From age eight I lived for baseball. The kids in my neighborhood took over two adjoining vacant lots and created a diamond where games were played almost daily from when the snow melted in April through until late October. And when October rolled around and it was World Series time, I was in heaven.
Later I played in my town's Park and Recreation leagues, a small town version of Little League thankfully without the nagging win-at-all-cost parents in the bleachers. It wasn't that our parents weren't supportive of our playing, they just decided to not interfere.
Then there was America Legion ball in high school and a workout in front of a Pittsburgh Pirate scout. A workout that led to a handshake and him muttering, "thanks for showing up" and nothing more.
After college I followed the Giants at Candlestick Park and later, when living in Berkeley, the A's at the Oakland Colesium which was a short BART rapid transit ride away from my house.
And all through these baseball loving years, I thoroughly disliked the New York Yankees.
I starting disliking them as a kid when they seemed to win the World Series way too often. All my best childhood pals disliked the Yankees as well. The Pirates, the Cardinals, Giants, anybody but the Yankees.
The heck with Joe Dimaggio. His brother Dom playing up in Boston was a better player. Forget about Reggie Jackson's four homers in a Series game for the Yankees, he played way better when he was an Oakland A.
And so we come to the 2009 American League Championship Series and the Yankees facing off with the team with the longest name in baseball history-the Los Angeles Angels who play in Anaheim but want you to think they're from L.A.
I like the Anaheim cum LA Angels’ red and white uniforms; can't stomach the Yankee pinstripes. I like the Angels' Vlad Guerrero. He looks mean and takes a wicked cut at the ball. The Yankees Alex Rodriquez is too pretty.
Then there's the Yankees Derek Jeter, who I had to admit to a friend yesterday, that I admire, albeit begrudgingly.
Jeter shows up to play every day, plays hard, isn't in the tabloids and has impressive career stats. He's an admirable baseball player.
Just writing those words in praise of a Yankee player is a clear indication that I'm getting old and soft. But maybe it's good that my lifelong dislike of the Yankees and anything to do with them is breaking down.