Born in the Bronx, I lived all over New York State until 1988, when I moved to the SF Bay Area. I’ve never lost my New York accent—in fact, it’s intensified—and I never gave up rooting for the Yankees. Until now.
Ever since the firing of Joe Torre and the demise of George (“Evil Emperor”) Steinbrenner, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated, angry, and disgusted with the NY Yankees. It’s not just because their playing went downhill; I am not a “fair weather fan.” It’s because I can’t stand Torre’s successor, Joe Girardi, and disagree with most of his decisions; and because the Steinbrenner kids who are running things don’t give a shit about the team as long as the money keeps pouring in. These changes have resulted in more frequent player turnover: management doesn’t care enough to hold on to good players the way Torre and George S. did. To top things off, during the past four or five years several of the best, most beloved players retired, including Jorge Posada, Andy Pettit, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter (the Core Four, who played together for 16 years, longer than any other group in any sport).
While the Yankees were deteriorating, the SF Giants, post-Barry Bonds, kept winning World Series. They cohered into a rowdy team of individual eccentrics. Bruce Bochy is today considered the best manager in MLB. His core philosophy is like the old Yankee credo: hang on to good players to grow a tight and stellar working team. Living in their territory, it made perfect sense for me to become a Giants fan, and at the close of the 2014 season, with SF once again World Champions, I decided to make the move.
I reiterate: I am not a “bandwagon fan,” or a “fair weather fan.” I made this decision based on logic and geography. Following the Giants, I can see their games and read about them in the local paper, while Yankees’ televised games are few and far between. Because there’s no time change, the games reach me earlier in the day. Another bonus: at the Giants stadium there’s a back fence where they actually allow viewers to stand and watch three innings of the game for free; I’ve done it several times.
So here we are at the start of the 2015 season. I watched the Yankee opener on Monday, mainly to see Joe Torre throw the ceremonial pitch. I listened to the first two Giants games on radio. And I am deeply into an identity crisis. The whole thing feels weird. I am still, after all these years, a displaced New Yorker, a girl from the Bronx, and I’m not sure I’ll manage this transition. But I’m determined to try.