASEBALL without New York's American League team.

  3. OK, clap clap, Blue Jays, clap clap, LET'S PLAY BALL!
    Congratulations to the 2009 World Series Champs, the New York Yankees!


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