Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 6:55 PM
"If wishes were horses then beggars would ride." English Proverb.
There are many things in this world I wish I could change. Some much more important and philanthropic than others. I wish there was an end to hunger. I wish there weren't any wars. I wish that all diseases have been eradicated from our planet, especially as I sit here with a stuffy nose and a sore throat.
Then there are the common wishes of everyone I know. I wish I was beautiful. I wish I was thin. I wish I was taller. I wish I had more money. Surprisingly enough, everyone wishes for more money. Even those who seem to have enough for 30 lifetimes, need more. I wonder what they plan to do with all that money? Albert Pujols will need to live to 1000 to use up all the money he is making playing baseball. Do you really want to live to 1000? Not I. Imagine the horror of time and time again watching all your friends and family die. But maybe if he could live to 1000, he could have everyone around him live to 1000 too. He could have a 950 year old son. He could also have a 5-year-old son. **SHUDDER**
I often hear people say "I wish I was...." and insert a name. I wish I was president. I wish I was Peyton Manning. I wish I was Bruce Springsteen. I wish I was a supermodel. Mostly people are looking at the fame and fortune that goes along with that person's position in society. The prestige, the power, the popularity are all an enticing aphrodisiac ready to be claimed without the years of patience, persistence and practice needed to accomplish such achievement. (And yes, I did watch Mr. Popper's Penguins recently if you were wondering.)
Yet despite all this, today I decided that I wished I was AJ Burnett. Yes, that AJ Burnett. The dismal #2 starting pitcher for the Yankees. He has a record of 34-35 vs. the Yankees with a 4.79 ERA. Wow, those are really dismal stats. The guy who melts down when pressure is applied. Like that time in chemistry class where the teacher makes a beaker of water boil at room temperature by changing the pressure. He just totally decomposes.
Frankly, I have to believe that there are many times that even AJ Burnett doesn't want to be AJ Burnett. Yet today, on AJ's 35th Birthday, I want to be him. I envy AJ being AJ.
In honor of AJ's birthday, I see many people commenting on twitter, and even Facebook, on their hopes and aspirations for AJ this season. Over and over again, I am reading the same words, "I have faith in you AJ".
You have faith in AJ? Seriously people. You trust this guy? I worry about him hurting others pie-ing them during walk off celebrations, never mind getting out of a self-made bases loaded jam. I have absolutely no faith at all in him in those situations. I have more faith that the Easter Bunny is gonna sneak into my house and leave Lindt chocolate under my Christmas Tree while Santa Claus leaves a Lexus with the huge bow on the roof in the driveway next to the pile of money the tooth fairy brought me.
Honestly, I'm not AJ's mother! (Although in a sick sense I am kinda old enough to be his mother if I gave birth to him in 7th grade like some of the students I see are doing. ) I don't have that unwavering faith, that unconditional love and belief that everything you do is wonderful and destined for greatness that only a mother can see. You remember the fuss she made when you came from kindergarten with your hand print in clay, with a ribbon tied around the top as a Mother's Day gift. You would think you had just scaled Kilimanjaro while simultaneously solving world hunger and curing cancer and with your spare time on the summit, you negotiated permanent peace in the Middle East. I do that with my kids now too. We want our kids to feel important, to feel loved, to feel validated. We want them to know they can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone they want. And what a beautiful concept.
Except, it isn't really true.
Everyone can't be president. You need connections to even start your political career. Those who put their names on the ballot trying to make things better without being sponsored by the "correct" people soon find themselves in the single digit of vote tallies.
Everyone can't be a supermodel. You really need the right genetics to be stunningly beautiful, amazingly tall and the ability to not eat. Something every American will tell you is very difficult to do. Height alone is based on a minimum of 3 alleles, you would need them all set to tall to topple 5'10".
Everyone can't be a starting pitcher for the NYY. Many have tried, few have made it. Its more than just skills. It's the ability to deal with us, the fans, and the press, and the realities of NY. Yet fans keep repeating some mantra of "I believe in AJ". I don't have that unwavering faith in AJ, that unconditional love and belief that everything he does is wonderful and destined for greatness. I cringe every time he climbs the mound. I pray he doesn't pitch any games I have tickets to. I am not his mother! I don't have to have unconditional belief in him. I can demand proof he is good, just like a voters picking a candidate for president. And you know what, AJ hasn't given me any reason to have faith in a long time.
Yet miraculously enough, AJ still has his legions of fans who truly believe in him. And it makes me wonder, how has he pulled this off? I don't have this kind of faith in myself, nevermind others. My oldest daughter reminded me 5 times last night to wash her blue and white striped sweater for school today. Ye of little faith, my Faith. (My oldest daughter's name is Faith, yes that does get confusing sometimes, especially at church). Faith had little faith that I would get her the special sweater on time, yet I've never missed a clothing deadline! My youngest, Chloe, is constantly adding basic supplies like chocolate milk, dancing chicken nuggets and whipped cream to the shopping list. I buy these things every week, yet Chloe doesn't have faith that I will buy them again. I guess she lives in fear of a house without whipped cream. Horrors.
I pick up my husband's shirts from the dry cleaners every week, I pay the mortgage, I take the kids to dentist appointments, I do the laundry, I do all the banking. I am a model of consistency. My house is a totally hoarders free environment. Yet I am asked, reminded or questioned. "Mom, did you buy...", "Did you get my shirts from the cleaner?" "Do we have markers for my science project?". At work, I see numerous students each week at their homes. I travel throughout the city, prepare meaningful lessons and teach one on one. Yet I am still asked "Did you submit your time sheets?" I want to sarcastically reply, "No, I decided to work for free from now on." Who actually forgets to submit their time sheets? There is such an undeserving lack of faith of me.
AJ Burnett is not a model of consistency, yet we all "believe in AJ". I'm thinking, am I drinking the wrong water that I don't feel this faith? And how did he earn this faith, while I, Mrs. model of consistency, have gotten none?
I wonder what it is like to have others have such faith in you? To have the undying devotion of people you have never met, who swear their allegiance to you and your performance, without a scrap of evidence that you will actually follow through! Maybe AJ has missed his true calling. Pitching doesn't seem to be a realistic career goal right now, but faith healer or religious savior might work out. I could see AJ as a charismatic preacher leading a mega church of believers who all send him 15% of their salary or government checks. He could be richer than Pujols. AJ could be a cult leader. He already seems to have his believing disciples.
I only wish people had that kind of faith in me. That kind of over the top unwavering faith, that unconditional love and belief that everything I do is wonderful and destined for greatness. How glorious that would be. For just one day, to live where there is so much belief in my ability to do anything I dream of.
I wonder if I would enjoy this glorious ride or absolutely hate the undeserving love and affection. I just wish I had the chance to find out.
But I live in the real world. I just want to ride to #28.
Sunday, July 24, 2011, 8:58 PM
My youngest daughter made her first communion this spring. She looked like an angel, dressed up in a pooffy
white dress which she could wear as her bridal gown, if 8 year olds actually got married. She had the veil and the gloves, the obligatory cross necklace and white high heeled shoes. She wore her first high heels. By the end of the day, she hated them, but I just told her it was part of being a girl. We are uncomfortable. Get used to it.
The party afterwards, at my house was full of family and friends. Some of these friends we have known for over 30 years. We have shared many good times, and bad times with the happiness and sorrow melding together to form the bond that unites us. We have grown old together. And when old friends get together, as usual, we began talking about the present, our futures and our combined past. The good times we had, and the things we wish we could have changed. One of our richest memories of the past included a fanatical Yankee Fan named Mike.
