I went to jr. high/high school in SoCal, but before that, we moved around a lot. My younger brother was born while we were living in Calgary, and we grew up in places like Tulsa, OK, Kansas City, MO, and a suburb of Miami, FL.
When we lived in KC, my dad took us to a few Royals games (does anyone else remember the “Bo Knows” Nike campaign?), but I didn’t really take to baseball until we moved to Orange County. There, a good friend of mine and her younger brother were Dodgers fans, so my brother and I converted, and our families went to games together during the Mike Piazza/Raul Mondesi/Hideo Nomo era. This is kind of strange, but I consider Vin Scully to be the voice of my teenage years.
Total digression: I just realized that this probably explains my disdain for Brian Hayward. Hayward’s smarmy, nasally, homerism may not be any worse than the next guy’s mediocrity, but after years under Vin Scully’s excellent care and tutelage, listening to Hayward, especially now as an adult, makes my ears bleed.
Around the same time, a certain Disney children’s movie came out, and my brother was hooked. (Hey, he was 7 or 8 at the time.) When the Arrowhead Pond opened its doors the next year, my dad took him to a game. Unfortunately, the most memorable thing was that they forgot where they had parked and had to wander in circles for hours after the game until everyone else left. That debacle didn’t deter my little bro — he’s been a fan of the team since Day One, but I didn’t join him until the 95-96 and 96-97 seasons, when Kariya and Selanne were lighting up the scoreboard. Those were good times — who cared that the Ducks were essentially a two-man team (plus Guy Hebert)? I was new to the game, and that pair was so much fun to watch: the speed, the no-look passes, the tic-tac-toe goals. It wasn’t until the post-Disney years that I had the opportunity to appreciate defense and depth and great goaltending.
I left home for college in 1998 and haven’t lived there since then, with the exception of the utterly forgettable 03-04 season. Being way beyond the range of Ducks and Dodgers TV broadcasts ended up limiting my ability to follow the teams. And, uh, there have also been intrusions like school, work, and life. But while my interest in the Dodgers has lapsed, the Ducks’ postseason successes cemented my devotion to the team. I listened to the 2003 playoffs in internet cafes in Tokyo (study abroad), and I watched the 06 and 07 playoffs on OLN/Versus while living in Boston. At some point during the 06-07 season, I discovered BoC (version 1.0), but it took a lot of lurking before I posted my first comment.
Living on the East Coast, I’ve been able to visit a few other teams’ buildings. So far, I’ve been to a Canadiens @ Bruins game at The Garden, a Rangers @ Islanders match at Nassau Coliseum, and, just recently, the Ducks @ Rangers tilt at Madison Square Garden. Holy crap, The Garden and MSG are loud, and the Montreal/Boston game was especially intense. If I remember correctly, it was December 2006 and neither team was doing all that well (the Bruins certainly weren’t), but the place was on fire.
Last summer/fall, I moved here to New York to go back to school (law school), and, as a trade-off for not buying a TV/having cable, I signed up for the NHL’s GameCenter Live. This has been great for my hockey fandom and terrible for my grades. Really terrible. I may have to disappear this semester, because if I don’t raise my grades, I may end up as an ambulance chaser.
I’m hoping to head back to CA after school, and I’m looking forward to being able to go to more Ducks games. The team is going to look really different when I graduate in 2011, but I’m a big believer in Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan (err…let’s not talk about #35 right now), and I think there are good things ahead for this club. (C’mon, Bryan-Terry-Bill-Bob-Billy Bob-what's-his-name Murray. Make it happen!)