Baseball is a part of American tradition, but sometimes female fans aren’t as well-respected among fanbases as well as they should be.
As a young woman who has grown up around baseball, I have come into contact with many people who don’t “believe” that I’m a real fan. The fact of the matter is, baseball is in my blood. Every Friday night, my family and I would attend games and stay until the end to experience the firework display. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t live in New York and couldn’t get my Yankee Stadium fix as often as I would like. The Cleveland Indians held me over for the time being. From my years of attending baseball games, I’ve been told repeatedly that I was just showing up to see the “pretty lights.” I’ve encountered numerous men who only seem focused on figuring out if I’m there for the “right reasons.”
Just because my reasons don’t perfectly mirror theirs, my love of the game should not be discredited. I thrive in an environment where everyone around me is unified and rooting for a common goal. The energy that floats through the air at a baseball game is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. Walking through the stadium is enough for me to want to envelop myself in the world of baseball.
On many occasions, I’ve been asked to spew out stats and Yankee facts to “prove” that I’m a fan. Why is it that women need to back-up their love of the game? Of course, I knew the answers, but was that truly necessary?
In Kindergarten, I was berated by my boy classmates about my fandom. They told me that I just liked to go to games for everything but the sport. Little five year old me could not comprehend this. I thought to myself, “there’s more to the sport than just the game. “
To me, the fact that baseball, especially the Yankees, can unite millions of people across the nation is something I find so incredibly special. Even though we may disagree, once you’re in that stadium or watching the game, all of those differences go away, and the camaraderie begins to grow.
The seventh-inning stretch is sheer entertainment for me. When “Take me out to the ballgame” starts playing, watch me hit every note. Throw me a popcorn ball; I’ll catch it every time. A player decides to gift the kids with a baseball; I’m the first to shove through the crowd and claim it for myself. It is all a part of the experience, being surrounded by others and coming together to enjoy something that has steeped itself in our nation’s history for centuries.
I know for a fact that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like; baseball will always be there for you. To pick you up when you’re down, make you cheer for something when you feel there’s nothing to root for and feed your soul with happiness and delicious food. It doesn’t matter why you go or how much you know. It’s all about the way it makes you feel. And the Yankees do a damn good job of bringing joy and togetherness into our lives. That is why I will always be a fan.