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I've been a baseball fan since I can remember, and it has always been a big part of my life.

It started with my dad and uncle taking my sister and me to watch them play softball. After, we would go to bars in New Jersey to celebrate. They celebrated whether they won or lost. I remember playing in the back of the bars with my cousins. If I'm being honest, I remember chasing my sister and cousins. Yup - I was younger, and they probably thought I was annoying. Ha! Also, I know what you're thinking - why were children taken to bars? It was different back then.

Moving right along to 1995.

I'm sitting in our living room in Brownsville, watching the Yankees with my parents and calling my grandparents to see if they were watching the game. Finally, finally, the Yankees made it to the postseason. I remember admiring Derek Jeter during his first year in the major leagues. He seemed quiet and reserved and yet had a level of tenacity that I could relate to. Unfortunately, they didn't win the world series that year. I remember my older sister teasing me because of the loss. Some things never change. We won't begin to talk about the taunting in 2022.

Maybe, you are like me; then you have many friends and family who love baseball. Though, only some cheer for the Yankees.

My mom would always tune in to games during the postseason. She didn't care for the regular season. She just wanted big wins. Likewise, I connected with my dad through baseball. Their passion for the sport incredibly made me fall in love with it.

Meaningful connections are a big part of who I am and what sparks joy in me.

I remember my first year vividly in high school and introducing myself to who would become my best friend. Ely, we won't share that "monologue" in public haha We went to as many baseball games as we could afford. We didn't have much money. I remember going to the will-call window at the original Yankees stadium (the house that Ruth built) and buying bleacher seat tickets for $8. We'd stop at McDonalds to grab a snack from the dollar menu and wait for the players to park and enter the stadium.

Reflecting, we had no business being bleacher creatures as teenagers with grown-ass men. We had fun! We forgot about any stressors in our lives. We were present and had so much fun before, during all innings, and after the game. We'd yell and catch the attention of Paulie and Bernie. We went to the ticker tape parades to celebrate our many world series wins.

Baseball is known for being "one of America's favorite past times."

Fast forward to adulthood. I look forward to meeting my friends and family at the Yankee Tavern before a game. I look forward to holding conversations with my nieces and nephews about baseball. I look forward to traveling to different states to catch games and even to London to watch the Yankees play. I remember the anticipation I felt waiting for my season tickets to arrive. Now I have the benefit of watching Spring training games.

I continue to love baseball more than ever before.

This sport has taught me so much on and off the field and in my personal and professional life. I learned patience and how to be strategic in this world. It taught me discipline and commitment. I've had many great memories and experiences that I will never forget.

The most important thing is that the game has given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people, make many friends along the way and build relationships that will last forever! So whether you're interested in playing baseball or not, there's plenty to enjoy about this sport.

"Athletics keeps us healthy, gets us up and running around. It also gives you an opportunity to meet a lot of different people, which is very important". -Derek Jeter

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