Embarrassingly Old Work: Shorts: Baseball Fans of the 80s – From 1997

We are baseball fans of the Eighties. We grew up watching the game when money was nothing and the World Champions really did rule the world. We played wiffle ball in our back yards and you were Nolan Ryan, I was Jose Canseco, and no one was the DH. It didn’t matter if we couldn’t hit safely in 56 straight because Paul proved we could do it in 39, and that was okay. Our friends were Dale and George and Carlton, and everybody loved Mookie. We never hit 50 home runs but Andre and Mark came close enough for any of us. We wore mesh hats and sweat wristbands and stood for hours flipping cards and fighting over the difference between Topps and Donruss. We bought rack packs and Big League Chew and Starting Lineup and the “A” stood for more than Athletics. We could tell the difference between a Rhyno and a Hawk, and we all knew that Dave Winfiled was sorry when he hit that bird. We all missed Thurman and we were sorry to see Bart go, but everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Dave came back to pitch again. We saw nine teams win the Series and we all thought that ours was the best. Bill Buckner taught us why we keep our eye on the ball and Tony Gwynn taught us how. We learned that if we take drugs then we miss a season and that the best way to become a star is to change our names to Kirby. We fielded Baltimore chops and wondered why the Orioles didn’t hit more grounders. We didn’t need to expand or realign; the Braves were happy in the West. Ten million dollars was what you bought a team with and a salary cap sounded like something you wore. Everyone stuck with the team they rooted for because who you rooted for was who you were. We all celebrated when we won, and mourned when we lost, and knew that it wasn’t over until the last swing in the ninth. We limped like Kirk and we dove like Ozzie and if we were lucky, we could hit like Reggie and pitch like Orel. Yes, we are baseball fans of the Eighties.

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