Yesterday I ran into a blog here on WordPress, Five Reasons I Love the Yankees. Naturally, it got me thinking, and, being an inveterate list-maker, I had to do my own. Here goes.
1. Commitment to Excellence
There is nothing more inspiring than to witness a person or, in this case, an entire team, that will not settle for average, or even just good, but consistenly aspires for the top. While I’ve always thought it’s a shame the guys have to feel like failures any time they don’t win the World Series – a trip Georgie S. laid on them – it does encourage fantastic baseball. They are a pleasure and a joy to behold.
Even with GS hammering away at them, they’ve always managed to keep their hearts, to treat one another with love and respect, to be there for each other, and to give off a certain emotional vibe that can’t be missed. The bottom-line love and loyalty they feel for one another was evident when, for instance, A-Rod was nailed for taking steroids. His press conference was about as lame-ass as you can get – yet sitting loyally in the audience were Rivera, Jeter, and Posada, the latter looking openly disgusted. And yet, later on, Posada told a reporter, “Alex is my teammate and Alex is going to be my friend forever.”
As we all know, the Yankees are drenched in baseball history and significance. They’re also a part of mine: I grew up taking it for granted that everyone around me was a Yankee fan; that’s just the way the world was arranged. My father took me and my sibs to several games, but, sadly, I barely remember them. Mostly I remember listening to games on my transistor radio.
Those three guys who’ve been together for 16 seasons – Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada – are, together and individually, genuinely good people who not only play excellent baseball, but have integrity. If I ever learned that one of them was on ‘roids I’d probably have to hang myself; thank the baseball gods I don’t think this is likely to occur.
Each of them is involved in charitable work. Rivera spends much of the off-season in his native Panama, where he helped open two after-school programs to give young people access to computers, and helped finance construction of a new elementary school. When Posada’s son was born with craniosynostosis, he founded an organization to raise funds for research. And Derek Jeter, at the tender age of 22, started his own group for kids (“Jeter Leaders”). All three give generously of their time, their money, and themselves to all kinds of charitable organizations.
I don’t get to be on the winning side of life all that often. Rare is the politician I consider radical enough to wholeheartedly support, so my favored candidates usually lose elections. I’m alienated by mainstream values/behavior/assumptons. I’ve never won a contest. As a writer I’ve lived with constant insult: for every acceptance of my work there’ve been at least ten rejections. I’m not complaining, just pointing out that by being a Yankee fan I finally get to win — a lot. I see what my son goes through as a Mets fan, and I want no part of that. Even if they weren’t in my blood, I would have chosen the New York Yankees as my team. Say what you will about their money and their corrupt Republican owner, I don’t give a damn. I’m sticking with the winners – and I’ve got a right: after all, I was
BORN IN DA BRONX!