Sunday, April 5, 2015


What is it about baseball and family that is so special? It could be the thrill of the game, especially when your team is down and they battle back and win it while you and your closest kin are watching from the cheap seats at the stadium.  It could also be a trip to visit a new MLB stadium each season with your son, daughter or significant other just because it's fun to experience the atmosphere of a game in another city or town that embraces tightly its home team.  It could be the tradition of the game- its roots in cities like Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago or the Bronx -where city folk gathered for double headers, games after their shift or when their school day was over.  In reality, for many, baseball is something that has been handed down to them from their grandfathers and their grandfathers' fathers.  Baseball is as much about family as holidays and with opening day just a few short hours away, it is clear that baseball and family are a natural connection.

Last week, Forbes Magazine published an article entitled "The Best Fans in Baseball."  They looked quantitatively at baseball and its fans to determine who in fact are the best fans of the game. "We gathered five fan consumption criteria: hometown crowd reach (defined by Nielsen Scarborough as a percentage of the metropolitan area population that watched, attended, and/or listened to a game in the last year), three years worth of television ratings (per Nielsen), three years of stadium attendance based on capacity reached, three years worth of merchandise sales (per, and social media reach (a combination of Facebook fans and Twitter followers as a percentage of the team’s metro area population)." The top fans? The Yankees? The Red Sox? The St. Louis Cardinals.  "According to Nielsen Scarborough, the team has more local fans than any other in MLB — 76% of St. Louisans watched, attended or listened to a game last year." What does this mean for us?  Absolutely nothing. You see when we look at the connection between baseball and family, it is about the bond between the past and the present.

My son is a baseball fan because I love baseball.  I am a baseball fan because my dad was a baseball fan.  He is a baseball fan because his father was a fan.  And not only are we baseball fans, but we are Yankee fans and we are Yankee fans because that is in our bloodline.  However, I often say that I am a baseball fan first and a Yankee fan second.  I love the thrill of the game, the excitement of a pennant race, the smell of the change of season from winter to spring, the sounds of the ball park and the culture that surrounds the stadium in the town or city where that team resides.  Baseball is most definitely a part of our history and deeply vetted in our last names.

As the character of Terrence Mann stated in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams,  "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again." 

So as we gather on Sunday night after the holiday weekend to watch opening night baseball, skip work on Monday to rush through the turnstiles of our home stadium to catch Joe Torre throw out the first pitch, stream the games live from our office cubicles or take an earlier train to catch the end of the first game of the season from our living rooms, baseball is a part of our life and deeply connected to our family through our experiences at the ballpark, milestones of our favorite players and photos of our family growing up in the game like we did ourselves years ago.  

Winter is behind us, warmer days are ahead of us and baseball is back for us to enjoy.  Play Ball!

-Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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