Like millions of other little boys in America (and more than a few girls too), I was bitten by the baseball bug at an early age. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but it was a single digit for sure when every waking hour in the summer was spent watching, learning and playing the game.
Neighborhood kids would gather in the designated area, and play ball from early morning until sundown. Sometimes it was an actual baseball field in a park, but other times it was in the middle of the street. Wherever there was a group of kids and some room, a ball game was sure to follow.
If that wasn’t enough, when we went home we’d digest all the box scores of yesterday’s games from the newspaper and listen to today’s game on the radio. Growing up in Milwaukee, watching games on TV was a rare treat. There were only about 40 games a year televised, and that was it.
Most of my baseball input was via radio, and I was an avid consumer. Not only could I hear the hometown Brewers broadcasts with Merle Harmon and Bob Uecker, I digested a double dose of Chicago teams with Cubs and White Sox broadcasts. I would also wander across my dial to hear the Cleveland Indians on WWWE or the St. Louis Cardinals on KMOX. It was baseball heaven.
As a kid, I was too stupid to know I wasn’t supposed to select more than one team to cheer for. There are no written rules stating this, but as I grew up I found out that’s how it’s supposed to be apparently. I was partial to my Brewers, but I also wanted the White Sox and Cubs to win too.
The Cubs were easy to cheer for because they were in the National League. The Brewers never played them, so I found myself rooting for them always. The White Sox and Brewers would play each other, but that was only a few games a year. The rest of the year, I cheered for them as well.
Things got all screwed up when the Brewers switched to the National League in 1998. I wasn’t sure who to cheer for anymore, and I found myself feeling confused when the Brewers faced the Cubs. The Brewers were terrible and I was living in Chicago so I found myself loving the Cubs.
But, unlike most other Cubs fans I didn’t hate the White Sox either. I’ve been to several games at U.S. Cellular Field, and find it to be a really enjoyable place to watch a game. In many ways, I like it more than Wrigley Field – which I also find to be a pleasant experience. I’m so confused.
To make it worse, Milwaukee had to go and reshape their destiny. County Stadium was an ugly rat hole and the Brewers stunk, but Miller Park was built and new ownership came in and turned it all around. Now I’m back to being a Brewers fan first, but I don’t despise the other two teams.
This weekend, the Brewers will be playing the White Sox in interleague play. The Brewers are having a rough year, and the White Sox are tailing off a bit after a strong start. I’ll be rooting for the Brewers, but if the Sox win I won’t be upset. I know not many other fans think the way I do, but I’m not going to lie. I enjoy baseball, and I cheer for all three of these teams, especially when they’re doing well. Am I fair weather fan? In baseball, unfortunately yes. I have three teams to break my heart.