Jun
04

A Long-Distance Relationship

By

Usually in baseball, a sports fan grows up loving a team near them. Of course there are exceptions, but what I’ve found is that the best guess of a person’s rooting interest is usually a team near their childhood home. The problem is, when a person moves (for college, a job, or just because they want to), the team doesn’t come along with them. It’s nice to live in the future and keep our teams on our computers, in our phones, and on our PS3s with MLB.tv, but it goes without saying that the ballpark experience of rooting for your hometown heroes is way, way better than sitting in your living room and yelling at the announcers.

I feel safe in assuming that most of the audience here is probably within a drive – perhaps a long one, but a drive nonetheless – away from Yankee Stadium. If that’s the case, then going to see a game is really more based on your schedule than the schedule of the team. It might be difficult to avoid familial duties or work, but assuming you’ve got the money and the time, the Bronx might not be too far away.

For those of us who have been displaced from the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area, it’s not that easy. You might be lucky if you’ve only moved to say, Virginia or Massachusetts for location or stayed within the division, be it Baltimore or Boston, even Toronto or Tampa. While traveling to the House that Ruth (Jeter?) Built might be impossible, at least there’s the comfort of knowing the Bombers will be showing up nine times over the season. If you’re unlucky or stupid enough to move away from those places, your Yankees-viewing chances go down dramatically.

I moved to the bay area last year for work and end up faced with this scenario every year. When the Yankees come out here for one of their rare appearances – the previous series is the only one they will play in Oakland all year – I drop everything and pick up the best tickets I can. Appointments are canceled, work is ignored, life stops.

The funny thing about having a limited amount a games to see your team is that you find yourself wishing for a whole bunch of scenarios which, under usual circumstances, are the exactly the kinds of things you want the team to avoid. I’m an avid David Robertson fan, and there was not a single Robertson appearance during those three games. Really, it’s a good thing – he only shows up when there are jams to be gotten out of – but it also meant that I won’t be seeing his knee-buckling curveball in person until October (unlikely) or next year. Bartolo Colon pitching a complete game was freaking amazing (he looked dominant in person, too), but there was concern in my mind that I would go a whole three game series without a single Mariano Rivera appearance. I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that when Joba Chamberlain had first and second with one out, I wanted to see him walk a guy so Robertson would in and strike everyone out.

Luckily, Russell Martin only sat the first game out, and Rivera came in to preserve a two-run lead in the third game of the series. I even got a Lance Pendleton and a Luis Ayala sighting. I saw AJ Burnett throw a pretty damn decent game and Freddy Garcia confound the A’s with junkballs. But sadly, there are things that I missed and won’t get to see until next year. I never got to fill in Derek Jeter as the DH on a scorecard. I didn’t see CC Sabathia’s four-seamer. There was no David Robertson appearance. Jorge Posada didn’t get a hit (sigh).

Don’t get me wrong: I love the bay. You can’t beat the weather, they designed the roads for high congestion, you’re surrounded by nerds, and they make amazing Filipino food.We have a great hockey team and two baseball teams, all available by mass transit. But none of them are the Yankees. And I really, really, really miss the Yankees, especially when I only see them three live games out of the massive 162 game season. I’m sure this isn’t exclusive to California, either, but moving away from your sports team is rough.

(On the bright side, the Legends-equivalents seats I sat in in the Coliseum cost me $55. I love cheap baseball.)

Categories : Musings
  • S

    I’m one of those exceptions NC born and raised, but I am the son of a NJ native and Yankee fan…. most people down here are Braves fans its so annoying

    • chriskeo

      I think you still fall under the category of being able to trace your roots to the New York area, just it’s your parent not you.

  • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

    I live in Florida, six hours from Tampa. And get this, the Yankees play exactly zero weekend series in Tampa this year. Hooray for me!

    Moving away for jobs is silly.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      +1

    • W.W.J.Montero.D

      I live about two hours away from Tampa and although it sucks, I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. I cant wait to see them in July. Somewhere Mo was smiling down on me. Though he wasn’t for all the other crappy Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

      Worst part is the only field you can see is the Trop…

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

    Good stuff, Hannah. I suffered vaguely the same thing when I was at school. UConn’s cable package, for whatever reason, didn’t carry YES so the only time I could see the team was when they played the Sox on NESN, had a game on MY9, or played on ESPN. Luckily, those things happened pretty frequently, but not being able to watch games during the opening months and the stretch run from 2006-2008 (and part of ’09) was frustrating. And, sadly, my billing address is obviously in the Yankees’ viewing area, so I couldn’t watch on anything but Gameday. Still, I got a pretty full share of baseball. I’d watch the Sox on NESN (whatever, it’s still baseball), the best pitching matchup of the night on MLB.tv, and the Yankees on Gameday. I love you, technology.

