Like a child on Christmas morning, I seethe with anticipation over seeing new prospects take the field as much as I look forward to “getting together” with my Yankees “friends” of old. Call it a long distance homecoming of sorts.
I know it’s not the real deal, but it’s close enough to satisfy my craving for a glimpse of green turf, even if only one-dimensional.
It has motivated me to get out the old notebook and start planning my strategy for the total “New Year” NYY Logo revamp. Mother Nature has been a harsh coach, dumping several feet of snow upon the sacred space, felling trees and leaving serious pock marks on the face of the Yankees. Major League improvements are in order. More on that later.
In closing, I will leave all the complainers with something to ponder. When standing in a never-ending snow drift while, simultaneously, taking a pummeling by tumultuous boulders of the white stuff, courtesy of a behemoth DOT plow, I found myself buried up to my waist and surrounded by people grumbling about having to shovel mountains of snow the height of Mt. Everest.
Just as I was about to admit defeat, one simple thought occurred to me that would become my winter mantra:
I am shoveling beautiful, white, crystalline water that has fallen from the heavens.”
Do a good deed. Help a little old lady across the street. Hold a door open for a stranger. Tell someone how important they are to you. Sweep someone’s walkway to victory!
A photo appeared in Sunday’s “Philthy Inquirer” that basically sums up why I could never be a Phillies Phan, or any other Philly sports fan. It gave me a phlashback to all the times I’ve had beer thrown at me while attending sporting events and concerts in “The City of Brotherly Love.”
You’ve gotta LOVE the place. Brimming with history, it was our nation’s first capitol. Like any big city, it has it’s downside, but overall, it’s a great place to lose oneself. It’s easy to find your way around the city, and if lost, it’s easy to find someone to point you in the right direction. The people are friendly, the music is world-class and the food is…well, cheesesteaks and hoagies…which brings me to my point.
A few years back, when the Phillies won the World Series, I posted a congratulatory message on the website of the creator of my favorite little widget of all time, appropriately titled “The Cheesesteak of Suffering.” <http://www.jerseydatabase.com/beta/blog.php?p=8> It was a sad little sandwich assigned the daunting task by some poor, disgusted Phillies fan, to count the number of days since Philadelphia had won it’s last championship. Even worse, one could choose from various options of loser’s delight by size and whether condiments were preferred.
In the year of Our Lord 2008 A.D., The Cheesesteak of Suffering exploded, theoretically speaking, when the Phillies finally won the World Series. As a Yankees fan, I could never root for Philadelphia, but I found myself both excited for their fans and relieved that the whining had finally stopped. Philadelphia had earned it’s place inside the Winners’ Circle and peace ruled the Delaware Valley.
I had hoped that would not only squelch the incessant complaining about their team, but remove the giant, collective chip on the shoulders of every Philadelphian. Phinally, the citizens of this phounding colony could shed the weight and that darned inferiority complex, earned by being sandwiched between and consistently overshadowed by (at least in their minds) it’s sibling cities, namely New York and Baltimore.
You see, human nature dictates that when we are insecure in our own skin, we tend to point out our own deepest flaws in others. When we are happy and confident being ourselves, we are happier and more content with others. When that raw nerve is no longer exposed, our need to scream out vanishes. This transfers to sports and everything we do.
So, when the Phillies became World Champions I was truly happy and elated for their fans, many who are my good friends and neighbors. I was thrilled that they finally had the chance to experience the exhilaration, bliss, sheer joy and confidence that comes with being on top. Finally, we had something in common to share and I was glad to ride that wave of cheese wiz with them all the way up Broad St. to the Liberty Bell.
Perhaps, that is why I was so troubled and sad (like that old Cheesesteak widget had been) when I opened the paper and saw this photograph of Phillies Phans mocking one of the best pitchers in baseball today.
A scene out of “Dumb and Dumber”
As I stared at it with my jaw agape, I had to resist the urge to go look in the mirror to check my own teeth, or to wonder if my hair needed a trim or if the big wart on my giant nose needed to go. I thought about Tim Lincecum’s parents and wondered how they must feel seeing their pride and joy in the highlight of his career being bullied by a crowd of cruel, (assumed to be) drunken idiots holding up nasty signs dating back to elementary school recess. Is this any way to treat a guest? Is this how Philadelphians want to be remembered? Seriously?
So, my dear Yankees fans, kindly learn from another’s mistakes or you may find yourselves pictured as below in my next blog!
Who’s the Freak, now? That stupid hat fits in, afterall!
(Disclaimer: My sincere apology goes out to anyone whom I may have offended and to those innocent parties who have been dragged into this debacle against their will. Perhaps, you will reconsider your seating arrangements the next time some rudenick repeatedly shoves a sign into your line of sight.)
Now, go have fun, root for our team and play nice! WE are the champions that everyone looks up to (despite what they may say out of envy). Show everyone how REAL CHAMPIONS treat their guests and each other. Set the bar high and you will be rewarded.
Remember, the eyes of the world are watching you!
d8)%–< I >€27@P
P.S. – HAPPY 28TH BIRTHDAY, ROBINSON CANO!
Like Santa’s elves preparing for Christmas Eve, a small group of artists are hard at work preparing for the next match-up at Yankee Stadium, or as I like to call it, “Church.” They risk getting splatters of Holy Paint on their jeans, sneakers and shirts for the love of the game (and paycheck).
