You decide. Here are the candidates, along with the back stories of their photos, in the order of the date the pics were sent to me. Some were submitted by members of the MLBlogs Community. Others were from fans who don’t write blogs. All were from people who love baseball, our common denominator. So take a look and then vote below. Deadline for votes is Friday, May 22nd. Good luck to everybody!
#1: Photo submitted by Lou, who calls himself a “deranged Yankee fan.” It was taken at the second game of a doubleheader the Yankees played against the Rays last September. The game meant a lot to him, as he’d “just spent four harrowing years at the University of Vermont surrounded by Red Sox fans.” You can tell by the gleam in his eyes that he was glad to be home. (Or was it the beer?)
#2: Photo submitted by Lillie Marie, also known here as “Latin Yankee Rebel,” who says: “This sums up what being a she-fan is all about – being there for your team in the good times and the bad.” The photo was taken at Camden Yards on the last day of the 2007 season. Lillie made the sign after Joe Torre told the media he still had faith in his team. “I just wanted them to know I still believed too,” she explains.
#3: Photo submitted by Cat, author of the “Cat loves the Dodgers” blog on MLBlogs. On the night the photo was taken in 2008, the Dodgers were playing the Brewers at home. Cat was sitting in the front row of the section near the bullpen, along with her son, who was visiting after having served two tours of duty in Iraq. It was a special night for both of them – especially when Gabe Kapler came barreling into them to rob Russell Martin of a home run. His catch was spectacular, and Cat (seen in the lower right corner of the pic) was shown over and over on ESPN.
#4: Photo submitted by Sally, a Yankee fan who comments here as “Yankees Sal.” It was taken at the old Yankee Stadium on August 15, 2008, while Sally and her friend were waiting out a rain delay of the game against the Royals. The Yanks lost a heartbreaker that dropped them to 10 1/2 games back in the division, but Sally’s friend gave her an amazing gift that night: she arranged for the scoreboard to light up with “Happy Birthday!” to celebrate Sally’s big day.
#5: Photo submitted by Wendy, a Yankee fan who comments here as “mlbmom.” She and her two children, Nathan (five) and Megan Louise (18 months), were decked out in their Yankees gear, feeling sad as the Yankees were getting swept by the Red Sox at Fenway earlier this season. Wendy loves watching games with her kids. She sends along a quote from Proverbs 22:6. “Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” She adds, “True in the Bible. True in Baseball.”
#6: Photo submitted by Cliff, better known to MLBloggers as “Rays Renegade.” Yes, he’s right there in the middle of the 2008 team photo – the only fan ever to accomplish that feat. “I was in the photo because of my involvement with the team in areas outside the games,” he says. “I’m a member of the Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame, helping ‘Maddon’s Maniacs.’ And I’m one of only a half-dozen people to win the $1,000 prize for the ‘Cash Inning,’ during which my selected player (Aubrey Huff in 2003) hit a home run.”
#7: Photo submitted by Jen, a diehard White Sox fan who writes the “Diatribe from a Law Student” blog for MLBlogs. It was taken a couple of weeks ago during a rain delay before the Sox game, which explains why the face of her beloved AJ Pierzynski is on the TV screen. Jen’s studio apartment is a shrine to AJ; he’s the desktop background on her laptop and he’s in the two pictures on top of the TV, and the T-shirt and jersey she’s wearing both say “Pierzynski” on the back.
#8: Photo submitted by Jenn of MLBlogs’ “Phillies Phollowers” fame and taken recently. She is pictured in the “Phillies room” of her house – a den she turned into a special spot to indulge her Philliesmania. Chase Utley is well represented – from the poster on the wall to the game-used Utley helmet and signed Utley bat. And Jenn isn’t the only fan in the house. “Tony, the cat, is wearing his Phillies jacket,” she says, “and Gizmo, the chinchilla, is trying to wear his Phillies hat.”
#9: Photo submitted by Brendan, a Yankee fan from New York now living in California. It was taken on May 1st at the new stadium a few hours before the Yankees beat the Angels, and he was excited to be back in the Bronx. “My dad courted my mom around Yankee Stadium,” he reminisces. “And he spent many a summer in the bleachers with his friends. He was my best friend, my pal. He is no longer with us, but I felt he was with me that night.”
