Earlier today I had a Braves game on in the background while I was cleaning the house. During one of the half inning commercial breaks, a clip was shown in which several fans had been asked how long they have been Braves' fans. I have been a fan since 1988. People are often surprised to learn that I am a Braves fan given that I am from the Northwest and have never even been to Atlanta (well, I did have a layover at the airport on 4/1 of this year, but that doesn't count. What is up with the Atlanta airport not having any Braves paraphernilia?! That's just wrong).
I started following baseball in 1985 in order to impress a boy. In my defense, I was 11. He was a huge baseball fan and collected baseball cards. So, I started to collect them too. In 1985, my favorite team was the Reds because I had the most Reds cards and therefore that was the team with which I was the most familiar. In 1986, I became a Mets fan for the same reason.
I started 1987 as an A's fan. That was a good time to be an A's fan. They had such a good team with Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Carney Lansford, Walt Weiss (later went on to be a Brave-love him!), Dennis Eckersly, etc. And then we got cable and I discovered TBS and the Atlanta Braves. I was still an A's fan, of course, but the Braves were always on so I started to watch them. This was not a good time to be a Braves fan. They really sucked. And of course, I wasn't a Braves fan. I was a baseball fan and they were what was available to watch.
I know that time has probably changed the exact details of how that all changed, but this is how I remember that summer 1988 day now, 21 years later. I was still an A's fan. However, I was watching a Braves' game when my dad came home from work. I asked him who he was taking in the game. He said to bring him up to speed. I told him it was the bottom of the 8th, Houston was up 7-1 (this is where I am a little fuzzy) and they were in Atlanta. He said he was taking Houston. I very clearly remember saying to him "I bet you $1 Atlanta wins." Dad laughed and said he would be out barbecuing and I could bring him his dollar whenever.
About a half hour later, I walked out onto the front porch and said "the Braves just scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 9th. You owe me a dollar," and then turned around and walked back into the house.
I have been a fan ever since.