    • T-Dubs

      Same thing for me. When I was at my first apartment at UConn, the cable company told me I was getting YES. Cable got installed, no YES. I called and bitched them out so bad that I got free HBO & Showtime for 2 years.

      Still wasn’t worth it.

  • Gordonm

    I was born and raised in the UK, and I still live here. I’ve never even been to either Yankee stadia. I do though stay up every night to follow the team, even when the game doesn’t finish till six in the morning.

  • http://www.conservationvalue.com Jon G

    Fellow Bay Area Yankees fan right here! Grew up in NY and been going to games since ’77.

    The nice thing about the Bay Area is how easy it is to get tix to Yanks/A’s games. I sat fifth row for game 5 of the 2000 ALDS for like $25.

    Now I like the seats right behind the Yankees bullpen. Ton of fun. On that note, one thing I’ve noticed the last couple of years: Dave Robertson has Popeye calf muscles…

    With AppleTV + MLB.TV, I watch games on my flat screen, and use my droid MLB app when on the road.

    As an outdoor addict (skiing, hiking, softball when I can) + live music maven, I just LOVE the Bay Area. We could use a little help on the bagels and pizza though…

    • putt

      And you’ve gotta hunt for decent Italian or a good sandwich out here! Somebody needs to explain them that not every sandwich needs to have avocado and be on sourdough.

      • Andrew518

        Give me a side order of some ranch!!!!

        Ranch dressing on pizza so wrong and so gross.

  • putt

    I, too, am now living in the Bay Area. One of my biggest complaints is the quality & integrity of sports talk radio. A couple of months of the SF Giant homerism on display over these air waves and you’ll be begging to hear Francesa opine on the necessity of a grunting and farting late-inning reliever. The team’s broadcasters and radio analysts are just so chummy that there is never any disagreement or second-guessing. (I had to listen to Mike Krukow actually support Sabean’s comments on the Posey play the other morning!) They just wave the flag.

    As for Oakland, their radio presence in practically non-exisitent. I actually feel bad for them…

    I guess being away from New York radio, you just feel a little more removed and out of the loop. I enjoyed listening to the call in shows and hearing people from all over the spectrum of fandom give their thoughts about what’s happening in Yankee Universe – no matter how batshit insane they might be. That’s entertainment at least. The only time the Yanks are mentioned out here, it’s just to take a swipe at them and perpetuate any of the myriad Yankee-stereotypes – no actual information or discussion.

    I miss living in the Tri-State area… Ok, I’m done. Thanks for that.

    • Andrew518

      Couldn’t agree more…Bay Area fans need to be coddled so much and constantly reminded about just how special they are…I mean aren’t they just so special.

      I saw a Giant’s runner take a wide turn around first, get thrown behind him and tagged out to end the game. Such a bad play, Giants announcers went on to commend him for being aggresive. They can’t call a bad play a bad play. Just can’t do it. It only perpetuates a lack of baseball sense by their fan base (see Posey play).

      Also one of those fools, Kruk or Kiype or who ever (they both look the same) Tried to claim that the LA/Giants rivalry is FAR better than the Yankees/Red Socks (although he went on to say he’s never been to one of those games).

  • Mike HC

    Even if you don’t live long distance, if you only go to a couple of games a year like me, you still have a lot of those same thoughts. I definitely don’t want to see the best players sitting, and always love to see a Mo appearance. Although, I am still a big Joba fan, so I’m always excited to see him pitch in person too.

  • Craig

    I know how you feel, this is my first year out in the bay area too! (displaced from NJ) An amazing part of those games at the Colosseum though, were the number of Yanks fans in attendance. My friends and I came early in the rain that 3rd game (wtf is it doing raining in CA in June? that’s not what I signed up for), and with the number of fans in pinstripes attire hoping for the rain to stop, we quickly made some new friends. I’m also pretty sure Swisher’s blast got a much louder roar from the crowd than Willingham’s did. I felt at home. While it is weird no longer being able to hit up a game anytime I want, at least the Yankees fans all over make it a great experience anywhere. I’m sad I missed the first 2 games of that series, and next year I’ll make sure to go to all the games I can.

    ($5 seats, first row 2nd deck in right field, also pretty awesome)

  • Kramerica Industries

    We have a great hockey team

    Far be it from me to be a true asshole, or to veer this conversation off-topic, as neither of those are my intent here, but I would just like to say that calling the Sharks a “great” hockey team is not something I can buy into.