#10 and #11: Photos submitted by Jeff, the Cardinals fan half of MLBlogs’ always-top-rated “Red State Blue State” blog, and Allen, who represents the Tigers’ side of RSBS. They were taken on February 13th when Allen visited Jeff in Chicago. Spring training was just around the corner, and the boys could hardly wait. “Allen and I eat, live, breathe baseball,” says Jeff. “So we are often caught in compromising situations with our gloves. Al sleeps with his. I shower with mine.”
#12: Photo submitted by Karen, a Rays fan from Tampa. It’s a shot of her two sons, Sean (four) and Sam (five) at the Devil Rays spring training camp in 2006, awed by player Chad Orvella. “I love it because it’s the little guys watching the Boys of Summer and dreaming about the big leagues,” she explains. Karen and her father have been bringing Sean and Sam to see the Rays at spring training for the past seven years and says the kids have fun watching baseball – and missing a day of school.
#13: Photo submitted by Dave, a Yankee fan living in the Baltimore/DC area. It was taken last month with Alex, his Yankees-loving son. (His other son, Nick, is a devoted Orioles fan and Yankees hater.) The basement in his house is filled with Yankees memorabilia – from a picture of Mantle, Maris and Yogi and a license plate pic of Dave shaking hands with Whitey Ford at Yankee Fantasy Camp in ’91, to action figures of Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill and Don Mattingly. “I’m still a kid when it comes to this stuff,” he says.
#14: Photo submitted by Elizabeth, a Red Sox diehard who somehow juggles high school with her MLBlog, “The Future Blog of the Red Sox.” On February 28th, she went to see her guys play the Reds at their spring training home in Ft. Myers, FL. Her father snapped this shot of her during batting practice. She was waiting for Julio Lugo, but infielder Gil Velasquez came right over, took the baseball out of her hand and signed it. “It rendered me speechless,” she recalls. “But it was a really cool, memorable moment.”
#15: Photo submitted by Shelley, aka “Diamond Diva” on MLBlogs. She’s a Nationals fan as well as a Yankee fan, and her favorite player has always been the now-retired Mike Mussina. This photo was taken in January at the Mike Mussina Fan Appreciation Dinner in Williamsport, PA. “As a member of his fan club since 1997, I’ve attended eleven of his dinners,” she says. “At this one, he did something that absolutely blew me away. To thank us for our efforts, he presented me and my friend Doris with a couple of his game-issued gloves. I’m the short one in the middle wearing glasses.”
#16: Photo submitted by Ken, an Orioles fan who writes two MLBlogs: “How About Dem O’s, Hun!” and “Jews on First.” Ken was at Camden Yards last year during a game against the Pirates with his son Jordan (11 at the time) and daughter Lyndsay (6). Jordan, known as “Orangebird” on his “Up in Section 360″ blog, had just grabbed a foul ball that had landed under a seat – an extremely rare occurrence in section 360. “Notice not only that we are all smiling,” Ken says, “but also that we’re wearing Orioles shirts and hats from different eras.”
#17: Photo submitted by Catherine, a NJ Yankee fan who often follows the team with her mom, her “baseball road trip partner in crime.” On May 8th, the duo traveled to Camden Yards for Mother’s Day. They saw A-Rod’s first game (and home run) since returning from the DL, as well as the first Major League hit by Cervelli, Catherine’s “double-A-Trenton-Thunder crush.” Her mom took this photo of her with a souvenir. “I’m a huge Yanks fan,” she says, “but I cannot stand A-Rod. At all.”
#18: Photo submitted by Sue, who keeps up with the Phillies on her MLBlog, “Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts.” A talented photographer, she’s usually the one snapping the pictures, but this one was taken last May by Jenn of “Phillies Phollowers” at the Phillies’ “Baseball 101 for Women” event. Ruben Amaro Jr. was about to speak in the Media Room used for press conferences. Before he arrived, Sue stepped up to the podium and struck a pose. “If I could have any job in the world, it would be working for the Phillies,” she says.
#19: Photo submitted by Emma, a devoted Dodgers fan who writes the “Crzblue’s World” on MLBlogs. It was taken last year by her brother in her living room, which is clearly a monument to all things Dodgers. “I’m wearing my Dodger wig and holding my Dodger seat cushion,” she points out. “And note my Dodger Dog Bobblehead, my Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson statues and my Los Dodgers beach towel. What kind of fan am I? Dodgerholic and baseballholic all the way!”