Sports Fever is a Genetic Condition

Shadra Bruce, owner of MomsGetReal gets inside the mind of an avid baseball fan to understand the genetics of sport fever.

Camping in Cooperstown in the mud

Ed Hauryski watches a lot of baseball. He makes annual trips to the training camps in Florida and lives for the Baseball Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, New York, where he collects a handful of new autographs every year. As a manager of a post office near his home town of Bath, New York, Hauryski is no stranger to the idea of getting the job done through any kind of weather. He’s applied that same dedication to his love of baseball, standing in the rain for hours to get an autograph from a favorite Washington Expos player. Last year he even braved camping in the mud and muck at Cooperstown regardless of the weather conditions in order to be there for the hall of fame inductions, an annual event for him.

In the Hauryski household, it could almost be considered a sin to not love baseball. When you walk into the home, the big screen TV takes up half the wall, and the remainder of the space is dedicated to a collection of baseball memorabilia worthy of its own hall of fame. Shadra Bruce spent some time chatting with Ed about how he and his children ended up being such an avid sports fan (Ed also loves football and hockey, rooting for the Jets and the Rangers).

Ed with Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson

Shadra Bruce: How long have you loved baseball?

Ed Hauryski: I have loved baseball since 1969 (age 8). The neighbor kids were playing wiffleball and they let me play. We played games in backyards and each back yard had a stadium name. My backyard was Yankee Stadium. Each team pretended to be a major league team and we had our lineups just like the big leagues. We played from morning to night; I even had a back porch light that lit up the home plate area so that we could play night games.

Bruce: When did your love for baseball become an obsession?

Hauryski: In 1971 I started playing organized baseball and collecting baseball cards. I started to learn the history of the game from books in our local library.

Ed with Hall of Famer Doug Harvey

Watching the Yankees on WPIX TV soon followed. In the late 70s I started subscribing to the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. My favorite columnists were Dick Young and Joe Falls. I couldn’t wait to read their columns each week!

 

Bruce: Who is your favorite baseball team?

Hauryski: From 1969 to 1976 I was a New York Yankees fan. When George Steinbrenner started to buy All-Star players who were free agents, I dropped the Yanks and became an Expos fan. The Expos played in Montreal, which seemed like such a European city in North America that I just had to be different and follow them. I also liked the way they built their teams. When the Expos left Montreal for

Ed with former San Francisco Giants infielder Tito Fuentes

Washington DC, I decided to move with them and now follow the Washington Nationals.

Bruce: How old was your son when you took him to his first game?

Hauryski: Matt was 6 years old when he went to his first major league baseball game. That game was played in Montreal and the whole family went. We took a picture of the kids with the Expos mascot Youppie. Matt was really scared of him and cried his eyes out during the picture.

Bruce: How long have you been making an annual pilgrimage to Cooperstown?

Hauryski: I have been going to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame inductions since 1983. I have only missed one year and that was 1988. I got married that fall and needed every cent I had to pay for the honeymoon in the Poconos. We have been going on

Matt getting an autograph from Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins at Cooperstown

family trips to Cooperstown since 1993. We stayed in a “Fred Flintstone” trailer in Cherry Valley. That was also the first time

camping for me. It was a dump of a campground, but we made lots of family memories.

Bruce: What is it about baseball that you love so much?

Hauryski: I love the history of the sport of baseball. The other major sports – football, basketball, and hockey – just cannot compare to baseball’s long history. I love reading about and comparing players from different eras of baseball. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson – how would they fare in today’s game? The history of the sport is why I love Cooperstown so much. The first time I went to Cooperstown was in 1972. I can still remember being so excited to see artifacts from the early days of baseball.

Matt with Tito after getting some advice

Bruce: How often do you watch the games and what makes it so important to share that love with your son?

Hauryski: We go to at least five games a year, but we watch around 100 games each season on TV and the Internet.The time I spend with Matt playing and watching baseball builds lifelong memories for him and me. He will never forget all of the wiffleball games in the backyard. He won’t forget all of the spring training

sites in Florida that we have visited. All of the major and minor league games we have been to have been great bonding times. I want my boys to have those great memories that they can pass down to their kids some day.

Bruce: What would you do if one of your kids liked the “wrong” team?

Hauryski: Matt likes the New York Mets and Alex likes the Atlanta Braves. Not only are they the wrong teams, but they are big rivals with the Washington Nationals. I like that my boys have different favorite teams. They are being themselves and thinking for themselves and it makes our baseball conversations a lot more interesting.

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