The Yankees celebrated their 27th World Series last night. While it’s only been 9 years, it seems like an eternity since we were able to stand as champions.
This marked the first year where I had the means (translated: cash) to attend a World Series game. But a combination of travel for work and the desire to actually see what my wife and daughter looked like, I wasn’t able to get to a game.
I quickly ruled out going to the championship parade this morning in favor of spending time with family, which is by all measures the right decision.
But my wife encouraged me to go. My wheels started turning, and I ended up changing my mind. So, tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up at 3am, and board a train to NYC at 5am.
My father brought me to my first sporting event ever when I was a young boy. Obviously, it was a Yankees game. We sat in the second deck, under the overhang. It rained the entire game. The Yankees lost 14-2 to the Kansas City Royals (back when the Royals still played professional baseball). This little boy couldn’t have been happier.
We went to the concession stand to get a souvenir. My father pointed to a pencil with the Yankees logo on it. I pointed at the baseball with signatures of all the current players. We weren’t a wealthy family, and obviously couldn’t afford the baseball. But I kept pointing at it. And my father kept telling me how great the pencil was. I didn’t believe him, but that’s where we ended up. My father motioned the clerk over, “See that pencil there?” he said.
“Well, we want the baseball next to it.” Boy, you’ve never seen a kid’s eyes light up like mine did. Roughly 30 years later, I can remember that day vividly. I only hope I can share a moment like that with Catherine (my 3 1/2 year old daughter) someday soon, who told my wife last night before the game, “Mommy, you need to tell Daddy the Yankees are playing tonight. They’re going to win everything!”
I started rooting for the Yankees in earnest right around the time they started getting good again. It was painful to watch them lose to Seattle in ’95. But then, a core group of young players meshed with a group of veterans, and the Yankees were back in control.
I grew to love baseball in the days of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Posada and Williams. While Bernie’s gone, the rest are still there. I’ll always love the Yankees. But the chances that *this* group wins again are slim. They’re all in the 8th or 9th inning of their careers.
I suspect tomorrow will be a very special day in the Canyon of Heroes. Millions of fans have cheered hundreds of Yankees there. I’ll proudly add my name to that list, and possibly even say goodbye to some of the greatest to play the game. Because some day they’ll be gone. And while I’ll always love the Yankees, I doubt any group will feel more like my Yankees than these.
The only thing that would make the day more special would be to have my wife, who’s grown into an unabashed Yankees fan, along with me to share the day. I love you, Michelle. Thanks for always making my life special.
As an aside, I spoke with my cousin’s husband (cousin-in-law???) this evening to see if he wanted to join me. I was shocked to hear that his friend, best man at his wedding, is in a coma after a heart attack at the age of 27. So, Ron won’t be joining me tomorrow. Here’s hoping he has better things to celebrate by the time the day ends.