I believe I have found the ultimate baseball enthusiasts this year. Two Yankee devotees who have taken this fan thing to another level, 34 yr old Brian Livingston Jr. and his wife Michelle. They are hard-core followers of their beloved Yankees and can never get enough baseball. They will attend numerous games at the Stadium and would be there more but for the expense of a day at the park and having to go to work. Brian teaches tenth grade global studies in the Bronx and Michelle is a senior graphic designer in Manhattan. They have traveled to see the Yankees play at away games in Baltimore, Boston and Toronto. They have even gone to Scranton PA. to see the “baby bombers.” When they’re not at the ball park, they’re following every game on television or following each inning on a cell phone or computer.
Brian told me that once, while he was on the “4-train” heading home, he saw Brett Gardner, through the gap between the grandstand and the bleachers, where the train passes by for a split second, hit a home run. He said he yelled an audible, “Oh, that’s gotta be a home run, yes!” and got some knowing head nods from some other people on the train.
Phew, that’s a lot of baseball. The only people I know who watch a team that much are the players and coaches. Even scouts and reporters take a break once in awhile. Their passion grew throughout the years, and was the deciding factor on their dating service questionnaire. Yes, you can say, the Yankees brought them together, like peanut butter and jelly.
Their wedding was a clever display with a Yankee baseball theme that featured guest seating assignments in the form of a ticket to a ballgame. The tables were numbered after Yankee players. “2” for Derek Jeter, “7” for Mickey Mantle, “11” for Brett Gardner and “52” for C.C. Sabathia, just to name a few. Holy smokes, even their honeymoon was in Toronto to see the Yanks play the Blue Jays in a three game series!
Now let me tell you how that would have gone down in my marriage. One word, “Are you out of your mind?” Ok, I know, that was more than one word, but it would have sounded like one word coming from my wife. The love these two have for the Yankees and baseball is both fun and unique. I found these two Yankee fans interesting not just because they attend and keep track of so many games, but also because of their incredible knowledge of the game and their team. It was like talking to a scout.
Like Michelle and Brian, we all look for something that we can enjoy in life. The entertainment business in all its forms is like a giant magnet drawing us in. It can become spellbinding. Sports entertainment can sometimes even hold us hostage. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at times can be overwhelming. For some it’s all about numbers, others are more interested in wins and losses. There are trades, team standings and the playoffs, so much to get your juices going. It is the totality of this enormous thing that is “baseball.” It was, and always will be our “national pastime.” No one thing in this country brings us together and makes us feel good like baseball. Dads and sons, dads and daughters. Grandfathers and grandchildren. Even husbands and wives. Except for mine, she thinks I’m nuts.