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Why I became a fan of the Dodgers

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eric-2nd-grade-computer
I’ve been writing about baseball before I even knew what it was.

Welcome to the refreshed True Blue LA! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card*. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

So we have a new look all across SB Nation, all of the sites, over 300 of them. With that new look is a rebranding of sorts, including a new slogan: Come Fan With Us. That’s why we’re all here in the first place, right?

To that end, here is my story.

I am the youngest of five children, with a lot of distance between me and my siblings. My sisters are 18 and 17 years older than me, and my brothers are 15 and 10 years older. I was the accident. My parents also divorced when I was two, and once my youngest brother Greg moved out after graduating high school when I was eight, it was basically just me and my mom at home, so in many ways I was an only child, with a lot of time to myself.

With that time, I gravitated toward sports, and baseball took an early hold. The first World Series I can remember watching was 1984, when I was eight, then I started collecting baseball cards in 1985, which was my first full season watching baseball.

Growing up in Palm Springs, I had sports choices. We had USC and UCLA (I eventually chose USC because my brother Kelly got a masters degree there), Raiders and Rams (I gravitated toward Marcus Allen, then Bo), Lakers and Clippers (the Showtime Lakers were the thing), plus Dodgers and Angels.

The Angels had local ties, in that they would spend part of their spring training in Palm Springs every year, and owner Gene Autry was a fixture in the desert. Choosing the Angels would have been a perfectly understandable decision, and really I never thought of it as mutually exclusive.

Me (maybe age 5?) and my cousin.

But ultimately, I looked up to my brothers. I wanted to like what they liked, do what they did. They were Dodgers fans, which was passed down to them from our uncles, all of my mom’s brothers. So I really didn’t have much of a choice.

That 1985 season was a special one for the Dodgers. Fernando Valenzuela was still at the peak of his powers, and Orel Hershiser was just coming into his own. Pedro Guerrero captured my heart by hitting 15 home runs that June. I spent my free time learning more about that team, and about baseball.

I remember going to my grandma’s house after school to catch the end of Game 6 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, not fully comprehending the ramifications of the decision to have Tom Niedenfuer pitch to Jack Clark rather than that “that so-and-so” Andy Van Slyke. All I know is that my reaction at age 9 was very similar to Guerrero, who slammed his glove to the grass in left field.

The season’s end notwithstanding, I was absolutely hooked on the Dodgers, and have spent the better part of the last three decades still following them with the same voracious appetite.

I hope that spirit comes through here at True Blue LA.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.