Constraints of journalistic objectivity aside, my fandom got its wings clipped by the numerous hours I spent observing and interacting with players. These interactions exposed me to the fact that, even though I’d spent countless hours of my life thinking about these people, I’d very rarely bothered to consider them outside the context of what they did on the field.
For the most part, they were just dudes. They did a lot of standing around, stretching, and playing with their iPads. Most were polite, a couple were dicks, and almost all were about as excited as you’d be to answer a daily barrage of questions about the minute details of how work went today. Noticing how regular the idols of my youth were shattered one of the central foundations of fandom: that the athletes whose names we shout at the ballpark and put on the backs of our replica shirts are not like us.