    If you’re basing that on 48 wins and a #2 seed this year, in addition to perennially being a 1/2 team in the West going back the past 4-5 years, I won’t argue that. But come playoff time, they have usually not been good for all that much. They’ve made it to the Conference Finals the last two years, and are 1-8 in those two years. Before that, they flamed out as a #1 seed in the first or second round the previous two seasons to inferior teams.

    All that said, I do recall you saying the Sharks are, more or less, a bridge between the end of one Yankee season and the beginning of another, and that your fandom of them cannot compare to that of the Yankees, so if you don’t really care that much come playoff time for them, I understand why you would call them a great team. I don’t say this to be rude, either.

    /hockey rant – go ‘Nucks

    • Official Member of the Bartolo Colon Fan Club

      really, dude?

    • Brian

      The Canucks are a bunch of diving fruitcakes

      • Kramerica Industries

        Would you rather see Bostonians be happy over the B’s ending their four decade-long title skid and give the city their fourth different league champion since 2004?

        I sure as hell don’t. It’s bad enough the B’s beat the Lightning last week in a crushing Game 7, I don’t want them winning the whole damn thing…

        • AnthonyD

          + a million

        • Brian in NH

          I usually hate the Bruins, but I actually rooted for them over Tampa because the stanley cup finals would be completely unwatchable, and i feel like places like Tampa have no business having a hockey team (let along a winning one). Tampa is a football town, they care about the Bucs and the assorted FL college teams. sure theres a few baseball and hockey people (probably mostly transplants from the north) but most of tampa doesn’t care.

  • Jon

    Long distance is always hard, and really hard when you relocated to Maine like me.

  • http://www.twitter.com/howienewville Howie

    I also live in the Bay Area (SF). I miss NYC for the Yankees. A’s and Giants baseball does not make up the difference.

  • Rainbow Connection

    You know what they say about long distance relationships…if it’s long distance, then it’s not really a relationship.

    • http://www.twitter.com/howienewville Howie

      I watch (nearly) every Yankees game on MLB.TV. With the help of technology, I know just as much about the goings on living in SF as I did living in NYC.

    • V

      You know what they say about trolls. Their lives must be sad indeed.

  • Cris Pengiuci

    I moved to CO for work about 9 years ago. Still miss going to Yankee games regularly, however I’ve found a way to get back there for some: My daughter will be attending Fordham University beginning this fall. I’ll make trips to see her at the most apprioriate times for the next 4 years, beginning in August when we drop her off (extended our time there so we can see a game).

    She’s even more fortunate, as she’ll not only have a number of fellow students that want to attend games (the incoming freshmen are alreay making these plans and yes, they’ll be in the cheap seats), and we’ve got a good friend from Denver who regularly does business in NY and promised her that he’d take her to games while he’s in town. He’s already got tickets for them to see a game against Boston in Sept.

  • Joe(sit)ragman

    I am an exception—Michigan native who has rooted for the Yankees more than 50 years. Always like winners and started with the Mick and hung in their thru the good and bad times

  • V

    I’m Cardinals by birth, Yankees by marriage. Chiefs by birth, Giants by marriage. Born near Tokyo, grew up outside of Kansas City to two parents from the St. Louis area, now live in central Jersey.

  • dkidd

    i live in los angeles. the only good thing about being 3,000 miles from home is yankee home games start at 4, which makes sharing the TV much easier

  • lady gaga

    no pictures? fail.

  • The BIG 3

    PA resident who drives to Camden to watch as much ALE competition as practical, but I have a soft spot for Jeter, Posada and Rivera after all they’ve accomplished. Camden is an excellent stadium to see a game at.

    Sorry for not wearing my name badge; they spelled my name wrong.

  • Mickey Scheister

    I lived in Seattle the past two years (for work) and now in Atlanta for less than a year (again, for work) and nothing beats NY baseball in NY. I went to 10-15 games at SafeCo a year, all the ones vs NY and really only against exciting teams Rangers, Rays and Red Sox. Prior to Seattle I was in Pensacola FL for 5 years where there is NO good baseball. So some baseball live beats none, but nothing beats NY.

