The Day I Became A Bernie Williams Fan (For Life)

When Bernie Williams made his Major League debut, I wasn’t even born. By the time he hit his 100th home run, I was only two. When he stepped into the batters box, for his 4,500th at bat, I was just starting Kindergarten. So how could it be possible that Bernie Williams is my favorite player of all time? The answer lies on a warm July afternoon in Motown, at Comerica Park in Detroit:

It was to be the last event of my family’s two week long trip together. The Yankees were in town to take on the Tigers, and the crowd, as to be expected with a Yankee game, was a sellout. The forecast was sunny. It was a perfect day for a ballgame.

This was the third Major League ballgame that I’d ever attended. (My first Yankees game.) Although it was sure to be an exciting match up, between two great teams, I wasn’t really that excited.

I didn’t really know the names of any of the players on either team. (Not even the stars like Jeter, A-rod, and Ordonez.) I felt out of place. Like I was the only person, out of the 41,000 fans in attendance, that wasn’t enjoying themselves. Baseball is supposed to be enjoyable—America’s Pastime. But I wasn’t enjoying myself at all.

When the first pitch was thrown, to start the 7:05 game, the sun was the only thing on my mind. As a matter of fact, it was the only thing I could see from my section 142 seat. It was nearly unbearable, as I had no sunglasses, and had to squint just to make out tiny shadows, that moved around like I imagined baseball players would. But I really couldn’t tell one team from another. 

I wasn’t having a good time before, and I certainly wasn’t having fun now.  I found myself thinking, “Is this baseball? Is this the game they call America’s Pastime?” I was confused.

It was the third inning when I finally had the wool, or in this case the sun, pulled from my eyes. I could finally see, both physically and metaphorically. I began to understand why the game of baseball is so great.

Although the third inning brought about my new view towards baseball, it wasn’t until the ninth inning that I became sick with the illness that is baseball fever. An illness that has spread about the nation for the past century, like a pandemic. Though this pandemic doesn’t bring death, but life, in the form of joy. Joy for the game of Baseball.

But what was the cause of this joy? What led me to become a baseball fan for life? The answer: Bernie Williams. Not just the player, but the ambassador. The ambassador who through one swing of the bat, became my favorite player—for life.

A home run to right field by Bernie. That’s the one event that sticks out in my mind from that game.

Even when Mariano Rivera came in for the save, in the bottom of the ninth, my mind was on Bernie’s home run. I couldn’t describe it then, and I still can’t describe it now. But something inside of me clicked on. My baseball switch, I suppose. It was amazing.

I felt like a new person. And in a sense, I was. I was no longer just a kid at a baseball game. I was an actual fan. A fan just like the other 41,ooo in attendance. It was great.

I had no camera, to capture the moment, but it didn’t matter. I can still see the ball flying over the wall, to this day. Everytime I close my eyes, I see it. Like a million dollar painting, stored in my head. Forever.

So there you have it. Bernie Williams is my favorite player of all time, because of that one home run. Although he hit 287 home runs in his career, it took just that one to make me a fan. (Like I said, I can’t explain it.)

So, thank you, Bernie. For not only making me a fan of your’s, but a fan of the game, that I now can’t get enough of. In a weird, distorted, unexplainable, sort of way, you changed my life—for the better.

Thank you.

8 Comments

Hmm. I don’t really have that one moment that sticks out but it must be something to remember that moment and have a refrence to your inaugural moment as a baseball fan.

It is very cool to be able to think back to the exact date of when I became a baseball fan. (July 2nd, 2005.)

Bernie played back in a time when the Yankees were tolerable. It’s no accident that right around when he retired, the Yankees became the arrogant attention grabbers they’ve become.

http://bluejaysnest.mlblogs.com/

Are we subliminally hinting at A-Rod because I really can’t think of anything besides him that has shifted the Yankees’ paradigm of being the classiest organization in baseball. Then again, I’m from the Bronx.

Well maybe there are a few others…

BLUEJAYSNEST & MATEO-
I just deleted my comment in reply to “bluejaysnest” so that I could redo my wording while giving my opinion on Mateo’s response as well:
BLUEJAYS NEST-
I’ve rethought what I said, and decided that I disagree with it. So I completely deleted my comment. My new response to your comment, is that I *don’t* think the Yankees are COMPLETELY all bad. Most of the guys, with the exception of those like A-rod, are *still* perfectly respectable. So while I somewhat agree with what you said, I don’t completely. Does that all make sense?
MATEO-
You’re right. Most of the guys on the Yankees are okay. Thanks for your input. It really made me think over what I said before.

Jorge Posada’s recent hissy fits have really lowered my opinions of him lately. Also A.J. Burnett isn’t a favourite of many people (at least not in Toronto.)
A-rod of course is the worst person in the history of the world.
C.C. turning his back on Milwaukee selling out for the most money was kind of a let down too.

But that being said the Yankees are a lot better than they were not that long ago when guys like Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon and the like made them very hard to tolerate.

Of course as a Jays fan, my opinions may be a tad biased.

http://bluejaysnest.mlblogs.com/

Jorge Posada sure did come back yesterday in an incredible way. I mean, the guy hit a grand slam.

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