I’m not sure where my life would be without baseball.
I realized this yesterday, when thinking about Thanksgiving and the multitude of blessings I am so grateful for: my family, friends, good health (even though I now can’t eat or drink everything I used to enjoy without getting sick), a good job where I can see the end result of my efforts every February, money for food and clothing and shelter … the list could go on and on. It also includes the chance to do something I’ve been compelled to do since I was a kid — write — and know that people read and even react to it.
Much of the writing, obviously, is here and about the Cardinals and baseball. I don’t remember when I first started watching baseball — it was a very, very long time ago. Baseball became a daily part of my summers back when my brother turned 8 and started playing and my Dad was his coach. In high school, when my family got cable TV, the magic fact we received WGN and the Cubs played in the afternoon is part of the reason I first followed them. (The cuteness of Jody Davis was the other.) In college, my daily routine of listening or watching every Cubs game led to an internship with the team — and afterward a 10-year baseball break that lasted until Harry Caray died in 1998. That year’s Cubs team brought me back to baseball, yet Mark McGwire made me notice the Cardinals. It took a couple years, and a typical Cubs season in 1999 following the gloriousness of 1998, to finally bring me to where I am today: on the right, and red, side of the rivalry since 2000.
What a magical time in Cardinals history to have become a fan. And what fortuitous timing in creating Aaron Miles’ Fastball in January 2011. Could there been three better seasons to have written about so far than 2011, 2012 and 2013?
What fortuitous opportunities, too, that have resulted from me just deciding to combine my passions of writing and baseball into this site. The many, many people that I’ve met and the friends that I’ve made. The things I’ve been able to do — attend the Cardinals annual blogger day for the past three years, watch a minor league game with Jeff Luhnow when he was still with the Cardinals and so much more. The unexpected people who’ve read my work (and the work of Tara and Miranda too), ranging from Cardinals players to someone at the New York Times and another with Boston’s public radio station. It’s almost overwhelming to stop and think about it.
Yet baseball has also brought me a way of connecting with so many people — family and friends, yes, and that’s resulted in fantastic experiences at ballparks throughout East and Midwest. But a connection via baseball also has brought about a way to converse with many a person at work — of course coworkers but also people I see at our convention wearing a team’s apparel or vendors we work with to put on the convention. It provides common ground, even if the other people are Red Sox fans.
It’s the experiences with family and friends, at ballparks and not, that have meant the most. My aunts and I have been to 10 or so ballparks together, with our goal of making it to all 30. Friends-wise, it was a year ago on Thanksgiving the plan was launched to go to PNC Park on Labor Day — none of having a clue at the time, obviously, the series would be a battle for first place.
Yet two of the most important people in my baseball life are those I’ve maybe attended one Cardinals game with each, my uncle Jim and my friend Michael. Jim encouraged my Cardinals fandom and has nurtured it since, with so many books and gifts and emails and phone calls on important Cardinals occasions. Michael and I exchange multiple emails daily, year-round, and I’ve become a smarter fan as a result. (Plus his wife Tammy hopefully gets a little break from his baseball chatter since he has this outlet for it!)
Baseball is a huge part of my life, and watching and writing about the Cardinals does bring me great joy. It’s something I’m grateful for not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.
And I’m especially, particularly thankful for all of you who read this and read AMF regularly. I’d write anyway, even if no one would read it, but you make it so much more worthwhile.
Thank you — and happy Thanksgiving!
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.