Bless You Boys has become my go-to site for all things Detroit Tigers. I lurked awhile before a friend and fellow poster assured me that the site was friendly and non-threatening, even for someone like me who tends to get woozy when attempting to comprehend things like FIP, WHIP, WAR, ASAP, LOL, etc. Thanks to the knowledgeable people on BYB, I’m learning lots and having fun doing so, and thought you should know that you have a certified BYB Fangirl amongst you. Certified, not certifiable. Just sayin’.
I have years of practice being a dedicated and loyal fangirl. My fangirl career began at a young age, when I decided I had a crush on a dark-haired singer with a toothy smile who claimed to be "a little bit rock and roll." I moved on to various shaggy-haired, teeny-bopper actor-types, a late 80’s boyband, and –- as my avatar indicates –- a certain pitcher for the Detroit Tigers with dreamy blue/brown eyes. While the term "fangirl" can bring to mind screaming, sobbing and general flooziness, my fangirl tendencies run towards the cute and non-threatening. You won’t find me bus-stalking or going through anyone’s trash. I have been known, however, to spend hours listening to the radio, watching TV and sitting in various extreme weather conditions to watch my favorite sport: baseball.
If I may, allow me to describe for you the people that have inspired my baseball fangirl adoration.
My Grandpa A dedicated Detroit Tigers fan, he has been listening and watching this team for as long as I can remember. I have memories of going to his house and sitting with him as he tinkered in the garage, or arranged his toy-train display (his post-retirement hobby), with the voice of Ernie Harwell in the background on his radio. Although I had no idea what Ernie was talking about at the time, I will always associate that comforting voice with spending time with my Grandpa. Grandpa is 96 years old now and can no longer see, but he still follows the Tigers. Every spring around Mother’s Day, I can count on him to call the team a "buncha bums who ain’t gonna amount to anything this season." But he says it with a smile. We both know he loves this team. And I’m one of his biggest fans.
Dave Rozema I was a teenager, aimlessly wandering the mall with friends one Saturday afternoon. In the center of the mall tables were set up, people were in line, and not knowing what was going on, my friends and I joined the queue (could’ve been free food, what did we know)? As we moved closer, I noticed a cute guy signing autographed photos. I still have that photo, signed by Dave Rozema in my high school scrapbook. Because of this life-changing event, I made it my dad’s job to inform me whenever Dave stepped to the mound so I could watch him pitch. It was also pretty cool that I started actually paying attention to the Tigers the year they won the World Series. I still giggle when I see Dave on tv. Yeah, I’m still his fangirl.
My Son From t-ball to Little League, Big League, Senior League and high school baseball, I’d have a hard time thinking of one thing I love more than watching my son play baseball. As a child, he had a tendency to pinwheel his arms around and around on his way to 1st base, because he was so darn happy to be outside in the sun playing this game with his friends. Watching him grow tall, get stronger and develop into a pitcher was wonderful. His one-hitter in his last All-Star game as a 17-year old made me so proud, and after the game he jokingly stepped out of the dugout and doffed his cap, garnering a laugh and round of applause from the 20-or-so parents in the stands. When he did not make the school varsity team as a senior, he handled it with a grace and dignity that I didn’t know he possessed. While I secretly pouted and fumed, he simply moved on. He taught me a very important lesson that day. As a parent, it can come as a surprise when you realize you’ve learned something valuable from your child. I will forever be his Number One Fan.
Maxwell M. Scherzer (I think the "M" stands for Mystery, but I cannot confirm this). Sadly, I am unable to claim to be his Number One Fangirl, because I was late to this party, not noticing him until mid-2010. I chose him to be My Tiger based on those eyes, the violent shoulder-dislocating throw, that he toiled quietly from beneath the shadow of the great Justin Verlander, and the fact that when he got into trouble, one could almost hear the gears turning in his brain. My loyalty never wavered as I watched him get better, and better still, and then ALL-STAR STARTER and CY YOUNG (swoon!!!), followed by an excellent 2014 and now a question mark as to where he will spend 2015. Baseball is a family business. Between fans and players, if a beloved Tiger leaves for a new place to call home, and if you’ve weathered the storms with that particular player, they will always be a Tiger, and Max will always be my Tiger. Loyalty is the mark of a true fangirl, after all.
P.S. Max……please stay.