My dad was a big baseball fan, and so when I was growing up there was usually a game on in the background from April to October. Back then, if I watched at all, I associated the guys on the field with my dad or my uncles; Brooks Robinson? Tom Seaver? Reggie Jackson? To me, they were grown ups playing a grown up game.
Later, when I had graduated from college and was living with my father again, the background became foreground, and we all became fans of the New York Mets. Those guys seemed more like older brothers, or cousins, and we celebrated right along with Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, and Keith Hernandez in 1986 when they won the World Series.
It's been years since I've followed baseball that closely, even though my town has been a MLB town for the last eleven years. People here love their baseball, and with both the Orioles and the Nationals in the playoffs, now seems like a good time to tune in. So tonight as I cooked dinner, I watched the Nats hang on to a tenuous one run lead into the top of the ninth. Oh, we're on pins and needles here, but all I can think about is when did the players get so young? Any one of them could have been a student in my class not so very long ago-- Ryan Zimmerman? 1996. Stephen Strasberg? 2000. That cute Anthony Rendon? 2002.
Go get 'em kids!