I’m a Parisian Yankee. I’m not American, I’m not French, I don’t have a history with one team or another, or one player or another, I’m just a random European who got into baseball when he moved to
. And now I’m in
, with many souvenirs and memories from
. But a little part of me stayed there, somewhere in the
, a few hundred yards from the 4 train.
I’ve been a Yankee fan ever since I moved to
in 2001. Until then, I had never really watched baseball. I’d played some in school, but was unaware of many of its rules. But being in
on 9/11 and witnessing the magic of the solidarity and unity in the Big Apple after the attacks, then watching the Yankees’ memorable World Series against the Diamondbacks got me hooked for good. I had learnt that the Yankees were the greatest and most successful franchise in sports (and not only in the US, but in Europe and the rest of the world as well… no other professional team, whether in football—European—rugby, cricket, handball, volleyball, or basketball has ever one 26 national championships) but that they were also the heart and soul of New York. Like the city they play in, they are at the top of the world. They have the competitiveness of New Yorkers: losing is will not do. They have the arrogance of New Yorkers: nowhere else can even compare. And they have the origins of New Yorkers: “Giambi” and “Torre”, “Jeter” and “Williams”, “Rivera” and “Rodriguez”. As I discovered the
, I discovered the Yankees.
And so it started. I learnt the meaning of those numerous acronyms, ERA, HBP, SB, RBI, so many initials that, for the initiated, separate the quick and the dead. And I got my cap, my jersey, and learnt about the best seats that Yankee stadium has to offer, and the worst. I learnt about the hated Red Sox, witnessed the end of the Curse. My mornings used to start with coffee and CNN. They now started with coffee and the New York Post back page.
I didn’t get into football, or hockey, or even basketball. I did catch a few Knicks and Jets games, but the Yankees were my pastime. I lived along the 4 train route, and maybe that helped. But the Yankees became part of me; seasons ended when the Yankees lost the play-offs.
During the brief span of my stay in
, I witnessed the 2001 World Series, the hope the Randy Johnson brought, then lost, laughed at the Red Sox losing Damon to the Yankees, silently watched the Red Sox reverse the curse, sitting in an Irish pub near Penn Station. I witnessed Jeter’s regularity, Torre’s leadership, Arod’s lack of lustre, O’Neill’s retirement, Clemens’ aging,
’s aging, Bernie’s aging, the Yankees’ aging.
I haven’t been a Yankee fan for long, less than a decade. But learning about their history, meeting old time fans, learning to love the Bronx and the real
had a deep impact on my life. I have become a New Yorker for life.
And now, for professional reasons, I’m in
What does this entail? Being a Yankee fan in
entails praying that your cable/internet provider is reliable–when the season starts on mlb.tv, it had better be reliable and fast. There is no alternative here, no nationally broadcast games, no YES TV, just the plain old internet, so the faster and more reliable the internet connection, the better it is.
It also means constantly having dark and dreary eyes. An 8 pm ET starting time means 2 AM here. Sleeping a few hours then waking up to watch a few innings is hard to do—but what else can I do? The season hasn’t even started, and I am already tired.
So here I am, a Parisian Yankee, patiently waiting for the season to start. Joining fantasy baseball leagues fills the day while I wait for the season to begin. Sportswise, there is football, but PSG, the local football team, is second to last. But there are many other things going on. The French presidential elections are in full roll, and the Parisian Yankee will be getting hitched in a couple months, while the Yankees play the Angels. Luckily, it won’t be while the Red Sox are playing… that might have caused some premarital tension.
As you can see, my plate’s full. In the next few months, I’ll be juggling my work, marriage, politics, travel and the Red Sox. And I’m only starting here. There is much to look forward to…