  • Jonathan

    I was born and raised in Kansas and have never lived anywhere else except Nebraska or Colorado for rehab (surgery, not drugs) for a few weeks. I also spent my entire life playing baseball the entire spring/summer/fall so i didn’t get to make a trip to Yankee Stadium until 2007 and it remains my only trip. Of course I live with the same pros and cons of you, Hannah, in that we only get 3 games a year but the tickets for top of the line spots are only $55. And actually up until 2 years ago when they redid the K, tickets were $27 tops. On top of that the autograph hunting is unmatched. In the last two years since I’ve started collecting I’ve received an autograph of Joba/Reggie/Grandy/Tex/Mo. In reality, it’s most likely a good thing I don’t live in NY because I wouldn’t get anything done and would sell everything I had to get season tickets. But I do wish I had more than DirecTV to keep me warm at night. Of course things could be worse…I could have been born a Royals fan.

  • B

    It is cool to see so many awesome posts from relocated fans located outside of the NY area. I relocated to Chicago 15 years ago. The Chicago baseball scene is decent. There is always some drama, be it Ozzie’s insane rantings, the Cubs perpetual march to failure, and at the historic Wrigley Field where the fans are more interested in flipping through their cell phones and plotting ways to prevent their team from ever winning. Actually, my first Cubs game was the one where a fan charged Randy Myers on the mound and Myers bodyslammed the guy. It was pretty cool…but all of it pales in comparison to Yankee baseball and its passionate legion of fans and media.

    I grew up watching Donnie baseball not cutting his hair, reaching into a kids bag of popcorn while trying to catch a pop up near the stands, King George hiring some shady dude to pick up dirt on Winfield, the long awaited ’96 championship, the horrible years of Hensley Muelens, and the godlike years of Mo, Bernie, O’Niell, Cap’n Jetes. Yankees baseball can’t be matched. I hope all relocated fans can start spreadin the news…

  • Monteroisdinero

    I have been a Yankee fan in NYC, Ann Arbor Michigan, Ct, Oakland and now in Virginia. You will adjust Hannah. There are Yankee fans everywhere. Oakland games are easy tickets and alot cheaper than YS although the stadium is often like a morgue with lots of comatose fans who are reactive rather than proactive.

  • Kered Retej

    Another bay area fan here as well; went to the first and third games of the Oakland series. Always fun setting the stands full of Yankee blue. Even though there wasn’t an official Robertson appearance, at least we got a D-Rob dry hump. I was in the third row behind the Yankee dugout, just over Joe G’s shoulder. Great game but a little sad that we were able to get get such good seats at the last minute for a “premium” game. They really do need a new stadium.

  • Brian in NH

    I live about an hour from Boston, and both mass transit (bus or train) or car is easy (parking is killer in Boston) but the seats are so damned hard to come by and they are just as expensive as they are at Yankee Stadium, that when NY plays Boston I at least know it will be on TV (between MLBN, ESPN, NESN, and Fox its bound to be on for each game).

    My dad lives across the street from Camden and I guess goes to at least one or two games a week. even when the yanks aren’t in town. Imagine that?

  • http://www.danxeller.com Jobastillmatters

    I am also in this boat. I moved from upstate NY to Charleston, SC 9 years ago and have never had such a hard time getting to Yankees games. As a previous poster said, everyone is a Braves fan and if it’s Yankees/Red Sox actually broadcasted on Fox, it’ll get blacked out for a Braves/whogivesashit game. Fortunately, our Low-A team is the Charleston Riverdogs so I have gotten to see many prospects and The Show players come through. It isn’t the same as walking through The Stadium and seeing that vast expanse open up in front of you.

  • Ethan

    You think you have it bad try living in Bangkok, Thailand. Can’t go to any baseball games! (even a non-Yankees game is better than nothing) plus I can rarely watch live games, due to 11 hour time zone difference. Only occasionally can I catch early afternoon saturday games but that often means I get stuck listening to Joe Buck on Fox(ugh).

    You only live 3,000 miles away, try living 11,000 miles away it is much worse. On the bright side, I probably live in the greatest city on the planet.

  • Chilibacca

    I’m stuck in Sacramento and I could only make it to that Freddy game. Being surrounded by Yankee fans in my section almost made it seem like NY. But really my only consistent live-action baseball option is to watch PCL Rivercat games, which unfortunately does not involve any Yankee affiliate.

  • Patrick Donnelly Shores

    yet another displaced Bay Area Yankee fan here. I´ve been in Cali for about 10 years, but never lost the pinstripes in my blood. I love seeing the Yanks at the Coliseum, though I gotta admit, Im a poor-ass student, so I buy the $2-9 seats (depending on the day), and take advantage of lax security to sneak down to the Right Field Line (a-k-a Yankeetown).

    We should have a support group or something. Get together at a hostile bar and all demand they put the Yanks on TV and root heavily for them.

    Incidentally, Bobby G´s Pizza in Berkeley, a great baseball lovin´ bar, is owned by an exiled Yankee fan.