I typically root for two teams: San Francisco and Cleveland.
San Francisco is immediately obvious; I live in San Jose and proximity dictates that I throw my support behind the local team. Of course, I will also throw some fandom behind the A’s because sometimes when Giants baseball kills me, it’s nice to bite into the refreshing lime wedge of A’s baseball, which at times, can suck way less.
Why Cleveland? It all goes back to my father. My dad loves baseball, and he was the one who introduced me to the game when I was a kid. We would travel to the Stick to watch the Giants in San Francisco, but also we would hang out at Municipal Stadium almost every home game during the 1989-1992 seasons and got to know some of the minor leaguers when they would go to the bar after the game and drink with us. It was a lot of fun (and yes, even though I was like 11, as long as I didn’t sit at the bar, I was cool). But my dad’s first love was and is the Cleveland Indians.
Not because he used to live there or anything, but because when he was a little kid, he would catch the sports scores on the radio during the 50s. Every now and again, he told me that he heard a pitcher named Mike Garcia (aka The Big Bear). It was one of those things, I guess, when you hear someone with your own name being referred to on a broadcast medium like radio and eventually television. So, naturally, he would root for the pitcher who shared his name and the team he played for, which was the Cleveland Indians. Ever since, he would always keep tabs on the Tribe and of course, as his son, I tried to be as helpful as I possibly could in that area.
And that carries through even today. I may not follow the Tribe as die-hard as I do the Giants, but I still follow them. When I talk to my dad on that increasingly rare occasions these days, during the baseball season our conversation will turn back to the Tribe and how they’re doing. My dad doesn’t follow the game as avidly as he once did when I was growing up, but that bond that we built between us with the Giants and the Indians will always remain, no matter how old we get.
With the start of the 2008 MLB season this week, I’m ready to go back on the trail with my teams once more; ready to live and die with wins and losses. I’ve made many friends because of my love of the game, and maybe lost more than a few loves because of it, but I won’t apologize for being who I am and loving what I love.
Go Giants! Go Tribe!