Mike is a character. He is one of those people with a heart of gold who wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone, but lacking in the ability to socially successfully carry out his intentions. He is loud and from my observations, doesn’t usually think before he speaks. He has an addictive personality, which he has conquered in many ways to the joy and relief of his family and friends. But this addictive personality now shines through when he hooks onto an idea that he feels is meaningful and he is unable to let it go. No matter what happens, whether it was about his church being remodeled, the plight of the homeless, or his local support group, Mike puts all his energy into the topic forefront in his head abandoning all other ideas until justice has been served. And in 1995 the topic du jour was the NY Yankees pitching rotation.
The NYY pitching rotation is always a topic of conversation. Whether its 2009 with Joba’s inning limits, 2010 and who is the 5th starter and why is Javy Vasquez on the team, or 2011’s do the NYY have a true consistent starter beyond
CC. The pitching rotation is the centerpiece of any team and responsible for leading the defense against all competitors. In 1995, Mike became enamored with a new call up who was starting in the NYY rotation. Now, my opinion of prospects varies greatly from most other fans. I see prospects as poker chips to be played or cashed in.
My favorite saying about prospects is “Don’t name the cattle”. As a cattle rancher, you wouldn’t give a name to every animal in your herd. Besides time consuming, well, you know what will happen to the cattle.
At every chance, at every night out, we heard about this young pitcher from Mike. I remember waiting for the movie Apollo 13 to start while Mike droned on about this new prospect and how great and exciting he was. And how this guy he had such a long career ahead of him. How this prospect was the best thing since Star Wars, sliced bread and running water combined. This obsession was much more than a one way bromance, it was truly over the top, a stalker type obsession.
And this was an obsession that he shared with everyone. Mike wasn’t content to share his bromance with only our group of friends. Oh No, Mike was a regular caller into talk radio. Often while out, I would hear Mike call into the Mike and the Mad Dog show. “Mike from XXXX you’re on the air”. Those words began to fill me with terror. I truly felt bad for the guy, knowing we were all about to be showered with more bromance love. Mike and the Mad Dog even discussed on air what could make a fan be so enamored with this pitcher for it to borderline on
obsession. For what was so humorous to all of us, except Mike, was that this guy really wasn’t that great a starter. He wasn’t very good at all. He had a 5.94 ERA, not very good, but much better than anything I could ever throw. But for some reason, Mike had fallen in love with this pitcher and wouldn’t let him go. Just as fans fall in love with a player, and become blind to their faults, Mike was blinded to this prospect’s faults as a pitcher. To Mike, this guy was Cy Young.
This led to playful bantering as only friends could do where Mike would defend this player to death until going totally off on us. Of course, this eventually led to this topic was all but banned from our group. Whenever the conversation started, one of us would quickly change the subject to something less stressful like war, famine, poverty, taxes, politics or basically anything else. Even the mere mention of the NYY filled the group with fear. Gossip was even more favorable than another tirade and ruined evening. Who wanted to hear his fantasy land about the fabulous
pitcher all the time? Who really cared?
Eventually, the NYY had enough of the situation too. The guy bounced around between the majors and AAA, and eventually he was placed in the bullpen. If we thought Mike was over the top with this bromance before, we had no idea that what was to come would make Fatal Attraction look sane.
Mike went on a personal rampage to get this guy his starting pitcher job back. Now, we may all vent on Facebook or Twitter, but I do not see any of us actively trying to change the NY Yankee roster. But you haven’t met Mike. Mike complained to everyone who would listen, he was well off the deep end. He started his campaign with incessant calls to talk radio, trying to rally fans to protest this injustice. He argued so vehemently with Mike Francesa that Mad Dog was mocking him afterwards for the rest of the show. Eventually, Mike was blocked from calling their show. I know, hard to believe anyone gets blocked from that show. So then, Mike began phoning people in the NY Yankee organization to make his point. I know how much I love when people not involved in my job, call me at work to tell me how to do my job, especially over the top hysterical people. So I can just imagine how great these attempts to contact the NYY front office went over. He tried desperately to reach George Steinbrenner himself to explain the error of the NY Yankees ways. Mike tried to find out his private phone number, address and even George’s schedule. Mike planned to casually bump into George at some affair in the city and explain to him that the NYY didn’t know
what they were doing and had no pitching management skills. (Part of me wanted to be there for that conversation,
the other part of me wanted to hide in fear.) When meeting George didn’t work out, Mike tried to talk to every executive he could think of. When our group visited to the old Yankee Stadium, Mike would disappear while he tried to get into the executive offices to plead his case. Everyone from the parking attendants to the concession stand employees to security guards to the police stationed in the stadium knew Mike’s position. They all nicely sympathized with him, while politely telling him to move on. Our group, for the most part, pretended we had no idea who he was while quietly ensuring we had enough money amongst ourselves to bail him out of jail. I was expecting to see his picture posted by the entrance gates with Do Not Admit printed underneath.
The man was obsessed. He knew this young pitcher had so much potential. How could he see this man’s worth and no one else? If only the Yankees could see it.
Eventually, and thankfully, a new girlfriend put this quandary to bed, before Mike got himself arrested as a stalker. It was a funny moment from out past that we all chuckled over as we consumed Lasagna and brownies in honor of Chloe’s first communion. Mike has since moved on, and is today still a productive member of society who has overcome many obstacle to be a respected community leader.
And when all was said and done, ironically, Mike was right. This young pitcher did have great talent. Great drive! Great stuff! But not starting pitching stuff. Closing pitching stuff. Yes, this poor pitcher that Mike spent that
summer obsessing over was the one and only Mariano Riviera.
Mo just earned his 25th save this season. This was his 15th season with at least 25 saves. A feat that I do not
think will ever be matched. And shortly, he will notch his 600th save, all as a Yankee. He has had a most remarkable career, a Hall of Fame career. He has lived an unimaginable existence. He is the greatest closer of all time. He did have the right stuff.
Imagine if Mike had actually met George Steinbrenner, and
changed his mind and Mo’s past.
Saturday, July 2, 2011, 2:56 PM
July 4th weekend has always signaled the official start of Real summer fun for me. Schools let out in late June in the NY/NJ area, so July 4th weekend is always the start of fun in the sun. We celebrate the birth of our nation
with all things Americana: a family BBQ, a day by the pool, fireworks at the high school football stadium, and NYY
For July 4th weekend the NYY, along with all the other teams in MLB will wear patriotic caps. The cap is a marvel of red, white or blue with stars and stripes. What makes it a marvel is year after year, it just looks wrong.
It’s not that it is that ugly, although it just isn’t eye pleasing and I hear some of the players grumble about it.
It just doesn’t resemble the team colors and style I am accustomed to. I often think a blue NYY cap is pretty patriotic.
And, if a change is really necessary for increasing merchandising, then add some stars and stripes to the sides.
I’m always amazed when people buy these caps. I would think they have limited appeal. But then again, I don’t understand why people leave that label tape stuck to the bill either.
