Friday, April 20, 2018

What it Means to Be a Yankees Fan: Daniel Burch



What does being a fan of the New York Yankees mean to you? It seems like such a simple question, but the answers may not be as cut and dry, black and white, and as simple as you think. When thinking about it myself I couldn’t quite put my finger on just one thing or aspect that made me a Yankees fan, and I knew that it wouldn’t be that easy for others to answer as well, so I scoured the internet, our own family here on the site, and I looked within myself to try and find a concrete answer to the question, “What does being a Yankees fan mean to you?” Here are my own personal findings, enjoy.


What makes you a fan of the New York Yankees?

I was always destined to be a fan of the New York Yankees. Looking at my fandom and my life I couldn’t imagine a path where I wasn’t a fan of the team. I mean, I was born in the Bronx, New York in Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Now while my family moved out of the city while I was still very young, and while I don’t remember it well, I was always told that you could see Yankee Stadium from my hospital bed. True, not true. I don’t know, but it is a story I have always told because I’ve always been told that way. Maybe one day soon I can go up there again and see for myself.

My family are all Yankees fans, with the occasional black sheep that we don’t really like to talk about, and I was just immediately drawn to the Yankees and to the sport of baseball. My mother has told me stories from my childhood of me trying to toss baseballs up in the air and hitting them as young as two-years old. The Yankees weren’t the best team back then, I was born in 1985 so by the time I was starting to pay attention New York was still feeling the ill effects of George Steinbrenner and his iron fist, but they were my team and I loved them regardless.

The history drew me to the team. The World Series rings. The traditions. The facial hair policy, which I am not really a fan of anymore, and the lack of last names on the backs of their uniforms. It was everything. The Yankees were different to me, and as you can see on this blog daily I have always been drawn to and attracted to doing things a little different. It was just everything, the team and he organization just completely consumed me.



What is your earliest memory of the New York Yankees?

For some, you are just born into Yankees fandom. Personally, I can remember growing up as a young child as young as two-years old watching Yankees games with my family. Now while my mother and father weren’t the biggest Yankees fans I can say my Yankees fandom began with my uncle, David Pittinger of New York, and his wife, Lisa. My parents had to give up custody of me due to personal reasons and rather than toiling away in foster care or whatever they were gracious enough to pick up the slack and take me in at a very young age. I am and will always be forever grateful for that, and I am also grateful for my uncle for introducing me to my Yankees fandom.

I can remember sitting on the couch watching games with him. I can remember really getting into baseball religiously during the 1994 season, and I can remember never fully understanding why the 1994 season was shortened due to strike. I can remember being supremely disappointed at the cancellation of the World Series and I can remember almost being heartbroken when the 1995 season did not start on time and began in jeopardy as well.



What is your fondest memory of the New York Yankees?

 I can remember watching the Yankees win game after game and World Series after World Series in the 1990’s with him as well. I can remember specifically being so mad at him because he was laying on the couch during Game 4 of the 1998 World Series, he worked nights and it was hard for him to stay awake and watch a game sometimes. I can remember asking him, no it was more like begging him, to wake up and watch the game. I can remember counting down the outs until the Yankees were back on top, and I can remember mocking the San Diego Padres with every pitch thrown. Three outs away, two outs away, and then one.

I can remember begging at this point. “Uncle David, please wake up. One more out!” and I can remember him replying with a simple grunt and a wave of his hand, almost dismissive. I can remember being excited about the Yankees winning another World Series, but I can remember also being a bit disappointed that we couldn’t and wouldn’t share this together. To my surprise he was playing coy the whole time and when the final out was recorded I can remember him waking up and grabbing a conveniently placed broom and sweeping the living room, which was carpet FYI which made it all the more comical. I can just remember him yelling “sweep!” as he did it, which may not be my earliest memory, but it was definitely my fondest moment as a Yankees fan in my early fandom.

The next day, just like we did after every World Series victory, I can remember my Aunt getting me the World Series championship shirts from Modell’s that I wore until I literally could not wear them anymore. We definitely always got our monies worth out of our Yankees gear in that household, a tradition that still holds true today.



What do you think of when you see the interlocking NY of the Yankees?

That symbol means everything to me. To be honest, I am surprised I don’t have the symbol etched into my skin somewhere via tattoo. When I see that symbol I see tradition, pride, history, greatness, winning, family, friends, and everything that is good in the world. It means a lot to me. Maybe it means more than it really should to me, but I don’t care, and I don’t mind. I wear that symbol with pride and I wear it down here in Atlanta just as proudly as I did when I was in New York.

So, what does it mean to be a fan of the New York Yankees? To me, Daniel Burch, it means everything.

What does it mean to you?

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