I became a full-on baseball fanatic around the age of 10 or 11. While I remember watching the 1986 and 1987 World Series with my dad, seeing the chants of "Darryl, Darryl" in the first and the 7 home wins in the latter, 1988 was when I got completely immersed in the national pastime. Being a Northern California resident, the daily paper was full of exploits featuring the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, as the team won 104 games, losing only 58, for a .642 winning percentage. Canseco was the first to hit 40+ home runs and steal 40 bases. Dave Stewart won 21 games and Eckersley had 45 saves. The team was incredible.
After scouring all the boxscores, listening to radio broadcasts and catching the rare televised game, my dad finally took me to a major league game in Oakland. Sure enough, the A's won. Not only that, but Canseco homered, and Eckersley got the save. This same formula repeated three times that year, to the point, for me, only 11, I swore this was the way it always was.
Needless to say, I was hooked. Not just to baseball, but the A's, who I followed to their demise in the 1988 World Series against the LA Dodgers. The next Spring, I got the yearly baseball prediction magazines, and memorized all the stats. They're practically hard-coded now, with Canseco's .307 average, .569 slugging, 120 runs scored, 124 driven in, 24 doubles, 40 stolen bases (against 16 caught stealing) being the most obvious.
Now in the South Bay, and with the A's not exactly being amazing of late, I sometimes get asked why I am an A's fan (and not say... a Giants fan). For me, it comes back to 1988, and the beginning of the A's dynasty that saw them win 4 division titles through 1992, and 3 league championships, crowned by the earthquake-marred 1989 Bay Bridge Series against the Giants.
My wife and I had season tickets for the A's for 3 years until the twins were born in 2008, and we still watch as much as we can. But no matter what happens with this team, who Bud Selig seems to have little interest for, I'm an A's fan and baseball nut for life.
BTW - they are winning 8-0 right now.
/via My Google+ Profile.