I think I may throw up! I just hit “Confirm” on Red Sox Fantasy Camp in January! Excited? Yeah, just a bit. I’ve said before that I’ve always had a hard time choosing a true ‘favorite’ team. For me, my love of baseball revolves just as much around key icons in the sport and team history, than geographic allegiances. Fenway is without a doubt my favorite park in baseball, while New York is one of my favorite cities to visit. I’ve had an infatuation with the history of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio for years, and have always found a love for both teams in different ways. There’s magic in a select few franchises, whether it’s teams like the Red Sox and Yankees, or teams like the Reds, Cubs, or Cardinals. While I’ve lived in Washington for most of my life, it’s hard to really rally around a team that at the end of the day, is younger than I am.
The idea of hitting a Fantasy Camp has been on my radar for awhile. I only played ball for a few years as a kid. I was awful, right field all the way, and really didn’t like the game all that much. We’d play on the street (vs a sandlot) with a handful of kids and a load of ghost runners, but my true love was shooting hoops, or playing football (again, on the street). As I got older, my interest in the game really changed. I would have loved to have played, and as my daughters have embraced softball, I found myself ‘missing’ it even more.
So here I am! Signed up, 15 pounds overweight, and in my 40’s. But dammit, I’m going to have fun. So yeah, I can’t wait! What number you may ask? #37 for a confluence of reasons, funny enough.
I met my first Major Leaguer after my freshman year in college. Jimmy Piersall was an outfielder for the Red Sox, and later the Indians, Mets, and Senators, that was best known for having a mental breakdown on the field. He wrote a book, had a movie made about him, did some play-by-play, etc., etc. I thought his story was really interesting, and since he was the first player I met, I wanted to learn more about him. I bought his books (he also wrote a follow-up titled “The Truth Hurts”) and other knick knacks on eBay. (I have a cool JP model glove, even had two at one point, souvenir bat, cards, and more.) My interest in Piersall was an early fuel to the Red Sox fire, that soon exploded into interest in Ted Williams, and it spread from there…
Which brings me back to the second part of this merging river of 3+7. My youngest daughter has worn #3 for 6 years straight, my oldest, after 1 season of DiMaggio’s #5, shifted over to Mantle’s #7. (Granted for them, they were just numbers they chose or were given, that they adopted ever since — I was the one that attached the names to them. Although, Megan has adopted #7 as part of her identity, which is truly interesting to watch as a parent, but that’s a post for a different day…) So sure enough, through coincidence, Maddy’s #3 and Megan’s #7, bring me back to #37. I think it’s a sign, how about you?
It’s hard to believe that in a little over four months, I’ll be standing on a ball field, wearing a jersey of a team that I’ve felt a connection to for years. I don’t know what to expect, (other than that I know the Red Sox won’t be looking for 42 year old outfielders,) but it will be one helluva week.