These caps appear year after year on Memorial Day, are brought back out on July 4th weekend, then they are
resurrected on Labor Day. All are holidays where people celebrate by joining family and friends for BBQs and pool parties, long weekends at the beach and fun in the sun. These are patriotic holidays that our society has turned into joyful, social events even though the history of Memorial Day would seem to preclude that. But when those hats are used on September 11th, they make me feel sick. September 11th isn’t about fun in the sun. September 11th isn’t
about beach vacations. September 11th isn’t about BBQs. I’ve never seen a Kohl’s 9/11 sale, or a Bob’s Furniture 9/11
deep discount. September 11th is like Pearl Harbor Day, there are not parties, luaus or streamers. There is
a somber dignity around 9/11 that other holidays lack. September 11th is a day of sadness and mourning. It is a day of remembrance. A day those of us who lived through just wish we could forget.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I had taken off work to take Faith, my then 1 year old to her pediatrician for her checkup. We were moved from the waiting room and ushered into an examining room. One of
the Doctors was crying. Our doctor told me that something had happened at the World Trade Center, and the doctor was trying to contact her husband. This is how I heard the news. The day was filled with grounded planes, and quiet
skies. Highways and roads were closed. People were frozen wherever they were. Family friends were trapped for
days in Las Vegas. Diverted planes landed at airports across the country, and that is where weary passengers stayed until air travel was deemed safe again.
I remember spending the day checking on family and friends, especially those who worked in the city. One friend was late to work, as usual. I don’t remember the last time this girl was on time for anything. She was barely off
the ferry before racing back on and was transported to NJ. Her office was among the rubble. Another worked by the Empire State Building. She had trouble evacuating to NJ. Her day consisted of hours of walking, abandoning her heels and going barefoot thru Manhattan and finally getting a ferry to NJ. She gathered those going to her hometown area, and gave the bus driver directions thru every NJ back road so they could reach their destination well after dark without ever touching Route 3 or 46 . And these were the lucky ones.
My next days would be unusually busy. My job was at the local high school. We immediately went into crisis mode. A Thursday memorial ceremony in the school’s Peace Garden was interrupted by the school’s drug and alcohol counselor running inside to get word on a missing family member. Rumors went around that he was found, alive. Rumors would prove to be false. We would spend weeks talking to students, making sure everyone was OK. No easy
task when you have 3000 students in the building. And of course everyone wasn’t OK. No one was OK. No one would ever be OK. It was about learning how to cope.
My community is close to NYC. We are a suburb about 20 min out of the Lincoln Tunnel. From my church, we could
see the smoke rising from the toothless NY skyline, missing its crown jewel of the twin towers. When you stood at the
vestibule doors, the smoke rose through the glass etching of the Ten Commandments, right through commandment #6, at the top of the second page “Thou shall not kill”. I still look at that etching each Sunday, and even though the smoldering remains are long gone, I remember that for weeks, we could see the city and our future burn.
Everyone did what they could. The First Responders in NYC were outstanding. They worked tirelessly. So did many of the citizens around them. One of my biology teachers was also a podiatrist. He volunteered his time,
going to the city to work at ground zero tents to treat those working in the pit. His colleagues gave up their free
time to cover so he could leave our high school early. He would travel through the Lincoln Tunnel, alone as cars were still banned from traveling through the tunnel then spend hours treating those firefighters. Every
day we could see the agony of those working at ground zero etched on his face.
A history teacher’s husband was a welder. He and his friend loaded their pickup with their equipment and drove to the city. She tells of them being allowed through the Holland Tunnel, and escorted out on the NY side to the
ground zero site. There they helped at the ground zero site for days in work they wouldn’t speak of.
My sister-in-law had her CCD students bake treats for the FBI, which worked around the clock to find the terrorists
responsible. Some people prepared meals for others. Others checked on shut-ins. People donated food and water, clothing, whatever was needed. We became a community that cares. In the depths of desperation, we found hope.
September 11th is a special day in the history of our country. For all of us who lived through those eerie days of
skies bereft of airplanes, and highways closed to all traffic, September 11th will never be a day of celebration, but of mourning. Maybe more so for those of us in the NY metro area who live daily with its aftermath. For the death toll continues to rise from those who breathed in toxic fumes to those who have lost hope. Those who volunteered to help others continue to be repaid for their kindness with respiratory distress and disease. For those who gave their lives, and those who lost their future, September 11th is a day to remember, and honor those who serve.
Faith graduated 5th grade in June. As she left her elementary school with her went the last of the students who were actually alive September 11, 2001. Not that she has any memory of that day. Her thoughts about 9/11 will be on how we, as a society, explain those events to her. How we, as a society, portray 9/11 to the next generation. How
we, as a society, show respect to the people and events of 9/11. I never want her to think of this as a day of rejoicing, but as a day of sadness for all that was lost and pride in all that stepped up to the plate to help out.
So MLB I challenge you. Dump those ridiculous stars and stripes red, white and blue hats for September 11th. Make sure the Mets and Yankees are in NYC. Have the players wear first responder caps, Fire vs. Police; army vs. navy; EMTs vs. National Guard. Use the proceeds from these caps to pay for scholarships for those whose parents died during the terrorist attacks, or the fall out afterwards. Do not promote 9/11 as a day of Americana BBQ joy, but as a day of Americana sorrow peppered with pride. Do it because September 11th is a day of respect for those who have chosen to spend their lives helping all those around them, even at risk to their own lives. Do it because it is the way we want our society to remember those who gave so much. Do it to honor those who truly stepped up to the plate on 9/11. Do it for Faith and her generation so that they will truly understand.
Sunday, May 8, 2011, 12:35 PM
Today is Mother’s Day. A day we in America honor those women who have raised us, and made us who we are. For better or for worse, moms have been there as the driving force in our lives. They have given up many of their comforts and most of their time to raise their families full of love and happiness. They have caused us to love or hate by their attitudes, their values, and their joy in living. While the 1950’s mom encouraged her sons to play football and her daughters to take ballet, today’s moms have crossed the boundaries and have as eclectic tastes as there are flavors of ice cream. And these interests have created a population unique and self-assured.
Many of us owe our love of sports, to not only our dads, who took us to games, and explained all the rules, and subtleties, but also to our moms, who did the same. Our moms put up with late dinner and later homework as there were countless T-ball practices, and games which went on forever with final scores of 56-55. Our moms moved dinner times around to accommodate when MLB’s game start times, and let us eat on TV trays so we didn’t miss a pitch. Our moms were probably more important in our love of baseball development because if they hasn’t approved, we would all be at the opera right now.
My love of baseball started when I was little, and my mom told my dad to take me, along with my brother to meet Willie Mays. He was signing autographs at a local appliance store. We waiting in line for hours, and saw him for only a moment. His eyes looked tired, after spending the night signing autographs for fans and kids, his hands were hardened from years of swinging a bat and fielding balls. His back was achy from being hunched over a table he dwarfed, as his normal office didn’t require a desk. He was older by then, but it was still magical looking into his face, and seeing the love he still had for the game, the fans and for life.
Willie Mays came from another era. An era where the road to the majors was not so expensive. For many of today’s players, the road to the majors is paved by moms, giving up many luxuries for entrance fees to tournaments and teams, traveling around the country on weekends going from showcase to showcase, and giving up precious family time so that these future professional athletes could reach their dreams.
And yet when these young men finally make it into MLB, there is a lack of women to guide them. I wonder what that must be like. After years of strong women nurturing and growing them, from their moms at home, to their pseudo-moms, their teachers, at school, to nothing. It occurs to me that this might just be what MLB needs. Team Moms.
I, of course, will be the NYY team mom. My qualifications are impeccable. Let me share my resume with you.
Background: I have two adorable girls, ages 8 and 10, who are diehard Yankee fans. They complain bitterly when I go to games without them. They know the players, they know their positions, and they have picked out their Yankee husbands. They have pink Yankee hats, pink foam fingers, and authentic jerseys. My Yankee fandom cannot be questioned. This would be an asset to the clubhouse where I could help rally the team on to victory. I could heckle the umpires with taunts of them dressing inappropriately for TV, with call of “That mask is the wrong color; it doesn’t match your chest protector.” If not, I could incite a good bench clearing brawl for entertainment purposes only.
- Medical Expertise. I have bandaged numerous skinned knees and scraped elbows. I have held hands through minor and major surgeries. I have the superhuman ability to kiss booboos and make them feel better. This would have come in useful just this week, as I could have stopped Chavez from going on the DL. Of course this would have involved kissing his foot, but as a Mom, I’m willing to take one for the team. I’m thinking Nick Johnson should travel with his mom at all times.
- Diagnostic Skills. I can determine from another room whether a child has a cold or allergies. I daily decide if children are well enough to go to school or not. Think how this is such a necessary skill for the NYY. I’ve often wondered why players who are soooo sick go to the ballpark just to sit all day. Doesn’t it make more sense for them to stay at the team hotel, eat soup, drink tea from room service, and sleep in a comfortable bed? By being in the clubhouse, aren’t they just infecting each other in an underground environment ripe for the spread of viruses and bacteria? Here is where I would be infinitely valuable. Sick players would be made to stay at the hotel, with a visiting mom service hired to provide extra moms for the sick players. These visiting moms would kiss foreheads, order tea, make you eat soup, and encourage you to sleep and watch bad TV. At the clubhouse, as the head mom, I will be looking for signs of illness, and spraying Lysol continually. Sick players would be immediately isolated and sent back to the hotel. No more flulike symptoms running rampant in my clubhouse. Media, reporters and beat writers would be checked at the door for signs of illness. We can’t have any germs brought into our sterile environment. One cough from Kim Jones, and she would be shown to the door, or asked to interview Boone Logan.
- Preventative Skills. Helping players feel better is only half the battle. My goals would include preventative action. Players would no longer be allowed to play in the rain. Or extreme cold. Or extreme heat. How healthy can it be to get all hot and sweaty in a cold rain? I know that CC’s mom would agree. Not on my watch. And to be stretching those muscles on cold Minnesota evenings during April. Come on! Alex had hip surgery. We don’t want anything snapping in the temperature extremes! Not happening. And an afternoon game in 110F in Kansas City, No Way! Colon would get heat stroke! I would have the ability to order other teams to install Air conditioning to outdoor facilities. As team mom, I would have the power to overrule the umpires and MLB and ultimately Bud Selig on this issue of safety and preventative precautions. The schedule might also be shortened, or shorter games played, depending on if the Yankees are winning. During the 5th inning, if I deemed the climate inhospitable, I would have Joe send Mo to the mound to get the obligatory save. Then call the game.
- Laundry Skills. As a mom, I do at least 3 large loads of laundry a day in a machine that can fit a king sized quilt. Yes that is a lot. But everyone needs to look presentable and clean. Therefore, I applaud the clean shaven, short hair look of the NYY. A mom’s all American dream. But these rules need to go further. From this day further, no dirty uniforms will be allowed in the field. So Jeter, you slide into 2nd headfirst during the first inning, you better be prepared to change your shirt when you get back to the dugout. No going back out onto the field to play looking like you was playing in the dirt, even though you are. And Gardner, the same to you with those diving, grass stained shirts. Except after the game, you are going to be scrubbing those jerseys with a toothbrush. Not easy getting out those stains Mister!
- Hygiene. We all know this is essential to the health and wellbeing of all. Therefore, as team mom, there will be no more chew allowed. First of all, it is a bad habit which causes cancer. But it is also gross. Like the rest of us need to see you spit? And while talking about spitting, there will be no more spitting. Saliva is an essential part of the digestion progress, and it stops dehydration. Everyone will swallow their saliva from now on. You think I want to mop that up? And when you spit, the rest of us walk in your saliva, then walk on the field, which others dive on. EWWWW! And Jorge and Cervelli, no more rubbing dirt on your hands from the home plate area. That area is filled with DNA from the saliva of other players, which then gets passed to the ball which the rest of us touch. EWWW!
- Diet. Also banned will be sunflower seeds in shells. Who is the poor schlump who has to clean up that mess? Moms make everyone clean up after themselves. If the players had to sweep out the dugout, no one would be spitting out those shells. I have never mastered the art of DE-shelling sunflower seeds in my mouth and I have lived a productive life. Buy the deshelled ones from now on. And Alex, no batting with a mouthful of food! What if you choke to death? Does Cano know the Heimlich?
Organizational Skills: As a mom, I have organized numerous schedules integrating all members of the family. I have coordinated many fundraising events for my school and church. I keep a household running efficiently on less money than Nunez makes in a month. Therefore I would be an asset to the Yankee organization. I would be able to reorganize Girardi’s binder for maximum input with minimum controversy. Pages that are headed with 7th inning pitcher, 8th inning pitcher, 6th inning pitcher would be shredded and recycled. Advanced sabermetrics such as that that show Tex is an awful 1st baseman would be banned. The person who collects and collates and prints out all that material would be reassigned to spraying Lysol on the field to kill the bacteria from opposing players spit.
Motivator: A mom is the family cheerleader. She picks people up when they are down, and kicks them in the butt when they need it. In mom’s world, it doesn’t matter if you are going to the hall of fame, if you need to be talked to, she will do it. Imagine how this could play out for the NYY. AJ never would have had a bad season last year. Mom would have fixed that. And Soriano, I would march out there in the middle of the inning and make him apologize if he ever started up with an ump again and that eye rolling would stop. And Nunez would have made only 1 error vs. Detroit. That would have been fixed, and done with so he could have concentrated on the game.
And as far as Phil, I would keep his spirits up and his soul focused while he worked out and gains strength. I would also have him being a productive member of the Yankee team so he would not be home switching channels during a game. Moms always find something to keep their kids active and motivated. Phil could chart pitches; devise a game plan with Martin or maybe AJ could mentor him in pie throwing.
Intuition: As a mom, I have learned to read between the lines, and find the truth. I can take the most benign incident and find its underlying cause. A bad grade on a test can be from a hidden playground bullying incident. This could have major contributions to the NYY. For examples, I realized that Jeter was having knee problems last season when I saw a picture of him in the Post in cargo pants. He had to have been hiding a knee brace. That is the only possible explanation for Jeter, a fashion forward, wearing cargo pants. Fellow tweeter @mochachick8 this year confirmed my suspicion during the Texas series. While in the stands she saw Jeter adjust said brace. This was confirmed by those sitting around her behind the NYY dugout. As @mochachick8 ‘s dad had stated, a bad knee leads to a bad back which leads to pitches inside he can’t get to. Just like DiMaggio. There! As team mom I solved the Jeter quandary. As for JoPo, he will start hitting well after his kids surgery in June. Issue over. Swish’s hitting woes? I have that answer too!
Fashion: I think when you are appearing on TV, you should dress nicely in coordinating colors and patterns. All players after the game would need to dress in stylist yet personality enhancing clothing. I will personally help each player achieve their fashion potential through individualized hands on shopping experiences.
Past Work Experience: I worked in a large NJ high school (almost 4000 students) for 20 years teaching chemistry to 17 year olds. I currently teach high school science to students who are too ill to go to school, or who temporarily lack mobility (broken leg), pregnant students on maternity leave, or gang members banned from school at their homes. This should more than qualify me to work with the NYY. I would love the easier environment of working in the Bronx.
I have taught CCD, and have run 2 daisy troops, 2 brownie troops and 1 Junior Scout troop. If I can deal with hormonal preteens, parents planning wedding sized first communion parties and small children, the NYY should be a breeze.
Additional Skills: I can tell a blood from a crip. I helped deliver puppies. I’ve raced world cup yachts. I am afraid of birds. I am immune to dirt. I am able to find any address, no matter how bad the directions. I can handicap a harness race. I have over 40,000 tweets(this may be a negative). 39998 of those tweets were about the NYY. I haven’t updated my FB page in a month. I speak Spanish so poorly that people laugh at me. I use stub hub regularly. I have the MLB app and the NYY app on my phone, but not CNN app. I truly believe I speak weekly with David Price’s dog ( @Astro_dpsdog ) I once had a question on the Joe Girardi Show. My fantasy baseball team makes players go on the DL list (If this isn’t a marketable skill, I don’t know what is then!) I make the BEST brownies. I can tailor them to each player’s needs. CC would have my new Captain Crunch Brownies, Alex’s will have sunflower seeds, DRob’s will be layered with marshmallows and chocolate bars giving them the high sock look.
References: @Astro_dpsdog; @sunnysocal; @yankeeMegInPhl (creator of the rally bra!) Others available upon request.
I am more than qualified to be NY Yankee team mom and look forward to hearing from you.
Contact me: Twitter @dp57 I’m available to start immediately!
And Happy Mother’s Day!
Sunday, May 1, 2011, 5:26 PM
I can’t imagine what Phil Hughes is thinking today. Feeling today. Being today. He is sitting in a hotel room in St. Louis, waiting to see if he has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. His life must be a living hell. Waiting, wondering, hoping and maybe praying. Tomorrow he sees the specialist. Tomorrow he starts the journey to learn his fate. Does he have this circulatory problem? Will he need surgery to remove a rib? Will this only require some physical therapy? Will his life follow the path to baseball greatness, will he be able to compete in MLB, and will he end up a high school baseball coach, filled with stories from his few years in the show, and a wish that life had treated him better. How will he face the possibility of the end? With dignity and grace? Hope and desperation? Despair?
We all come at some point to a fork in the road. Andy Pettitte did so last winter. He decided to end his baseball career to spend time with his family. He made a choice which devastated many, but was the right one for him. But somehow his choice was different, because it was his choice. It was his right to choose. Andy chose to end his career. What of those who don’t get to choose?
There are so many I know of, who are unemployed. Not by choice but by economy. They did not choose to remain home with their families, but there they are. They are trying to get back to a work force that is changing. Trying to find a place as a productive member of gainfully employed society, without the safety net of a lifetime worth of money stored in a bank account in the Caymans. They need to support their families, to pay their mortgages, to buy food. They live with the underlying fear that maybe that last job was their last good job. Was this the end of their employment career?
Others fight on, not wanting to get to the end of their careers. They are holding on, hoping they can fight off the hands of time. They hope that they are able to keep that magical fountain of youth from escaping their grasp for just a little longer. Mo is 41. He has to be feeling the aches and pains of age. The simplest things start to become more complicated. What was once on auto-pilot now requires some thought. Maybe it isn’t so much getting older, as getting wiser. Knowing each day, the end is near. Knowing that each moment on the mound is special, because tomorrow is can be taken from you, in a microsecond. And then what? What do you do when you reach the end?
I wonder how Jorge Posada feels. At almost 40, he is near the end. Baseball is a young man’s game. It is made for those still quick and nimble. It is made for those not ravaged by years of playing catcher, with multiple concussions, achy knees, and pummeled hands. I wonder if he realized each time he stepped behind in the plate in 2010 it would be his last season there. If he recognized it would be his last time as the director of the infield; his last time as both a fielder and a hitter. I wonder if each at bat this season, he wonders if this is his last April, his last May. I wonder how you function, when you know the end is near.
Today I went to the 95th birthday party of my great aunt. She is still living independently in a senior living apartment, taking care of her own breakfast and lunch each day. My parents do her food shopping, but only because she refuses to pay the prices at the store downstairs from her. She has slowed considerably, and needs more naps and reads voraciously, but overall she is doing great, especially for 95. She had outlived all her sisters and brothers, and all of her girlhood friends. I wonder how she approaches each day. She is surely closer to the end of her life than the beginning. She has seen more sunrises than are ahead of her. (Though, frankly, I could be wrong. She is quite the mustang.) How do you face each day knowing the end is near?
I hate endings. I avoid them whenever possible. I hate that my babies have turned into kids, and my kids are turning into preteens. I hate that my daughter is leaving the safety of her elementary school and entering middle school in the fall. I hate that her childhood is ending. But change is inevitable, and part of life. And with change comes new beginnings, and endings. How you face them is how you choose to live your life. It shows the person you are, and the beliefs you have. For me, changes have brought many endings in my life. Yet I’ve always thought, please let me leave on my own, before they ask me to. When I’m gone, don’t let everyone say, “Thank God”, but rather that they miss me.
So tomorrow is Phil’s big day. How will he face it if it is the end?
How will you face it if it is Phil’s end?
How will you face your own end?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 8:35 PM
Its opening day. A day of new beginnings. A day of new horizons. A day of new hope. For players like Eduardo Nunez, it’s a chance to prove him. A chance to show he can succeed in “the show” and be a valuable asset to the team. For others, like Jorge Posada, it might be his last hurrah. His last tour to take in the glory of MLB life, before he retires to a life of luxury.
For Derek Jeter, it might be a chance at redemption. A chance to show the critics that he is still able to perform at a high level, despite his age, despite everything else the critics complain about which I completely ignore. Mark Teixeira has yet another chance to have a hot April and get that spring slump monkey off his back.
For Russell Martin, it’s a new beginning. A chance to recapture what could have been his, except for terrible luck. He is the only person I think I might be able to say, is almost as unlucky as me.
But what of us fans? What is opening day for us? We are not on the field. We are not turning double plays and hitting home runs. What does opening day mean to us? A chance to go to Yankee Stadium? A chance to now spend $35 to park the car, and enter the kingdom that George built where we will overpay for beer, and hotdogs and popcorn and souvenirs for the kids? Why in the world do we look forward to this?
For everyone, Opening day is different. I could not wait for opening day. Winter was way too long, way too cold and way too hard for me. I was sick of the snow, sick of shoveling, sick of trying to park my car in snow covered streets where residents came out and screamed at me in foreign languages for moving their beach chair so I could park and visit my clients for an hour. One old man in his 80s actually came out and threw snowballs at me. Holy cow man, it’s just a parking space! He was willing to actually cause physical harm to me over a parking space. Definitely it is time to lose winter.
I was sick of kids inside the house. And I am definitely sick of the music and sound effects of Wii Wipeout! I’m sick of seeing them jump all over the living room as they try to get across the big red balls. Seriously, one day they will wake up and that disc will be gone! Forever!
