It’s hard for me to be a fan of any specific team anymore. It used to be that players stayed with their teams and you cared about those players. Trusted that they would be there year after year. The fan and the player were family and that unwritten code that neither would leave one another was almost sacred.
I was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan growing up, primarily because I idolized Johnny Bench. It was Bench that made me want to be a catcher myself. I distinctly remember being 8 years old and on my birthday, asking my grandmother for a catcher’s mitt.
Sadly, the sports store she took me to didn’t have any — and I really didn’t have much idea what they really looked like anyway. So she bought me a first baseman’s glove as it was bigger than the other gloves. I had a friend two years older than me named Mitch that lived next door. He was a pitcher that threw white heat flame — meaning he threw exceptionally hard — and he needed someone who was willing to catch him.
And I wanted to be Bench. We made a great combination...