Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Within Reach

I wanted to write this earlier this evening but time and circumstances prevented me from doing so. Therefore I'm writing as Game 6 of the 2009 World Series enters the bottom of the fifth inning.

Tonight is about the love of a game, a team, and a way of life that dates back 37 years. It goes back to that initial game, when I was just three and saw this place called "Yankee Stadium" for the first time. I became mesmerized by the whole thing - the pinstripes, the colors, the grandeur.


And so it goes - through mediocre teams of the early 70's, to the Chris Chambliss home run in '76, to Reggie and Guidry and Thurman and two straight titles. Yes, it seemed like it would happen every year. It didn't, of course. Munson would tragically die in '79 and with him seemed to go a lot of heart. Sure, there was an AL East title in 1980 but that joy was short-lived (damn you, Brett), and 1981 ended with no title after being up two games to none on the Dodgers in the Classic. Bobby Murcer's championship would not come to be.

The 80's were rough after that. Some good times of course, with Rags' no-hitter, Donnie Baseball and such. Yet it tested the mettle of the fans, but I never wavered.


The early 90's were worse, before Buck Showalter and Stick Michael returned the pride. Nirvana returned in the form of championships in 1996, 98, 99, and 2000 (the least enjoyable one of them all). Since then, there's been some heartbreak and a lot of disappointment.

My basic priority in life? 1) Loved ones 2) Yankees 3) Steelers. It's that simple.

Now the reality is that I love the game more than the team but so long as the Yankees are still here, they continue to be a huge part of my life. I can't say I truly live and die with them, but the fire is still there. Of course there are other things to focus on - real life stuff - so that sometimes takes me away from the day-to-day passion. Still it's always there.

So tonight, as this team, this amazing franchise whose history is embedded in my brain better than anything teachers tried to force on me in school (or college), turns the corner on their 27th world championship, I sit here - on my bed, trying to take it all in.

I don't care what anybody says - not knowing who Bobby Richardson is doesn't make you a bad fan. Do you think my son knows things like that? Not yet, but he's seven. Being a fan is about being loyal - end of story, and I'll take the die-hard Yankees fans over anyone in New York, despite my respect for Rangers' fans - truly the best in New York. I'll put the Bombers second, with the Giants third.

I'm tired of the crap being talked. That's all I'm going to say about that.

The Phillies are trying to climb back into it - 7-3 in the sixth now, and Andy Pettitte's night is done. Sean is here with me, currently sound asleep but I will wake him up in the ninth if it looks like they might win. I want him to see it, and I want us - for all that we've been through - to experience it together. Baseball has always been so much about fathers and sons to me (with no disrespect intended to the ladies - I'd be happy to share this with a daughter, a girlfriend, or anyone else). I thought of my dad on that night back in '96, so having Sean here is all I can ask for.

Let's get this thing done.

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