Print Induced Fandom

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While print journalism has faded from existence, it ultimately was the sole reason why I became a baseball fan – more specifically an Oakland Athletics fan. Growing up, I wouldn’t describe myself as your typical average kid. In fact, I can recall countless mornings racing down the driveway to snag the sports section of the Contra Costa Times from its bag before anyone in my family had the opportunity to get their hands on it. Feeling a sense of pride as I perused over the column, what began as curiosity – quickly developed into something more.

It was August 17, 2002 when my brother and I attended our first major league baseball game. Accompanied by our parents and close family friends, we strolled up to the Coliseum entrance with tickets in hand; and were immediately greeted by the voice of the legendary Roy Steele as we took our seats. As we gazed upon the field for the first time – memories of the luscious green grass, cheering fans, along with the wedding gown white uniforms and cleats were forever ingrained in my mind. It was astonishing to see these athletes perform with such precision and finesse, as if a Broadway production was taking place right before our eyes. With the swing of a bat, or location of a pitch; it was truly exhilarating to see the reactions of fans as home runs were launched into the bleachers and strikeouts recorded for “the good guys”, it was like a dream come true; I was hooked – and my story into A’s fandom began.

For many days and nights after, our television always seemed to be on the A’s game. If you recall – this was amidst their 20-game winning streak, capped with shutouts, blowouts, nail biters, and walk-off pies. It became self-evident that this team left a positive impression on my family, and the story didn’t end there. My father has been a pressman at the Contra Costa Times for over 30 years, so the opportunity to relive each game was literally in my fingertips each morning. Being in grade school at the time, it seemed a bit unorthodox for a nine-year-old to get so excited to read the sports section of a newspaper, but that’s just who I was – and am glad to say that hasn’t changed. It was remarkable to read these eloquent pieces of writing and developing the sense of what was going through the players, coaches, and fans minds after each outing – whether it was a win or loss.

I started to pick up on the writing styles of these journalists and tried to recap the games in my own words – as if I had a front-row seat to each A’s game. I remember filling up composition book after composition book and while my grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure wasn’t something to be proud of, my heart was forever captivated in the game. As I got older, this trend continued. My family had season tickets for the A’s from 2003-2007, and again in 2014. It’s unimaginable to think how many games we attended over the years (including Spring Training), players we’ve met, how many times my brother and I have appeared on the jumbo Tron sporting our green and gold afro wigs and gear, while feasting upon the likes of Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, Ramon Hernandez, and the Big Three excel on baseball’s biggest stage.

With all of this intact, I strongly pursued journalism as a potential career even through high school. For a couple of years I was a staff writer for the sports section for my school’s yearbook committee and by senior year – I was the sports editor for my high school’s newspaper. This transitioned into college where in 2011 – I was privileged to be a staff writer as an incoming freshman for the news section.

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As the years went by I’ve found another passion in the sciences, but continue to watch, write, and stay up-to-date on everything pertaining to the Oakland Athletics. Through the likes of CSN California anchor Brodie Brazil, field-reporters Kate Longworth and Joe Stiglich, along with the San Francisco Chronicle’s own Susan Slusser; with their detailed in-depth coverage and prestigious reputation in the journalism community, I knew I was in good hands.

All in all, baseball is more than just statistics in a box score, or words on a page. It’s essentially life transpiring before us – whether it is through life-changing decisions of success, failure, comradery for your peers, or taking pride in the city you reside. It’s spending summer nights at the Coliseum, embracing the Bernie Lean, zubaz pants, Sean Doolittle’s beard, nerd power, even the “I BELIEVE IN STEPHEN VOGT” chant. To me, the Oakland Athletics are more than just a baseball organization. I think of each and every individual as a part of my family – and wouldn’t trade this feeling to Billy Beane for anything in the world.

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