Get To Know: Kyle Thompson
“The one constant through all the years... has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time... It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”
This quote comes from a conversation between two of the main characters in the classic baseball film "Field of Dreams." This declaration sums up my feelings towards America’s Pastime. It is as much a part of the fabric of our nation as freedom and apple pie. Baseball has been there in times of peace and war, boom and bust and success and strife. I see it as my responsibility to help ensure that the world’s greatest game remains a staple of American life.
I started playing baseball the same year that "The Sandlot" hit theaters (1993). I can still remember being unable to control my excitement at school because I was so pumped for my first practice. Practices were great, but my first game was a bit rough. While playing on a rocky and uneven elementary school playground surface, I managed to take two ground balls right to the face! Although that wasn’t the greatest of beginnings, it didn’t deter my desire to get better and learn more about the game.
As a youngster, I went back and forth with which team was my favorite. For differing reasons, I liked the Braves, Cubs, Mariners and Rangers at different points in my youth. Also, when I was younger, I was best known by teammates for my red hair and hitting with a lot of power. So, one of my nicknames became “Little Mac,” as my resemblance to Mark “Big Mac” McGwire. I welcomed the name, and when McGwire was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Cardinals in 1997, I decided then and there that I was going to be a Cardinals fan for good!
I feel that my decision to be a die-hard Cards fan came full circle in 2011. St. Louis' 2011 run to their 11th World Championship was nothing short of the single greatest team comeback in the history of the game. They went from 10.5 games out in late August, to a must-win 162nd game, to an all-time great NLDS Game 5 in Philly, to a thrilling NLCS with Milwaukee, to being down to their last strike of the season (TWICE!), to a World Series Game 7 victory over Texas. It will remain as one of the most magical seasons ever for this storied franchise.
Now, my MLB fandom has brought me to the doors of the MLB Fan Cave in NYC, where I hope to spend the entire 2012 season. As fans, you can expect me to be a creative, energetic, intense, professional and appropriate ambassador for the game of baseball. I will do my very best to represent the fans, and the eight Cave Dwellers and I plan to entertain you along the way!
Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleOKC.