First place arouses everyone from the fans to the bat boys of the team at the top. Its a reminder why being the paramount, the peek at the mountain’s top that everyone is climbing towards and the reason a player became a pro just cause of a love for baseball in the first place. I guess that answers why it is such a unmistakable high.
I hate how first place makes the lows, ruts or the inevitable setbacks life can bring so much harder to absorb because you wonder how you ever could have let go of that awesome feeling that seemed to leave as fast as it come.
I can’t explain it very well but any one with a passion for a sports team knows what I am referring too.
You follow these athletes as if you all are BFF’s since childhood.
Your mood is based on if last night’s game was a win or loss.
You will debate why you’re reasons are the obvious ones like a litigator in a courtroom and really thinking that ‘your way or the highway.’
You actually listen to Mike (miss you Maddog) more intently then the actual news on CNN or that it is for that matter the only news.
You love the competition of sports in general and crave it like an addict.
I truly think of my Yankees and my Giants (nfl) like a part of my family. As crazy as it sounds to some people to be so attached to a team that have no idea who the hell I am is total bullshit. Maybe Posada doesn’t wave to me as he walks out with Andy from the outfield in the minutes before the first inning or that I will never text with Cano, Jeter Mariano or anyone of the players about anything but I can promise anyone or everyone one thing.
‘The team needs the fans just as much as the fans need the team!! First place is more stressful for both parties involved…and as a Yankee‘s fan this season it means more.’
I bet the Yankees had a skip in their step entering our new but unfamiliar stadium tonight against the Rangers. I mean just looking across the street at a place where memories were made that are cemented into sports history, where records were broken, the home in which the Yankees made48 playoff appearances, won 39 Pennnants and captured 26 World Series Titles. I have been to a bunch of games at the new park this season and it is nothing short of awesome. But riding the 4 train and getting off at the 161 Grand Concourse/Yankee Stadium stop has still been very tough. The flags that swayed in from the backside of the House the Ruth Built, the bright lights and life of a place i have spent so much time with looks so dead and lifeless. The old stadium looks, like an old stadium but no place will ever be as comforting and welcoming. And I never realized this until last year….here is a true story:
Last year I going to a Yanks game with my dad which will be my most memorable about the old stadium. My father was born and raised in Queens which by unwritten NYC law qualifies as living in a Mets district. I still do not know if either my dad was older then the Mets or just liked the Yankees, a question that makes no real difference unless I meet someone native of Queens who questions my families loyalties.
Back to my story. We get out of the taxi (dad has not taken subway since December 18th 1981, long story) and wait in line to enter the stadium. As we are walking the familiar path to arrive at the back of the Yankees dugout I stop and look for my dad. He has stopped at a vendor to buy some baseball hats. He does this all the time as he loves baseball hats for himself and to disperse to disperse to relatives, friends etc. I turn and walk to join him and we are picking out colors when all of a sudden I hear someone sobbing behind me. My first thought was what the hell is happening on the field so I turn around to look for one of the little TV’s that are on the sides of all the concession stands.
To my surprise it was a man, an older man around my dad’s age who was crying in line behind us. I thought he was upset at anything else then the response this man said when I asked him are you ok?
This man, with tears literally running down his face looked at my father and I and said ‘This is the beautiful place I have ever been. I have come here from Canada and it is my first time ever seeing a game at the stadium.’
I was shocked but what happened next was even more of a surprise. My father who is a typical guy’s guy, a retired wall street guy who is tough if you don’t know him moved towards this stranger and gave him a hug! And he comforted this newcomer as if he was family while saying ‘I understand and you should be proud of today.’
Astonished by the whole encounter we finally walked to our seats. I asked my dad what compelled him to hug a total stranger when he is the most homophobic, don’t play well with others, kind of man he is did that? And what I mean is my father can chat with anyone and is smart as anyone but this was so NOT normal behavior. He told me that while growing up poor in Queens, working since he was 11 years old (kleenex please I have heard this before) I cut him off and was finishing his sentences and he got annoyed. I finally shut-up and he contiinued on…
‘I saved all my penny tips delivering dry cleaning, groceries etc. just to get a ticket to come to one game with my younger brother. We sat on benches as far away as can be or else if we came with the local fire department as once a season the firefighters would take the neighborhood kids. We never left Woodside area so it was my vacation. This old, worn down stadium was the place were I never felt poor, never made me ashamed and the three or four hours of watching DiMaggio, Rizzuto, Maris play baseball were the best of my childhood. I could ride off that euphoric high for weeks, months until my next trip to this place. Does that answer your question?’.
I was silent and if you know me that is rarified air in every sense. I have since come to understand the history of the Yankees and the pride that these players have because of what it represents.
Other then the high of being in first place any fan loves, for me I want to make the new place were I go to watch my favorite team to honor the old, rundown place just across the street. I think the Yankees know this and want to make it home for their fans.
And thats exactly what this current Yankee team is doing. Playing with their hearts for just the pure love the game of baseball is awe inspiring. Someday the Yankees will not have one active player from the old guard and this is why it means so much more then just first place.
I love where the team is but I am more scared of the blow when we’re not. Whatever Giardi and Co. are doing, keep it up because it’s working and it must feel good, more like great.
These next few weeks the team will be tested but know that the fans will be cheering harder then ever!
Congrads on smoking the Ranger’s tonight! Playing great is the only thing I can say!!!