May 11, 2021

The return of the prodigal son

I was born a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, my grandfather was a Dodger’s fan, my uncle is a Dodgers fan, my brothers and my mom were all Dodgers fans. For most of my childhood, I cheered for L.A., I grew up idolizing Mike Piazza, Hideki Nomo and Eric Karros. Tommy Lasorda was revered in my house. But somewhere down the line, I became lost, and confused and became a fan of the Boston Red Sox. Recently, I have had a change of heart. This is the story of how I regained my love for the Dodgers.

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This archived article was written by: Nathan Davis

I was born a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, my grandfather was a Dodger’s fan, my uncle is a Dodgers fan, my brothers and my mom were all Dodgers fans. For most of my childhood, I cheered for L.A., I grew up idolizing Mike Piazza, Hideki Nomo and Eric Karros. Tommy Lasorda was revered in my house. But somewhere down the line, I became lost, and confused and became a fan of the Boston Red Sox. Recently, I have had a change of heart. This is the story of how I regained my love for the Dodgers.
I don’t remember exactly why I stopped rooting for the Dodgers, but it happened sometime during the early 2000s. My brother says I jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon, but I can remember being a fan before they won the World Series. Anyway for whatever reason, I became a Red Sox fan. In the words of my brother Chris, I “disgraced the family.
For years, I passionately cheered for the Sox, (mom, skip this next line) even skipping class to watch them play. But I always felt something was missing. It was something that I couldn’t ever really put my finger on. But cheering for the Red Sox, felt hollow. Then one day it hit me, I was watching ESPN, and a commercial came on with fans of different teams describing how long, they’d been a fan of their team. That’s when I realized; I had no roots with the Red Sox. I can’t even remember what made cheer for them in the first place.
With the Dodgers, I know why I am a fan. The team means something to me. In the few short months since I rediscovered my love for the Dodgers, I have felt a true connection to the team, something more than simply liking a few players, more than getting caught up in the history of a team.
That’s when I started to think about where my roots were, and started to think about becoming a Dodgers fan again. This decision has nothing to do with the Dodgers record which as of my deadline is 74-50. Let me remind you, the Red Sox are playing great baseball as well and have a 70-52 record. My decision isn’t about winning, but it has to do with tradition, with my roots and with my family. I have a connection as a Dodgers fan.
My grandfather Robert Martin grew up cheering for the Dodgers, and is the reason that my family bleeds Dodger blue. He passed away when I was only two, but his brother Jerry told me what it was like growing up in the Martin household when the Dodgers were playing. Since there was no television in those days, they would tune into the radio for the games. He said my great grandfather was a “dedicated Brooklyn Dodgers fan.” And that “the family was expected to be completely non-distracting! Your grandpa and I often listened to the games with him.”
They grew up watching the great Dodger teams of the ’50s and ’60s. Jerry said, “Roy Campenella, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snyder, Don Newcomb, Sandy Koufax and other Dodgers were common names in the Martin home.” Also he spoke fondly of listening to the games on the radio, saying that when you listened to the games on the radio, you were able to visualize what was happening in your head.
This is also something that I have come to love. Since the Dodgers don’t have many games on TV In our part of the country, I signed up for MLB radio, where I can listen to all the games online. I have come to love hearing legendary LA announcer Vin Scully describe the games. Listening to the games makes me feel connected to my family and my late grandpa.
When I first informed Chris of my decision to start cheering for the Dodgers again, he told me, that it wasn’t simply as easy as saying I’m a Dodgers fan, I had to prove it.
First Chris, gave me a pop quiz about the team, and then based on my answers; put me on a two-week probation period. I was also forced to renounce all affiliation with any other MLB teams. During my probation, I was subjected to surprise quizzes about the Dodgers season and about team history. Now that I have proved my desire, and the fact that I’m not merely a bandwagon fan, I am once again a full-fledged Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
It just feels right now that I have been welcomed back into the fold. It feels good to have a real reason behind supporting a team, it feels good to not root for the same team that three-fourths of the country cheers for. It feels good to be able to watch games with Chris, and to talk about the team with him. Being blue, never felt so good. Chris has warned me that I was forgiven once, if I turn my back on the team again, I will forever be shunned, because in his words, “we don’t need any bandwagon fans.”

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