So when my Lenten Roses began to bloom, I knew it was time for baseball. Real baseball. Not spring training fake baseball. But nine real innings of baseball watching MLB players battle for supremacy. I’m sure I would be more thrilled by spring training if I went to Florida, but that is not in the cards for me now, or in the future. So sitting at home and watching the pirates hawk tickets, and seeing A and AA players play on the big field because the real MLB veterans are already at home laying by their pools, just really isn’t that intense experience I am looking for. Any game where players are doing conditioning running in the outfield during an actual game does not count as a true athletic contest. Its exhibition. And it’s boring by the 5th inning.
Opening day of baseball season brings a chance for me and my family to escape reality. It is a time for us to bond over games, and for the few short hours the game is on, pretend that all is well with the world. That no one in my living room has an illness or syndrome that needs to somehow be addressed. We ignore the mounting pile of medical bills on my dining room table that need to be paid from my nonexistent salary, for which I sarcastically thank you Governor Christie for cutting my hours, because education is a worthless investment in NJ. It’s a chance for us to interact with each other on a level of stupidity that truly doesn’t matter as we argue over the life and death topics of AJ’s pitching, or who should be backup catcher. And just for that moment, we are normal. And the world is fun.
I wonder if the NY Yankees understand all that is expected for them to do! They need to heal my family from the stress of living. To make us forget our worries for a few hours. They need to bring sunshine after a long, hard winter and to provide an opportunity for us to bond, as people, as we sit together on the couch eating popcorn.
As much as many of us fans like to live and die with every game, we know that is not the reality of our lives. I wonder if the players understand that in the large picture, baseball doesn’t really matter. It’s the entertainment value they provide. And they are in the true sense of the word, entertainers. Because that is all baseball is entertainment. It’s an escape from the everyday; better than a movie, and cheaper than a play. Baseball is a chance for families to bond, as they sit on the couch and have a common experience and for a few hours, forget about the sadness and discontent in their lives and build memories of fun and feelings of love. Which is why we love the Yankees. We associate them, their highs and lows, with the happy family times spent with each other. Because that is what really matters, the relationships, the bonds, between us as we age, and grow and change.
This year, Andy Pettitte will be one of us. No longer a legend on the field, but still a legend off the field. I wonder if he will be watching baseball and reliving his past, or watching baseball as the family experience we have long enjoyed at my home. I wonder if he will see the entertainment value, or live and die with every pitch. I wonder if he needs to join us in my living room and forget about life for a while. I’ll even make popcorn.
Friday, March 4, 2011, 11:11 PM
The news wasn’t so good for Francisco Cervelli today. It was actually pretty depressing. Broken bone in his foot. He has to wear that Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly boot. Did I mention how Ugly that boot is? It's sandals with socks ugly. And he is on crutches. Good thing he worked out all offseason. Those crutches require massive arm strength. The one time I needed crutches, I was reduced to slithering across the floor like a slug. Thank God I wasn’t required to wear that ugly boot though!
Cervelli will spend the rest of spring training in that boot, avoiding baseball activities, drinking lots of milk, downing tums like candy, and trying to heal that bone. Not the way he planned on spending ST after working all winter with Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, Cervelli should be used to it. In 2008 he had his wrist broken. In 2011 he got a concussion after getting hit by a pitch. And now he suffered a broken foot. At least this one is on him. A pattern is emerging and I expect a torso injury during ST 2012.
Questions now abound about the catching situation. Some fans are joyful for the chance for Jesus Montero to slip onto the MLB team. Some want Montero to go to AAA for more development, and others want him to go to AAA so he can practice catching regularly and get more regular at bats. Jon Lane wrote a great blog on the readiness of Montero as catcher www.myyesnetwork.com/12461/blog/2011/03/...
In my mind, and yes, that is a scary place, that catching derby was kind of out of the catcher’s mitts, and on another factor-a factor more important than the future of Jesus Montero- the present for this NY Yankee team. The pitching rotation is uncertain, to put it mildly. CC-Hughes (who is still a young um, gaining control of his intensity and emotions)-AJ-?-?.
I’m expecting the ? and ? to change, to move, to rotate. But the key in this rotation, in my thoughts is AJ! The Yankees need 3 great pitchers, not 2.
2 great pitchers = an average year
3 great pitchers = a chance at the playoffs
4 great pitchers = playoffs
5 great pitchers = a World Series visit!
The Yankees don’t just want AJ to be good; they desperately need him to be good. He’s been working and tweaking his mechanics. He’s finding his foot placement on the black spot on the mound; he’s working on his release point, arm explosion, whatever he needs to do to win. To throw the ball and get swings and misses, or ground balls, or fly outs. He needs to feel confident, believed in and believe in himself. Everyone in the NYY organization will do whatever it takes to make AJ a winner. AJ needs his Maisy!
Maisy is my older daughter’s, Faith’s, beloved stuffed animal. Maisy Mouse is a British cartoon character. She doesn’t speak, but has a narrator. Everything is nice and calm in Maisy’s world. Her biggest problem is figuring which costume to wear to a Halloween party. My daughter loves her. And Maisy looks well loved. And she is well-traveled also. My daughter wouldn’t go anywhere without her Maisy. It was Faith’s way of coping. She has been through a lot with Maisy’s help. Dental surgery when she was 3, in which most of her teeth were removed. I remember finding her a few days after surgery looking in the mirror, wondering if she was still pretty. Eye surgery when she was 4. Her eyes were misaligned. To see she had to bend her head forward and look out through the area between the top of her eye and the brim of a baseball cap. And through it all, Maisy was there.
Maisy was Faith’s anchor. Dressed in a hospital gown, she was wheeled into the ERs with my daughter. No doctor willing to make them part. Faith loves Maisy. She believes in Maisy and she was able to cope and get through because of Maisy. Her belief is that life would be better because of Maisy.
Maisy didn’t actually perform Faith’s surgery. She didn’t give the loving care to nurse her back, but in Faith’s mind, that is exactly what happened. She pictured Maisy helping Dr. Jason in the OR or feeding her soup afterwards. Maisy was the most important part of her recovery, in helping her cope with life.
Cervelli is AJ’s Maisy. It doesn’t matter if AJ is significantly better with Cervelli or not. What matters is what AJ thinks. The NYY desperately need AJ to have a great season. Whatever it takes, they will do. Last season, AJ had Cervelli as his personal catcher instead of Posada. This annoyed me quite a bit because it was just another reason why I did not see Posada catch. (www.myyesnetwork.com/myyes20860/blog/201...)
So is Montero ready to be backup catcher, I think yes. Will it serve him best to sit on the bench and play maybe twice a week, No. Will he be able to work AJ through this crisis. I don't think anyone can, unless AJ believes they have the magical Maisy power. I thought we would see Montero called up after the ASB when the NYY traded Cervelli as part of a package for a new Ace. This would give AJ enough time to hopefully feel comfortable, build up his confidence and stack up a great W-L record.
But now? Cervelli isn’t available for a while. Maisy won’t be able to perform AJ’s surgery. Although The NYY are deepest in the catcher prospect area, the injury to Cervelli may have been the injury the front office feared the most.
