I never had much of a choice in my sports team rooting interests; photos exist of me at Bank One Ballpark as a 4 week old infant in a D-Backs onesie, so I guess that makes me as close to a fan since birth as you can get. My parents surrounded me with all things Arizona sports, all the time, so I naturally learned to love our hometown teams. I also learned to hate certain teams, specifically the Yankees. I can recall being an 8 year old and wondering what I would do if the Yankees drafted me (making it to the majors was a forgone conclusion at the time). The horror of putting on those filthy pinstripes! Luckily, my parents assured me they would still support me even if I did get selected by New York. My dislike of the Dodgers developed more on my own. I can recall the bubbling anger that coursed through 13-year-old Nate as I watched Los Angeles jump into the Chase Field pool after clinching the NL West. When the “Beat LA” chant begins during D-Backs-Dodgers games, the memory of those blue fools splashing about in the pool pushes my voice to level which surprises me.
Enough talk about the evil baseball teams, let’s get back to the D-Backs. When playing a baseball video game, I cannot remember a single time in my life that I did not select the Diamondbacks as my team- actually, scratch that, I recall a month long phase during 4th grade when I decided I was going to be a Twins fan. Fourth graders are weird. Anyways, baseball video games. I suffered many defeats to my friends, who generally played as the Yankees or one of the all-star teams. I didn’t care; what was the point of winning with a team from another state? When it came to me and baseball, it was D-Backs or bust.
Coming up through school, I could not understand why someone from Arizona would root for a team other than the D-Backs. Why would you cheer for the Cubs 1,700 miles away when a perfectly good team lives a half hour away? Who cares if the Diamondbacks experience some suckage here and there? I’ve always viewed the hometown team as the most fun to root for. I get to watch all their games on TV, share in the highs and lows with other local fans, and even go to a couple games per year. Who would want to give that up?
The amazing season the D-Backs are in the midst of is making my fandom stronger than ever. I am finally old enough to truly appreciate the year Arizona is having. In 2011, being only 11 years old, I obviously enjoyed the season, but was not nearly as dedicated and into the team as I am now. I can also use the D-Backs as a connection between my father and I. The relationship I have with my dad is wonderful, better than most teens have with their dads, but it obviously can get a bit rocky at times. Baseball is always there for us to discuss, whether the D-Backs are playing fantastically or terribly. Obviously the good times bring people together, but groaning over the Heath Bell and/or Addison Reed experiences created just as much of a bond.
The question “why are you a D-Backs fan?” is one I would answer with a couple questions of my own. “Why wouldn’t I be? Who else would I root for?” I don’t see myself ever being able to take my passion for the D-Backs to another baseball team, nor do I see any reason to.