In their minds, every fan is the biggest fan ever. I mean, that’s what I think of myself. And it’s true, to some extent. I’m definitely the biggest Dodger fan in my family, even though my family are all fans. But in my world, I see myself as one of the biggest fans this team has. How do you measure the level of fandom? Is it in the amount of games one sees in a season? Or the amount of memorabilia ones has? Or even the number of years one has followed the team. Yes. All of it. And more. Even if you’ve been following the team in the last few years, you most definitely can be one of the biggest fans. Let me tell you a little about my story…
I was raised into this life. My father has been a Dodger fan since he was little. His father just as big of a fan as well. I can remember clear as day, as young as 4 or 5, playing in the living room with my toys and hearing the serene heavenly voice of Vin Scully call games on the TV. I remember going to a game at 7 or 8 years old and trying to sneak in a homemade sign I made to declare my love for Mike Piazza, my childhood favorite player. I remember my dad letting me stay up late on school nights so I could finish up watching the game with him. Every generation of fans has their team they grew up watching. Mine were Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo, and of course Tommy at the helm. I still remember the joy I felt when one of my dad’s friends came to the house one night with an autographed Tommy Lasorda baseball for me, which I still have in a case to this day.
It also pains me to admit, around 11 or 12, I quit baseball. I tried playing softball and was bad at it. My team dealt away Piazza and it broke my heart. I started junior high and became preoccupied with other stuff in my life. Sure I still considered myself a fan of the team, that has never wavered, but it was on the back burner. Though I watched the 2002 World Series and rooted for the Angels (Hello! They were playing against the Hated Ones!), Dodger Baseball wasn’t top of my list of priorities. Surviving high school, getting through my teenage years and coming to grips with figuring out who I was as an individual were on the forefront. It was around the end of 2008 that my love for baseball and the Dodgers returned to me.
I fell in love with a new team with guys named Ethier, Kemp, Martin, Kershaw, and Loney. This was the first time in my memory I got to see them go to the playoffs (remember, I missed out on the mid-2000 seasons) and it was exciting. I slowly started to get reacquainted with the sport and players. Learning stats, some of the lesser known rules of the game, and watching games every day. Baseball was becoming a bigger and bigger part of my life again and I was thriving.
I’ve watched the current team take shape over the better part of this decade, slowly but surely, and it’s been life changing. All the memories, all the games I spent either at the stadium or watching at home. It has all been growing and changing for the better. I wish I could go into all of it, but that would require a bigger blog post. Might take an entire website.
The whole idea of this is just to tell a part of my story, my tiny place in this ginormous fan base. We all have stories. We have cool jerseys, signed items, or works of art. Some have created podcasts, websites like this one, or even become known by the players we all love. What will I do? I hope starting to get the word out about my experiences with this team, with my fellow fans, will be my contribution in this fan base. Because stories are timeless and fun. I love hearing stories from fellow Dodger fans. If we ever meet up to chat, I’d love to hear about the time so-and-so player took a photo with you, or the first time you ever set foot in Dodger Stadium. That’s been the best part of this entire last year of my life. Meeting up with fellow fans at games or watch parties and hearing their stories, sharing mine. Finding another person who shares the same love and passion for this team on the same level. Discovering that no, my obsession with this sport and team is not crazy because I’m not alone.
Am I the biggest fan out there? Probably not. Someone will always have experiences to top my own. But will I continue to do what I can to prove my love for this team is real and non-wavering? You better believe it.