Baseball Jeremiad: A Curiously Intelligent Baseball Blog since 2010
Jersey Matt has been a Mets’ fan his entire life, excepting the three months when his uncle convinced him to be a Yankee fan. Such actions nearly caused a rift within his family of the most severe order. Matt’s attended his first major league baseball game in 1989 at Shea Stadium. The Mets played Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals that day. For some reason, Matt thought the exploits of a slick-fielding Kevin Elster to be a lot more enthralling than those of Pedro Guerrero.
Jersey Matt’s baseball career took off when he was the only player on his minor league little team to be able to catch thrown balls from his shortstop, Bobby Talamini, who subsequently set the Wood-Ridge Little League home run record. At the time, Bobby was an old “10” and Matt a “young” 8. Thus, an undersized Matt learned to play first base. His left palm still aches on cold days from his time there.
Matt counts his childhood heroes as weak-hitting middle infielders and inner-city parish priests; in other words, he admires men largely lost to history.
DC Matt lives in Washington. When he moved there two years ago he strategically chose his apartment based on its walking distance proximity to Nationals Park. While he loves the Nationals and frequently goes to their games, he was a Yankees fan first. Since Yankees fans seem to need to justify their fandom, here it is: Matt grew up in West Africa, where there isn’t exactly a local MLB team to follow. When he would visit the States in the summers he spent a lot of time in western New York with his grandparents who had grown up in New York City and had specific ties to the Bronx. He had heard stories about how his grandfather had sat on the subway tracks across the street from Yankee Stadium and watched baseball games, fights, and football games. Those stories and Yankees lore were enough to carve a fan out of a young kid with a budding interest in baseball.
Incidentally, during the 2000 Subway Series, that same grandfather admitted to rooting against the Yankees because he couldn’t “stand that owner of theirs.”
Luckily for Matt the Yankees and Nationals rarely have conflicting interests, so he can spend most of his time with a balanced baseball zen. The last time (and perhaps the only time) they did have a serious conflicting interest was over the Mark Teixeira signing before the 2009 season. Matt lost a lot of sleep over where he wanted Teixeira to end up: he would fill a huge hole in the Bronx but in Washington he could have changed the franchise and it probably would have been “better for baseball”. Matt doesn’t like to debate this at length because it makes him upset.
Matt hopes to one day quit his job in the federal government and write about baseball fulltime.