Detroit Tigers: My dad and grandpa made me a baseball fan

Detroit Tigers (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Baseball, and the Detroit Tigers, have been a big part of my family’s life for many years. I’d like to think that I’m continuing the baseball tradition.

Many people have a great story of how they became a baseball fan. I really wish that I had one, but I don’t. Actually, I have no idea at what moment I became one, though I know I did at a very young age.

My first memories of baseball are from around 1990 when I was five years old. My dad had stumbled upon a big collection of baseball cards that included some 1990 Topps cards. If you go back and look at those cards today, they’re nothing special, and they pale in comparison to the quality of cards that are being manufactured today.

Yet it was through those cards he shared with me that I learned a lot about the game of baseball. I learned about all the different players and studied statistics, and collecting cards had the side effect of teaching me good financial skills and how to take care of things. It became a way to bond with my dad that continues today after three decades.

Those are my earliest memories, yet my baseball fandom might date back to even before then. My parents have told me stories of how, when I was two years old, the Detroit Tigers were playing the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 American League Championship Series. From what I’ve been told, I kept standing in front of the TV and blocking my dad’s view because I was so fascinated.

My dad had the Tigers on all the time during my early years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I would frequently go outside and play baseball with friends, imitating the batting stances of Cecil Fielder, Travis Fryman, Tony Phillips, Mickey Tettleton, and other Tiger players from that era. Baseball was something that all the kids in my neighborhood had in common. I built some good friendships during that time.

Yet for me, the more important bond is with my father and grandfather. They were both big baseball fans and big Tigers fans, and all the way until my grandpa passed away in 2009, it was a great topic of conversation for the three of us. I’d like to think that I’m carrying on a great family tradition of closely following Major League Baseball here in 2020 and beyond.

I wouldn’t be a baseball fan if it weren’t in my family’s blood. That’s for sure. Yet I’ve stopped many times to think about why I’ve remained a fan here into my mid-30s. After all, I’m my own person and I can make my own decisions about what I do with my life.

Here’s the honest truth: I don’t have an explanation. I don’t know why I remain fascinated by this game well into adulthood. It’s a great game, and it gives me something to focus on and to be passionate about in my spare time. Yet there’s not much logic to it. I just know that nothing beats enjoying a game on TV, sitting outside on a warm summer day with a game on the radio, or traveling to the ballpark and taking in the sites and sounds of a major or minor league game.

Baseball is a big part of who I am, and it always will be. Though I don’t always understand it, I’m certainly proud of it. And I know that many of you are as well.