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October 27 2000: A Great Season Ends

If any of you have read my last column of the season on Yankees Xtreme, you know I was alone on the night of the Yankees World Series win in 1999.

And if you’ve been following my columns or my baseball diary on my web page, you know that although I was a total Yankee fanatic when I was a kid, I spent over a decade in the late 80’s and most of the 90’s completely oblivious of baseball and the Yankees.

Last year, in the middle of the season, my passion for the game came roaring back. And my love of the Yankees, so long forgotten, blossomed as well. I woke up from a long sleep to find myself bleeding pinstripes and living in Red Sox country. And let me tell you, it has been lonely up here, sometimes.

But I wouldn’t trade this season for anything.

My first full season as a Yankee fan started over the off-season, when I discovered the Fan Forum bulletin boards at Yankees.com. Through the Internet, I found out a lot of things I never knew before, including information about Spring Training.

So, I convinced my Dad and my brother to come with me to Florida and go to our first ever Spring Training. There, I met my first Yankee (Clay Bellinger) and got autographs from several more (El Duque, Jim Leyritz…) and alumni (Goose Gossage), and had a close call with Derek Jeter that almost made me faint.

People tell me the 1998 season was magic. Everything went right. That certainly wasn’t the case this year. I tried to get tickets to Opening Day–but it was just as well that I didn’t, as it was called off for cold, rain, and sleet. Instead I saw a game a few days later. I was also looking forward to returning to the Stadium several times over the summer, and I did: the Memorial Day Weekend face-off between Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez, Whitey Ford Day, and let’s not forget Yankees Xtreme Day. I’d also make my first trip to Fenway Park, and return there several times–each time to see the Yankees. I knew I was in for a great season.

But on that chilly April Day, I never could have guessed that a month later, I’d be writing for Yankees Xtreme, my first professional baseball writing gig. I’ve been writing professionally, interviews, columns, fiction, you name it, ever since I was in high school. But here I am, diving headfirst into my first full season of Yankee devotion, and I find myself suddenly in the employ (although indirectly) of the team.

I also never guessed that I’d find myself in the electronic company of such a great group of fans as I found on Yankees Xtreme. In the chat room during games, posting in the bulletin boards, meeting one another at Xtreme Day, mailing each other videotapes, magazines, and photos…

Now the Yankees have put the best cap on the season that there could possibly be, winning the World Championship. They fought and battled and scratched their way along the entire season, battling injuries, illness, slumps, and bad weather, and made every minute of the season worthwhile. Thank you, Yankees, for everything.

But I owe a big thank you to all the fans at Xtreme, as well, for making this unforgettable season even better. Thanks to you all, I’ll never truly be alone for a game again.

(Did you enjoy reading this blog entry? Please consider buying me a hot dog.)

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