One needs to listen to only a few hours of sports radio or peruse through several cyber-stacks of Twitter feeds to realize how much anger, frustration and hate is spewed out into society. Squashed between clever quips are hateful comments laced with ego, avarice and spite. No one knows this better than a Yankees fan.
Despite the geographical divide, the ‘International Spit Fest” makes it’s way onto my feet via the Internet. Simply because I choose to root for my home team, I am accosted in public places by total strangers for wearing my Yankees Championship shirt.
Things would be different if I had my jacket zipped closed and was accompanied by a cute, furry dog. People would fight for a lick on the face and a free handful of ALPO-laced drool. Instead, men who would normally hit on me prefer to hit me. I remind them nicely that my team has won 27 World Series Championships, but that only causes them to seize up with anger.
All the facts and statistics in the world cannot do anything to stem the tide of bashes. Like a seasoned prize fighter, I block their jabs, but refrain from finishing them off with my left hook. Like Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman, I prefer to play a little “rope-a-dope” and leave my opponent responsible for his own undoing. With confidence, I turn away and put my faith in “My Boys in Blue,” who rarely let me down, only to see a rash of pompous below-the-belt punches thrown by my fellow NY fans in defense. I wonder, “Where does it end?”
Ignorance breeds contempt. Jealousy merely breeds more jealously. With the understanding that baseball is an extremely competitive sport that examines every player, every play and every decision under a microscope for a new stat, it’s no wonder so much venom flies.
I can’t help to be reminded of post-9/11, when kinder words graced New York’s doorstep. When strangers from across the country and around the world sent caring words of encouragement to these parts. It was a simpler time when IDs were not requested to move about society, people still wore their shoes to board an airplane, Lady Gaga was an innocent, drooling baby in diapers, and “bird-flipping” was not considered a sport.
It is apparent the support net has dropped out. I pause and wonder what happened. Perhaps, I should look at it in a positive lite – as a sign of the times and a testament to the fact that life does go on and, eventually, returns to a semi-normal state, for what it’s worth.
The Yankees didn’t win the World Series in 2001. In a scenario similar to this season, Andy Pettitte was suffering from an elbow injury and there were questions regarding the roster. Regardless, they had some of the most amazing moments in baseball history, despite uncertain times. My favorite was Jeter’s tumbling catch into the third base seats (which I was lucky to witness in person), followed by the birth of “Mr. November.”
Also, that was the year I was blessed to be in the presence of Yankees legend Yogi Berra one dismal, rainy September night while working at a fundraiser in northern New Jersey. Sadly, I had been called to fill a gap – more like a gaping wound – as a last-minute replacement for staff members who had just lost their lives on 9/11 while working at Windows on the World. I felt very uncomfortable playing second string and hoped the night would go by quickly.
Time dragged on. I found myself pretending to be happy to be there. I couldn’t let anyone in on my true state of mind. My job was to cheer up the guests, to allow them to live in a fantasy world for several hours before having to return to a grim reality.
Finally, the event came to a close. I was about to pack it in for the night when I looked across the room and noticed a celebrity impersonator, a common sight at special events. With bleary eyes, I gazed through the thinning crowd at this short, old guy in sheer amazement as to how good he was. He had to be a seasoned pro because he really had his character nailed. I found myself staring at him. Suddenly, he turned around to face me. He was no actor. For Pete’s sake, it was the legend himself, the King of Quips, the Master of all Yogi-isms, Mr. Yogi Berra!
Rubbing my eyes, I approached him in utter disbelief. I spoke to him and he actually spoke back. I sat down at his table as one of my co-workers jammed a cell phone in his face for a
quick “Hello” to his son. Then, he signed a baseball for me. We talked for what seemed like an eternity, in slo-mo fantasy dream time. He was so cool.
Had I died and gone to Heaven?? With just a few words and the stroke of a pen, all the world’s problems magically vanished, even if only for a few minutes. It made my night, my week, month, year, and now, my blog. A simple act of selflessness humanity was all it took. I can only imagine how many other people who met the legendary Yankees catcher felt the same after that night.
So, here’s your first assignment…
The Beatles were dead-on when they performed “All You Need is Love” at that other NY team’s Shea Stadium. Those simple four letters L-O-V-E are very powerful when put together. They have the ability to overcome all negativity.
So, Yankees fans, with that in mind, I dare you to be different. Let’s all try a little experiment to keep our beloved Yankees on track. Be Seinfield’s George Costanza and do the opposite! That’s right. Instead of focusing on the negative, like how disgusted you are with Joe Gerardi’s end-of-season roster decisions, or a certain pitcher’s rotten ERA, let it go. Get a fresh start and a new perspective of the game, and of life, and focus on the positive.
Instead of engaging in endless banter about how much better the Yanks are than everyone else (we already know that’s a fact), from now on, try to concentrate on the positive by sending out good vibes, not only to Gerardi, who obviously isn’t trying to lose (Geeze, he’s been wearing #28 all season!), but to all of our cherished and maybe not so cherished members of the pinstriped NY clan who have hit the emerald green nearly every day since early Spring to bring us, their LOYAL fans, another Championship.
Think about your favorite Yankees player and send positive energy his way. Meditate over your least favorite player who may have screwed up royally and try to feel his pain. He is the one who needs our support the most. Imagine him pitching that perfect game of every pitcher’s dreams, making the perfect catch or clobbering the ball over the stadium facade. (Think Aaron Boone moment.) Try it just once. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and envision that perfect moment in time – your ultimate fantasy baseball. Take it in, Play it over and over again in your head like you would your favorite baseball movie. Savor it like the perfect dessert. Hear “Theeee Yankees Win!” Don’t you feel better now?
Remember that vision and hold it close to your heart. Feel your heart beat as it pumps your Yankee Blue blood through every fiber of your being. That is where you’ll hold the World Series Trophy. Use your Jedi mind powers to send that beautiful, shiny trophy to your team, OUR team, both present and past. Deliver it to the ghosts of Yankee Stadium as their wake-up call. Tell them, “It’s time!” Time for #28. Be your own magician. You are a powerful being. Experience the MAGIC of baseball!
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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.
Now, more than ever, the world needs a superhero. Someone to lift up the tired, huddled masses when they are down, to stamp out evil, to assure them that everything’s going to be alright; someone to restore balance to the universe and keep the world spinning on its axis in the right direction; someone to restore faith to the fans, the players, the game; to remind each and every individual of the MAGIC of baseball.
Sounds like a job for NYY Logo Girl!
As American as apple pie, united we stand, united we root for our home team. Together, we experience that magical feeling we know as baseball. We celebrate victory and spit at defeat. In early Spring, we chomp at the bit for a glimpse of that emerald green turf. In summer, we chomp massive amounts of bubble gum in order to trade players’ cards, with hopes of acquiring the next Yankees legend.
Come September, we chew our knuckles to the bones in suspense and wonder if we’ll ever witness another “Mr. November.” Winter months bring dreams of fantasy camp as we don our flannel Yankees PJs, Yankee Blue fuzzy slippers and tuck ourselves in beneath our cozy Yankees blankets, cuddled together with our favorite Yankees fan. 😉
We are one big family. We span the globe. We span the universe. We transfer our Passion for baseball to everything we do, and we spread our love for the game to everyone we meet. No matter where we go, we are united by one single thread that connects us together – the knowledge that WE ARE YANKEES FANS!
More to come…
Please stay tuned for the next episode when NYY Logo Girl reveals more about her mission!
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