I grew up a Yankee fan, looking up to Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson before I could talk. My clearest memories, though, were of the Don Mattingly era, when Mattingly was the best player on mediocre teams. As such, I enjoyed the Yankees' 1996-2000 championship run, but have always sympathized with Mattingly, who retired in '95.
I admit I developed an affection for the Boston Red Sox thanks to reading Robert B. Parker, but that dalliance ended when the Sox improbably won the Series in 2004, including coming back from three games down against the Yankees in the ALCS. The Yanks didn't get even, to me, until this past weekend, when they swept a four-game set from an admittedly hobbled Sox team.
Everyone guarded against a letdown, but it was hard to believe the Yanks would ever lose again, even with the shaky Sergio Mitre starting this week's series against the Blue Jays. I watched every pitch intently, expecting a miraculous comeback, but alas.
Last night, too, I found myself gripped by the game, hating Joba Chamberlain for giving up an early lead. Then in the seventh inning, I turned the TV off. I hadn't given up. I had realized I wasn't the kind of fan whose well-being revolved around the team. I didn't need to see how the game played out to be a fan. Sounds wrong, but it felt right to me. And the Yankees won.