Overseas Fan - how it all started

Did you ever wonder about all those Red Sox fans that are not living in the USA?

For the record, we are not talking about a US military person stationed overseas, we are talking about honest to goodness foreign nationals, living abroad and loving the Red Sox.

You hear about them. Maybe you have heard a foreign language behind you at Fenway or maybe you know someone who knows someone who knows one, but they are hard to find in the wild. What could possess someone outside of the US even to get interested in the national pastime? Over there they watch something that they call football but is really just soccer, right? To help you understand how this can happen, I bring you a series on the 'Overseas Fan', trying to shed some light on this elusive animal.

I am one of these creatures. I am located in Europe, have loved baseball my whole life, played for something like 17 years, and I am here to take you on a tour of my experiences.

First off let me say it is not easy to be a fan over here. Nobody understands the sport, ESPN is not available over here, and there is not a single news outlet that covers the sport in any fashion (except who won the World Series, a day too late in a back page article). There is one cable channel available for the last few years called ESPN America, but that is polluted with ice hockey, lacrosse, college basketball, and skips most games I want to see. They are also on the cable channel bundle that costs the most, so much in fact that it is priced out of sensibility.
MLB.TV is how I watch most games.

We now have mlb.tv, pretty much my favorite thing ever on the Internet. I have been a full on subscriber since day one and I watch often online or through mobile devices when traveling.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

How it all started for me is that I started playing little league, grew up through the various leagues, and became a full on baseball addict by the time I was in my teens. Back then, we couldd only get the World Series on a Spanish channel (I don't live in Spain and there were Spanish announcers that we could not understand) at my coaches house. We would all get up in the middle of the night as we are six hours ahead of the East Coast and nine ahead of the West Coast. We biked over to our coaches house, ate hot dogs and watched the Spanish version of the World Series from 3 AM to 7AM.

What can I say, we loved baseball.

I followed players more than teams, but if I had to pick a team it was for me the Seattle Mariners. This was due to me being a pitcher and I followed Randy Johnson no matter where he played. Yes, it was rough when he signed with the Yankees, but I stuck it out.

Over the years I graduated university and started working. My work travel took me to a few ballparks. I had been to the Mariners several times, both old and new stadiums. I have been to the old Yankee stadium. I love ballparks with history and both the Cubs and Red Sox were the only stadiums remaining on my must see list. I will visit any ballpark I can get to, don't get me wrong, it is just there are very few with the allure of Fenway, Wrigley, or the old Yankee Stadium.

So how did I get to be a Red Sox fan?

Watch for the next installment of the Overseas Fan, where I will bring you along with me as I lost my heart to the Boston Red Sox.

Post a comment or hit me up on twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

More by Eric D. Schabell