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:
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Next episode of NYY Logo Girl…Mysterious powers at work.