As if channeling the spirit of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel (for just a few hours without craning his neck) they massage the grass with every stroke of paint; gently (or maybe not) caressing each beautiful, green blade with their rollers and paint brushes in red, white, blue and gold – an “A” here, an “L” there. Plans in one hand, artist’s tools in the other, they check and double-check their work, ensuring that each and every blade receives their sacred blessing. The result is a beautiful masterpiece to be seen by millions of baseball fans the world over.
Only the chosen few get to display this MLB symbol of success and endurance. So, whether you’re a NY Yankee, “Pope Jeter,” or a Yankees fan, take a respite from your busy day to savor the moment and to honor the sacrifices made by a few of baseball’s dedicated “soldiers” who help us swell with pride. We hope they’ll be back in New York soon for their next assignment!
Now, please excuse me. Divinely inspired, NYY Logo Girl has a little work of her own to do.
d8)%–< l >€27@p
The sound of rushing water is drowned out by the loud chugging of my lawn mower as I make my way back and forth across the yard. Torrents of cold, muddy Delaware River water rushing past my back door is not going to stop me from taking care of important business. “Besides,” I tell myself, “there’s good mud in the making.”
You know, that mysterious, magical baseball mud? The best stuff in the world? Harvested annually by a secret agent at a heavily guarded top secret location along the now saturated banks of this mighty river, and used by baseball teams around the world, it flows past my house and past the NYY AA affiliate’s home at Waterfront Park on it’s journey to becoming one of the most sought after commodities in baseball. As the mower blades clip across my semi-soggy lawn, I am honored to bear witness to the sacred process.
Lost in my Zen state, I run over something with a loud clank. Once again, I am reminded that there used to be a glorious Yankees logo in that very spot…before the floods came. I pick shredded pieces of metal out from beneath the blades and return the dirty white gravel back to its proper place. I am reminded of the reason I am out there. Our Boys in Blue need my help! Going up against those smelly Red Sox, they need all the power they can muster right now to secure their playoff spot. Hoping to give them a shot in the a…arm, I pluck the weeds from the gravel.
The Birth of a Superhero
You see, way back in the late ’90s, when both the NY Yankees and the NY Mets were contenders hoping to clinch their respective division titles, I joked with my other half (referred to from now on as MOH) that if the Yankees won the World Series I would put an “NY” logo in the front yard. I probably joked around about a lot of other stuff, too.
I’m always clowning around. My favorite prank is the rubber imitation chocolate doughnut, followed by the fake fly in the ice cube, then the ol’ sugar spoon with a hole in it trick. Of course, he never takes much of it seriously, and why should he?
Well, that year, “Those Amazing Mets” lost, but the Yankees won their division and the World Series. We celebrated like it was 1999, I made further threats, and winter arrived and we were buried in snow.
Fast forward to 2000…
It’s early summer. The Yanks are doing their thing. I’m doing mine…in the yard…towel in hand. MOH comes home, asks me what I’m doing. I answer, “Making the logo!”
MOH scratches head, shrugs shoulders and walks away. And that’s how it all started.
By the end of the next day, there was a giant, bright white NY Yankees logo in the front yard for all the world to see. Carefully edged with green turf and composed of white gravel (for permanence), it was a work of art. Not only was it beautiful, but it was conveniently situated within our line of sight from the living room windows so we could see it as we watched baseball games on TV. It was a NYY oasis in what is considered Phillies territory. It was apparent that the fine citizens of the Delaware Valley were were a bit confused. Somebody needed to set them straight. I took that upon myself and NYY Logo Girl was born.
After a while, it became apparent that The NY Logo possessed powers way beyond our wildest imagination. We started to notice that whenever we cut the grass, the Yanks would win. If the grass got too tall, they would start to tank. In Fall, our duties doubled. When we realized our team’s efforts were being thwarted, we frantically tried to sweep up every colorful leaf that might attempt to smother them. This strange coincidence occurred over and over again. Realizing we must have created some kind of powerful vortex, we made certain to take good care of it on a timely basis.
So, back to the mud. In September 2004, April 2005 and June 2006, the beautiful river that creates the infamous baseball glop decided to stop by and stay a bit longer than usual. Water levels rose to historic heights. Everything that could float did. The rest was history.
However, The NY Logo managed to survive. Ironically, it was protected under a layer of…you got it…”Magic Mud.” The same mud that is carefully rubbed on every baseball during every Major League game to scuff up the otherwise slick balls in order to protect the batters from getting hit by them. First harvested and put to the test in 1938 by Manager Lena Blackburne of the Philadelphia Athletics, it was used in 2009 to help lead the Yankees to victory over…you got it…the Phillies.
So, the next time you watch a baseball game, think of poor Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman who suffered a fatal blow from a pitch 80 years ago, coincidentally, thrown by NY Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. His tragedy is the reason why every baseball player across America is protected at the plate today. It gives new meaning to the phrase “playing dirty ball.”
For more background information on “Magic Mud” check out this cool video at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/29/baseballs-magic-mud-an-ml_n_338392.html
and the Lena Blackburne Baseball Mud website:
d8)%–< l >€27@p
Next episode of NYY Logo Girl…Mysterious powers at work.