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 9:32 PM
My cousin went to High School every day. I know you are saying, so did I. But you are wrong. She went every day. Every single school day. 180 days, for 4 years straight. 720 straight days of school! I taught high school. In my 18 years there, not one student EVER had perfect attendance for even 1 year, never mind 4! God, didn't she ever need a mental health day? We teachers need them all the time. We justify that if we didn't take them, conveniently on Yankee Opening Day, we might go ballistic and honestly tell the students what we actually thought of their work. And what would that lead to? Depression and anxiety in the hallways. Xanax being popped like M&Ms. People crying in the bathrooms. Oh, wait, that was the teaching staff. Better for all of us to keep quiet and let all the students think they're brilliant. This should be the motto of all education.
I once had a teacher who worked for me with quite a similiar and impressive record. He called in sick after every single Jets home game. I admit, I wasn't too swift. It took me 4 years to catch on, and then only because I showed up in his room to observe him teaching. There I sat in the back of the room, pen and clipboard ready to go, when one of his students turned to me, laughing and said, "You think he's here? Jets at Meadowlands yesterday, lady! He's probably sleeping it off in his car on the turnpike." God, I felt like such an idiot. How could this 14 year old figure it out so quickly, and not me, Ms. ooh I have a clipboard? But, then again, I'm not a real fanatical Jets fan. Now if he was out during every Boston vs. NYY series, I would have immediately picked up on it! NYY vs. Seattle, would have have been a stretch though. Probably because I am always exhausted from those west coast trips. MLB should make everyone play games on east coast time for my convenience. But I digress. I do that a lot.
Baseball is a sport that values these consececutive records and numbers. Don Mattingly played in 8 consecutive games hitting at least one homerun in each. Cal Ripkin has the record for most consecutive games played at 2,632. Tom Seaver has the record at 10 for most consecutive strike-outs. But many of us have our own personal records. Some fans claim they have never been to a losing game. I think @Amandarykoff on twitter, and now of ESPNW, holds the record for attending the most Mitre starts. (Not something anyone is trying to top her at).
I believe though that I am the holder of the most bizarre consecutive Yankee record of all time. A title I wish I did not hold, but for some reason, was thrust upon me. Good, bad or ugly, it is to say the least extremely unusual and worthy of a plaque somewhere. Maybe not in monument park, but somewhere well visited. The wall next to the garlic fries stand, or the ladies bathroom. My acheivement is almost embarrassing, yet noteworthy. I have seen many things at Yankee Stadium. Wins, losses, games that should have been won or lost. I've seen the bizarre, such as balls thrown into the stands when there was only two outs, people dressed in Red Sox gear when they are not even playing, and burgers, fries and drinks costing $60! Oh wait, that is just Yankee Stadium prices. But by some bizarre coincidence, twist of fate, or divine providence, I had, **hides face under pillow** NEVER seen Jorge Posada catch a game. No, not just in 2010, or 2009, or 2008. I mean EVER! As in Never Ever, Ever, Ever. The Never Ending Story Ever. From 1995 to 2010 I had seen Jorge Posada catch 0 times. Zero! ZERO! Not one out, not one inning. Its like God had banned me to some eternal damnation with every backup known to mankind.
Seriously, how the hell does this happen? Its not like the guy is a B-lister. He played in over 100 games most seasons. But for some weird reason, every time we had tickets, he didn't catch. I have seen him DH, but I needed to see him catch to remove this curse.
And what a curse it was. In the beginning, I didn't think it was an issue. It took me years to figure out something was weird! I mean, I have never seen a game where Jeter wasn't playing SS. Big deal, he plays like every game. (Though just once I would like to see a game where I'm not sitting by the girl holding the "Marry me, Derek" sign who squeals every time Derek touches the ball. He's touching the ball honey, not you. Sit down and have a beer.) Then how did I get on the Posada absentee list? Its not like he was on home instruction. OK, I don't get to go to a lot of games. I was pregnant for two seasons! And the last thing I thought to be doing during those 9 months was waddling around the stadium looking like Orca. Yes, I did look like Orca....Orca pregnant... having twins...while smuggling watermelons...and beachballs...while puking her guts out. Nice visual, I know. Climbing the Yankee Stadium stairs was not on my to do list either during pregnancy.
And there were the toddler years. Lucky to make 1 or 2 games a season there. Diapers and formula and sitters are expensive. I was too tired to watch most of those games on TV, never mind drive to the city. Ugh! The thought of lugging my giant diaper bag around Yankee Stadium was unbearable. I didn't know if I would even be able to get through security to get into the stadium. Imagine that checkpoint as you enter. Me emptying 6 hours worth of baby and toddler gear out of the "diaper" bag. I know you all want to be the poor schlub standing behind me in that line. And where would I heat those bottles? Excuse me, Mr. Hot Dog Guy, could I warm my bottles in your steamy sauerkraut?
But its not like I never went! And as the kids got older, we went more and more. Yet it was one bizarre occurance after another. In 2009 my kids thought Molina was starting catcher. In 2010, my kids listed Cervelli as the starting catcher, with Moeller as back up. (Yes, my kids can name the NYY starters, and yes there are pop quizzes and unannounced tests on the subject. Along with coloring pages, word searches and crossword puzzles. I have to put my teaching education to use somewhere!)
And then suddenly I realized, this curse was about me, not Jorge. Every Posada injury was my fault! I was positive! 2008 shoulder surgery! My fault, I had tickets for a few days after Jorge was injured. 2009 sore finger. My fault, I had tickets shortly after. 2010 broken foot. My fault, I had tickets. Concussions, my fault! Sore Neck, my fault! World Hunger, my fault! Stock market collapse, my fault! Earthquakes, Volcanos, Tsunamis, my fault! I needed to end this and end it quickly before armegeddon or the black plague occurred. Or worse, they put Pena in as emergency catcher!
In 2010 things came to a head. I realized we were coming to the end of the road. Jorge's days as starting catcher were coming to a close, and I needed to end this dreaded streak, or at least make some money off of it. I began to think of ways I could extort money out of this situation. I could threaten to buy tickets unless Jorge sent me a check. I pictured my extortion note reading, "put $9,999 into my checking account or the baseball gods will attack you mercilessly". It might have worked too, except I couldn't figure out how to get Jorge the extortion note, or my bank account number. Not that Bank of America would let him make a deposit into my account. I have a hard enough time making deposits into my own account. I can't understand why they won't take my money? And $9,999 was nothing! Less than one game's salary. NYY probably spend more than that a month at Starbuck's. Hell, Jorge probably spends more than that at Starbucks every month.
I was going to tweet Jorge's wife my demands. For some odd reason she follows me on twitter. Would you follow the woman responsible for the maiming and injuring of your husband? She must not know all those injuries were my fault! Poor Laura. The wife is always the last to know! But I couldn't figure out how to condense my extortion request into a polite Tweet utilizing the 140 character limit. And multiple tweets seemed rude. I didn't want to be rude. I was an extortionish, not impolite. So I just abandoned that idea.
OK. Extortion wasn't going to work. As the season wore on, my desperation to see Jorge catch grew exponentially. I began make up scenarios where I would send brownies laced with sleeping pills to Cervelli, Moeller and yes, even emergency back up Pena. I was taking no chances! But how could I ensure that Jorge didn't eat any of these brownies? I mean, my brownies are legendary! Triple chocolate! No nuts. Lots and lots of chocolate decadance. I don't think even Girardi could withstand the lure of my brownies. I still wonder if they had made Andy an offer including my brownies, if he might have relented and come back. I'm working on a special recipe with Captain Crunch to keep CC from opting out. I Tweeted the press corp for help in delivering the brownies. I asked them to just leave specially wrapped brownies where the catchers hang out. But for some unknown reason, the beat writers declined to bring drug laced brownies into the clubhouse.
