I had no clue what to expect when a 23-year-old German college student emailed this winter to say he’d like to write guest post on the blog. I’d heard from folks all over the U.S., and from more than one person living in England, all wanting to write about a similar topic of being long-distance fan. I chose Ban, and he came through with one of the best guest posts of the winter.
Four things that stood out to me about Ban’s piece.
We hear all the time about the Yankees being a global brand, and we all understand that those words mean, but it’s still remarkable to think that the logo could literally transcend the sport. Ban wrote in his post that there are some in Europe who know the interlocking NY and believe it’s simply a fashion label. That’s amazing to me.
Of all the Yankees to be on the cover of USA Today
We all know that 1998 team as one of the greatest ever assembled. Derek Jeter was a 24-year-old kid, but he hit 324/.384/.481 that season. Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless postseason and saved three games in the World Series. David Wells nearly won the Cy Young, while Jeter, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams got MVP votes.
But of all people, it was Chuck Knoblauch who served as the introduction to the Yankees. Just goes to show that all of these guys are representing the team. All of them are having their pictures taken, and any one of them might step into a big moment and make a lasting impression about himself and the franchise.
Speaking of the second baseman
Another reason the Knoblauch connection stands out is that, in his 12-plus years as a fan, Ban has witnessed one of the most interesting positional transitions that I can remember.
Knoblauch gave the Yankees what they needed for a while, but when Alfonso Soriano hit his way to the big leagues, Knoblauch went to left field and Soriano stepped in at second. That should have been the end of the story — young guy takes over for the aging veteran — but Soriano proved so good that he was enough of a trade chip to make a deal for Alex Rodriguez. That’s a huge loss at a position where it’s often hard to find production, but two years later, Robinson Cano emerged and began working his way toward being one of the best hitters in the game. That will teach anyone how quickly things can change in this game.
The roller coaster
Ban wrote that he occasionally sleeps for five hours, watches a baseball game, sleeps for two more hours, then has to wake up again to start his next day. My first thought was that he had just described what it’s like to cover the postseason.
Mostly though, I thought Ban nailed the long-distance baseball fan experience with these words: It’s a roller coaster ride. And I like roller coasters, even if I have to ride them alone.
That’s just a good line.
That’s the Yankees logo, and an AP picture of Cano