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Pinstripe Passion

Chris Hine | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My name is Chris Hine, and I am a Yankee fan.

Even though non-Yankees fans give me dirty looks whenever I say that, I remain a Yankee fan, and even though Derek Jeter made the atrocious mistake of kicking Mariah Carey to the curb a few years back, I remain a Yankee fan.

So, why in the face of so much contempt, do I remain a Yankee fan? The first reason is simple. They are the greatest franchise in the history of sports, and the hate they generate is proof that other people just wish they had a sliver of that success, much like Notre Dame. The second reason is more personal – it’s all in the family.

I can still remember vividly Game 6 of the 1996 World Series. As soon as Terry Pendleton hit a single off with two outs off John Wetteland to cut the Yankee lead to 3-2, my father leapt up off the couch and threw a purple and blue nerf basketball as hard as he could into the floor, yelling “Damn it, Wetteland!” Normally my father is very careful with his words, especially around his 10-year-old son.

It was the first time I had ever heard my father say anything that resembled swearing. Never had I seen him more animated in his life than that hit. Then, when Charlie Hayes caught Mark Lemke’s popup to seal the victory, my father picked me up and did not put me down until Wade Boggs had completed his victory lap around Yankee Stadium on a horse. What inspired this passion in him? It was not until a few years later that I really found out.

I never met my grandfather on his side, but as I get older, my dad tells me stories of he and grandpa watching the Yankees. For about 15 years after my grandfather died, my father didn’t have a best friend with whom he could watch the Yankees. Nothing can come close to the experience of a father watching a game with his son.

Only now, as I went through this past postseason and the beginning of the new season did I realize how much different it is to watch the Yankees without my dad there. I was on the phone with him every time something happened in one of the playoff games.

We share a common loathing of Jorge Posada’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position and radio announcer John Sterling’s lack of depth perception. (That ball is high, it is far, it is … caught at the wall).

We also have memories of the games we went to, such as Game 1 of the ’96 ALCS when Jeffrey Mayer reached over the wall and snatched Jeter’s home run from Tony Tarasco. Not to mention the great games we’ve watched on TV, whether they ended in Aaron Boone-like euphoria or Gonzalezian disappointment (see Game 7 of the 2001 World Series).

No, Red Sox fans, you can’t even take credit for the Yankees most devastating defeat. That is why every night over the summer you’ll probably find me in the same place – on the couch, with my father, watching the Yankees. God knows where I’ll end up when I graduate in three years, so I had better enjoy as many games with him as I can now.

Even though time will one day take away my father as it did his father, it will not take away the numerous hours we sat watching the Yankees.

My name is Chris Hine, and I am, and will always be, a Yankee fan.