For this first anniversary, I decided to write. Not just articles, though. I decided to write people– as many of the baseball writers, analysts and bloggers I could think of. I asked what seemed to be a simple question: what is your favorite baseball memory?
My reasoning for this little project was all over the place. Partly, it was because it seemed like something that would be interesting. Partly, it was because I was curious to see who would answer. And, of course, partly it was because I thought perhaps it could tell me, and all of us, a bit about baseball fans.
For that reason, it was a rather eclectic group I sent the question to, ranging from big names that everyone has probably heard of, to the proprietors of smaller or more specialized pieces of the web. I also tried to ask the fans, bloggers or writers of a variety of teams, since the fans of one team would, of course, probably have a different favorite memory than fans of another.
In the end, I received responses from less than half of the people I sent the question to. But, hey, hitting in the upper .300s is nothing to sneeze at.
So what did I learn?
First off, as probably could be expected, a lot of the memories involve fathers. Pirates blogger Pat Lackey, for example, remembered going to a doubleheader with his father and seeing new-dad Rob Mackowiak have the day of his life. Others treasure memories of playing baseball with their children or going to their first game with them.
Secondly, the favorite memories in many (but certainly not all) cases involve actually going to games. And, again, I’m not surprised by this. Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, is one that is best when seen in person, where you can get a true feel for the crowd, take in all of the unique sights, sounds and smells, and see the shifts and strategies at work. On TV, it just isn’t the same.
Third, and connected to the second thing, a surprising amount of favorite memories had nothing to do with a team winning a championship. Oh, sure, there are some, but for many, it was comparatively small things like scrambling to get tickets to see Rick Ankiel make his position-player debut, like Daniel Moore of Viva El Birdos did, or hearing that your their favorite childhood player had just hit their first (and only) big league home run, as Joe Posnanski remembered.
But lastly, what’s great is that everybody’s favorite baseball memory is unique and personal. It’s not like a bunch of people all had the same memory (although there were a few that were close), no, everybody had something unique, with a special meaning to them. For some cases, it was because it made them fall in love with the game. For others, it was seeing or experiencing something they never had before. And still for others, it was just something special, something that can’t be duplicated and will forever stick in their minds.
In other words… they were all reasons why we love to watch baseball.
So, after all of that, want to see the responses I got? Go below the jump: