Monday, October 06, 2008

Why I am a Reds fan - and why I'm FanOfReds

This entry originally appeared on my Sporting News blog as part of Mo's Gain or Lose competition in May 2007. Now that I've moved into my new "digs" I thought I ought to introduce myself!

I am a Reds fan because of my dad. Growing up in upstate Pennsylvania (home to both the Pirates and the Phillies), I was the only kid on the block (so to speak) who was a Reds fan… In fact, I may have been the only kid in the whole town that was a Reds fan. I distinctly remember walking into the only town sporting goods store and seeing a Reds t-shirt for sale. I also remember walking back day after day, and that t-shirt was still there. Finally, the storekeeper marked the price of the t-shirt all the way down to $2.00, which was enough of a bargain for even a kid who would rather buy “cool” stuff to purchase. That purchase began a collection of Reds gear that would later encompass 14 different styles of Reds hats, countless t-shirts, a banner, a blanket, etc.

Long before I found the “bargain” in the store, my dad introduced me to a lifelong infatuation with the Reds. I suppose the defining moment of how I became a Reds fan actually occurred 20+ years before I was born!

You see, my dad grew up in a large family (5 siblings) and he was third oldest. Back in my dad’s youth, baseball cards used to be printed on the backs of cereal boxes. My dad’s oldest brother used to get all the American League cards and my dad’s second oldest brother used to get all the National League cards. Now, as you can imagine, this seemed entirely unfair to my dad and his next youngest brother. Thus, in an effort to maintain control over the majority of the cards, the two oldest brothers agreed to give the cards of one team (of their choice) to the middle brothers. My dad’s younger brother was “stuck” with the Detroit Tigers cards while my dad got “stuck” with the Cincinnati Reds cards. During that time, these were the two teams that got the fewest cards I guess.




Flash forward to 1989. I was a young boy and my dad gave me my first baseball card, a card that I value to this day I think. He gave me a 1987 Topps Cincinnati Reds Leaders card. I thought it was the most amazing piece of cardboard ever printed. I loved the wooden frame. I loved the fact that there were multiple Reds pictured on the front of the card. I loved the fact that the back of the card listed only Reds statistics and leaders. I also distinctly thinking how old the card was, even though it was only 2 years old at the time. From that moment on, I was hooked (both on the Reds and on baseball cards)!

A year after that, the Cincinnati Reds met the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in the World Series and swept them 4 games to 0. I remember being allowed to stay up late to watch the games and my excitement as Barry Larkin, the Nasty Boys, and the rest of the Reds utterly dominated the A’s.

17 years later, I’m still a huge Reds fan – though I haven’t had the opportunity to relive the joys of that World Championship. I guess I am lucky that I can remember even a little of my favorite team winning the World Series, but I hope I get to see another win before the end of my days!

Of course, there’s a second answer to Morrisseyweb’s prompt: “What was the defining moment that made me a fan.” As others have noted, Morrisseyweb did not specify a fan of what. In this case, it suffices to tell the tale of how I became fanofreds. My screen name (though entirely uncreative) speaks a lot about me. If you see a post by a person named fanofreds, you automatically know that I’m a Reds fan. Thus, if I am commenting on a Cardinals or Cubs article, you know exactly where my priorities lie. Just like “in real life,” I make no pretenses or effort to be something or someone that I am not. Now, as a mathematician, I value numbers a lot. Furthermore, as a quick perusal of my weekly should confirm, I am not a homer for my team. I have no problems stating where their weaknesses are (essentially, offense, defense, coaching, and ownership right now).

I also chose the moniker fanofreds because it was a name that I could remember – and it was a name that wasn’t already taken on the original iteration of hotmail. For the longest time, I had a hotmail account fanofreds that I used for everything!

In addition, the name fanofreds satisfied one more quirk of mine. Namely, I get a kick out of people thinking my name is fano fred, as in, I am some grossly infatuated fan of some guy named Fred. It happens all the time (and if any of you readers have made that mistake, don’t worry you aren’t alone)!

Finally, the name also serves a double meaning. Yes, it means that I am a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, but you do know what else I am a fan of? Hint: it is a sports team, but it is not a team listed under my TSN favorites. Give up? I am a fan of Manchester United soccer, a team that often goes by the nickname Reds!

I hope you enjoyed the look into my life a bit, especially since this particular entry was one of my most popular entries that I wrote on TSN. As always, I am interested in your comments!

-fanofreds




Sources:


7 comments:

CK0712 said...

AWESOME!! this was a great write up Freds! i learned the history behind your name & some history on you as well. keep em comin!!

afrankangle said...

Awesome post!

I too am a Reds lifer. The 1961 World Series is one of my earliest Reds baseball memories.

I was crushed when the Mets took Jay Hook in the expansion draft.

Art Shamsky was a Red before his fame as a Met.

Deron Johnson, Joey Jay, Tammy Harper ... the list on go on of my early years as a Reds fan.

Being any fan involves many trials and tribulations. We always start the season with unbridled hope, but often end the season in without the post season ... of course only for the cycle to repeat.

Thanks again for the post.

Lester's Legends said...

nice job. it's fun to hear why people became fans of nontraditional teams.

David Funk said...

Great stuff. I have that 1987 Topps set in a binder, and I like the wooden border on them, too. My dad gave me Topps sets as a kid for a long time, too.

I still like reading about the Big Red Machine and watching highlights of their games during their 70s heydays even though I wasn't born until 1974 myself.

Anyway, and like others have said, it's great to hear the story behind how people become fans of teams.

tcp said...

Awesome story...

I too liked the '87 Topps set because of the wooden frame. The older cards are much cooler than the new ones IMO.

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

I became a Reds fan because of the Big Red Machine

awesome players and classy guys

FanOfReds said...

ck: Thanks, will do!

afrankangle: That cycle is a painful one, but at least we aren't Cub fans right?

Lester: Who you callin' nontraditional teams?! Haha.

David: Yeah, that '87 set was pretty cool. You can pick up the whole set for a couple of bucks now though since they apparently produced about 8 bazillion of each card.

tcp: I'm a big baseball card guy, stay tuned for some more entries with new cards that have "old" characteristics you might be interested in.

3rdStone: Indeed, the Big Red Machine was a team built to win (keyword being team).

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