Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I've Got Baseball Fever Week: Part 2 - At First Base...

Perhaps the most special position in baseball is playing first base for the New York Yankees. Dating back to the time of Lou Gehrig, there's a certain prestige that comes with fielding that bag in the house that Ruth built. My attraction to that position goes back to my childhood days when my favorite player of all time stood there...Don Mattingly.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I was able to watch most of the Yankee games on television. For whatever reason, our cable included NY channel 11, before it was the CW, it was one of those long gone channels that showed reruns all day long as well as being the home of the Yankees. I started watching those games mainly because I was drawn to the feel of the ballpark. There was such a rich history just in the look of the game that I was drawn too. Then there was Donny Baseball who was just electrifying to watch. It didn't take long for my love of the American League to develop.

A few years later, while in the midst of my baseball card collecting craze, like many, I was taken in by Kevin Maas, a short-lived phenom who burst onto the scene with homerun after homerun. Naturally, it was while playing first-base for the New York Yankees. But an injured Don Mattingly soon healed enough to take his position back and I watched as he gave it his best in the '95 playoffs, his only playoff series. The team lost that series to Seattle, but not because of the efforts of Mattingly who put up amazing numbers.

Several very strong years of Tino Martinez followed and then some quality years by the Giambino, Jason Giambi. The traditional continues today with Mark Teixeira, one of the best in the game. Studying one position on one team throughout the years is just one of those quirky aspects of America's Game that makes it so appealing to follow. Baseball is like a civilization unto itself, with its own history, math, science, heroes, villains, and economy.

If there was one job in the world I could be given, it would be playing first base for the Yanks.

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