Growing up in Southern Ohio, I was squarely in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds fanbase. I don't know if it was my rebellious tendencies (I prefer to call it rampant, fully-developed individualism), but I decided that I was not going to share rooting interests with my family. Since I was born in 1987, the Rockies and Marlins were created just as I was becoming aware of baseball. As a result, I rooted for both of these new teams above anyone else.
For a few years, I passively followed both teams in the box scores (yes, as a 6-7 year old kid). I pulled for the Rockies more because they always had more players towards the top of the statistics categories. I had a Rockies shirt and shorts, but I did not yet bleed purple (it was still red at that point, which I suppose is more a result of biology than being in a Reds area). Then on August 14, 1995, we took a family trip to Cincinnati to see the Rockies play the Reds.
Our seats were in the LF upper deck, 2nd row back. Everyone in the area was decked out from head to toe in Reds gear. But not me. I used myself as a Rockies billboard, a proud picture of purple-painted proclamation. Despite the bemused/annoyed looks of nearby Reds fans, I did not waver in my vocal support of Colorado. And all of my fan/age-related idiocy paid off.
I don't remember what inning it was in, but as the Rockies outfielders were tossing the warm-up ball between innings, I kept trying to get Dante Bichette's attention. When he was done soft-tossing with Ellis Burks, he would usually flip the ball into the LF bleachers. I wanted a ball. Later in the game, he turned his eyes toward the upper deck and pointed at me! It had to be me as I was the only Rockies fan in the vicinity. He threw the ball upwards, sailing over the railing, and.....right into the glove of the drunk, middle-aged Reds fan in the seat right in front of me. As he high-fived his friends and I sulked, at THAT moment, I became a Rockies fan (and decidedly Anti-Reds. I've loved the last few seasons). Dante Bichette tried to make my baseball experience memorable, and he absolutely did. Though I don't have the ball as a keepsake, I have the tickets, the box score (Reds 4-0 win...grrrr), and the memory of having a Rockies outfielder acknowledge me and try and give me a souvenir.
How about the rest of you? At what moment did you KNOW that you were a Rockies fan?