As I stood up cheering for The Sandman to make the final out, I could hardly hear myself think. Every seat in Yankee Stadium was empty because everyone was on their feet awaiting what was to be the last pitch of the millennium. I was only 10 years old, and though I am now in college, this is still one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Game 4 of the 1999 World Series: New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves. Mariano Rivera wound up, and hauled in the pitch that was hit weakly to left field and caught by Ricky Ledée. The series was over. The Yankees had won. To my left I could hear my brother screaming his head off, and to my right my dad and mom. The celebration could not have been any sweeter. Around the stadium hats were being thrown and hi-fives were given. The connection I felt between me and my family, as well as every other Yankee fan in the stadium, is indescribable. Baseball had added a common connection within my family, sharing pride in one team that represented our home state.
All around the United States, people root for their favorite baseball teams. Raised in New York, my allegiances are to the Yankees. The connections I have to the Yankees and Major League Baseball are immensely important to me, and because of its presence in my life I am a major beneficiary of baseball. Baseball brings my family together, bolsters my friendships, and provides me with a hobby. I believe that the absence of baseball would make my life, as well as millions of Americans lives, a living hell of boredom.
On the night of October 27, 1999, I became a believer. I witnessed the true glory of baseball. When your favorite team wins the World Series, nothing else matters. You can scream your lungs off and hug strangers. The bonds you have with people become immensely stronger.
As I grew older I became an avid baseball fan, along with many of my friends. However, not all of my friends are Yankee fans. Some owe their loyalty to the Mets, and others, regrettably, to the Red Sox. The diversity of fanatics in this group constantly generates passionate conversations. I believe this has actually brought us together because we can all share a common interest. World Series parties, fantasy baseball, and just chatting about our favorite teams have all been valuable commodities to our friendship.
Obviously someone could ask, “Why baseball? Why not football, or hockey?” I suppose it could be another sport or team, but living in New York means having multiple professional teams in each sport. This resulted in differences of favorite teams within my family, and a less important meaning to the sport.
Following baseball in more depth has helped me stay connected to the game, as well as strengthen the bond within my family, lead me to make new friends, and give me something to enjoy. Like that memorable day in Yankee Stadium, baseball has changed my life forever. I believe in the Yankees. I believe in baseball.
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