While I’m sitting here in my home–in a suburb of gray, frozen Detroit, Michigan–I’m looking at the icy trees in my backyard and trying to pretend that they are cacti and that the biting cold from the arctic blast that hits me when I step outside is actually the sun beating down on my face.
Why am I having such crazy, unrealistic delusions? Visions of white and cold morphing into sandy brown and sweltering heat. Well, you see I’m a lifelong Detroit Tiger fan–a guy who’s never left the midwest for longer than a week or two for vacation–who has just become the editor of an Arizona Diamondbacks website. I’m going to become a D-Backs fan over the next several weeks and I’m trying everyway I can to get myself prepared for this. Don’t be alarmed, though, that because I wasn’t born a fan–or even born in Arizona–that I’m not qualified to cover this team. I’m keenly aware of who the D-Backs are and what the stand for. And I know that my childhood heroes (Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell) are in charge of a talented group of young players who might just be ready for a spot on the biggest stage of all.
I’m excited that my new role on Venom Strikes is going to motivate me into watching another team ready to shine, following them more so than I ever would have otherwise. I’m looking forward to watching Ian Kennedy shut down the San Fransisco Giants–who I can honestly say I’m no fan of–or seeing Justin Upton go for 4-5 with a home run and 4 RBI in a lopsided road win at Coors Field. While I’ve always paid attention to all of baseball–and became very interested in the D-Backs mission to knock off the 2010 defending champs last season–I haven’t had a vested interest in any team other than the Tigers…until now. When I was a young boy in Detroit, my dear grandmother was the biggest Tiger fan I ever knew. She would take me to games at Michigan and Trumbell, flip on the tube to catch George Kell and Al Kaline call the action from Cleveland or perhaps staying up way too late just listening to Ernie Harwell on the AM dial while the Tigers were on a West Coast trip. Those are the times when I became a fan. My times with her.
Now, my move to Venom Strikes gives me the opportunity to relive those feelings of fledging fandom, even if in a completely different manner. I might be watching the D-Backs online playing at Dodger Stadium in mid July–the only time it’ll feel like Arizona in Michigan–or maybe watching a game against the Padres with Daron Sutton and Mark Grace calling the action on Extra Innings. And maybe, just maybe my seven year old will wander into the room and the game will catch his attention–a team with cool uniforms and a snake for a mascot. And after a few times of seeing Upton’s beautiful swing and Kennedy’s dazzling changeup maybe he’ll begin to have the same feelings like I did for Gibby and Tram in my youth. This season we could grow into D-Back fans together–hoping they make it to the World Series and always just a little concerned that when they do, the team they meet there in the end is an equally talented American League club from the midwest. What to do then?
Follow Venom Strikes on twitter at @venomstrikes.
Follow me on twitter at @detsportsczar.