I was on Twitter for over a year, before I ventured to break the embarrassing news to my Yankee friends, who could not believe it. Every injury thereafter became my fault. Every time Jorge did not trot onto the field, my timeline filled with "Are you at the game?". My last regular season game was labor day weekend, 2010. And no, Jorge did not get to catch, again. And Yes, the sign girl sat near us AGAIN! Of course the whole AJ drama didn't help. And, as you can guess, not seeing Jorge means I saw a lot of AJ. Maybe I should have extorted money from Brian Cashman to produce a few more Ws, or just sent AJ those "special" brownies. Maybe I was AJ's problem last season, too?
But, as the fates would have it, when all was thought lost, I answered a text from MLB giving away tickets to playoffs games. I'm a sucker for these contests. I mean, I have unlimited texting and spend half my life waiting for kids to finish their activities, so why not? I couldn't believe when I won 4 tickets to the October 20th playoff game. I anxiously waited to hear the rotation, praying for my last chance to undo the curse, to break the longest streak in MLB history! Even when it was announced it was a CC game, I was still nervous. The yankees needed to win. Could they survive me sitting in the stands? Would even just having the tickets cause broken bones, injury, war, famine and pestilence? I watched batting practice that day from RF section 105. This was the longest and tensest batting practice of my life. Would Posada survive? I gave twitter updates "no one is dead yet!" Knowing my dubious record, no one on my Twitter feed was amused.
So, yes, I did get to see Jorge catch that night! It was a great game. Swisher and Cano hit homeruns. The Yankees won, Jorge caught. Saw CC and CJ Wilson pitch! Andrus got picked off at 2nd base, and we fans made those stupid antlers at him. I got to go to a playoff game, and I brought my husband and kids with me. We over paid for food. We overpaid for parking. We carried blankets we didn't need on a beautiful warm fall night. No one got hurt. No one died. I didn't have to drug anyone with brownies. And the curse was broken. The streak was over. I saw Jorge Posada catch the last game of 2010, the last playoff game for the NYY, and Jorge's last game as starting catcher for the NYY in Yankee Stadium. It was a magical night. And actually, both of my streaks were broken. For the first game since 1995, I saw Jorge Posada catch, and didn't sit near that girl with the "Marry me, Derek" sign. My claim to fame is now in the record books.
I wonder where the Steinbrenners are going to put my plaque?
Friday, February 4, 2011, 11:03 AM
Once upon a time, I was a person, an individual, a being with purpose in life beyond the 2 to 3 huge loads of laundry I do everyday, beyond the massive ironing pile which never seems to get done, beyond the current 6 baskets of laundry waiting to be put away today, but which honestly, probably won't, beyond the endless meals to be cooked and studying useless facts for endless elementary school tests. I truly spent hours going over the Spanish explorers last night and what they discovered with my 10 year old daughter. I can honestly say I've lived a complete life without remembering that Pizzaro conquered the Incas or DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River. Or someone else, who I can't even remember, discovered Texas. How do you discover Texas? There were already Native Americans living there. That's like me going to Hawaii and claiming them for Donnaland! Good visual image, not much substance. I bring this up to Faith, my 10 year old. I immediately regret it, as I can now picture the essay portion of today's test will require interpretation. This might be worse than than that monumental Family Life announcement about poligamy. But I'll save that for another post. I'm confused, yet, I digress. You will need to get used to my digressions if you plan on reading more.
Yesterday I was in one of my clients kitchens, discussing the Yankees. I do this a lot. It puts people at ease. It brings a humanness to my job. I work for the local Board of Education in a NYC suburb, located in nearby NJ. The local real estate agents tell perspective buyers we are only 20 minutes from Manhattan. I wonder if that includes the road being closed to all traffice and a police escort rivalling the one given to Obama. My record is 27 minutes, door to parking garage. But that is not for Manhattan, but to the Bronx, to the Stadium, Yankee Stadium, the only stadium allowed.
My job entails teaching teenagers who can not go to school. Some have broken their legs, ankles, feet and will be back in school when they heal. Some have illnesses such as kidney failure, cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, and I try to help them complete high school. Most are pregnant, out on maternity leave. Some are gang members who have been suspended. I meet these students in their homes. Some have no family, and some do.
Yesterday, as we were discussing Andy Pettitte, little did we know the news was breaking that Andy was going to retire. As I got into my car to drive to my next client, I checked in to twitter. The heartbreak amoung all Yankee fans was evident. My sadness was with them too. Let me say this so there is no doubt, I will miss Andy and wish he was returning in 2011. I feel as bad as the next fan.
But as the day continued, and blogs, columns and articles began appearing, I began to move beyond my saddness and past acceptance to wonderment. My twitter feed of 1000 Yankee fans (OK, I know I should really diversify a little, but....if you are reading this Yankee blog I'm pretty sure you get it and I don't need to explain) were devastated. Some of them were beyond help. Over and over I read "I am in tears", "I am crying", "This is the worst day of my life". Really? No, I mean really? Worst day of your life?
I can't help but be slightly amused as the outpouring of emotion. I empathize and feel saddened too. But people, it's LIFE. It's PRIORITIES! It's things you don't plan on changing your world upside down.
Once upon a time I was a person. I worked in a high school. I was a science teacher, and if I say so myself, I was damn good! The students liked me and I loved them. I was made supervisor of the department. I was young and on track to success. I was married and had a daughter. I came back to work to resume my career. Except it was all different. I no longer had that fire for work. I spent all my time there wishing I was home with my family. The people I worked with were special, fabulous friends, but they weren't family. My family. After Chloe was born, I just never went back. I'm sure it annoyed people. I know my principal was not a happy man. But the truth is, this is my life. I only get one shot at it. And I have to do what I love. Life was happening while I was planning. I needed to jump off the carousel, because the brass ring wasn't just that important anymore.
Andy gave us 16 great years. He missed a lot. He missed first communions, and birthday parties, and school graduations. He missed science fairs, and spring concerts and last day of school parties. He missed seeing his kids play baseball, and first days of schools. He never got to walk a trembling toddler into Kindergarten and try to make them feel loved enough to stay. He missed hugging his kids when they were sad and hugging them when they were happy. He missed sitting on his porch on a warm summer night with his love of 20 something years, just looking at the stars and laughing. Soon his children will start leaving, college, work, life. The circle of life continues. They will start families of their own. I believe Andy deserves the time to be with them, before they are gone.
These are the things that make me cry. Andy has missed so much, and finally it became too much for him to bear. He has decided to spend his time with those he love. His heart isn't in baseball anymore. For years he split his love between home and work. Andy doesn't value money, money is fleeting, love is forever. Andy is being true to himself and his values. He is going to be home! Andy is going to spend time with his family. Where his heart is.
Andy can still pitch. He is able to pitch. He just can't pitch. There comes a time in everybody's life, where its time. I see that in my students when I was at the high school. You can see it when the Seniors know they no longer belong. You can see it in their parents eyes, as they plan for their babies to leave for college. Their childlren's time at home is over, and as sad as that is, ther is joy in knowing their lives are beginning. It's time. And when its time, you know it. Like the last day I walked to my car, carrying my last box from my office. Inside were goodbye notes, and momentos from 18 years of teaching. And as sad as I was that day, It was really one of the happiest. I had the time of my life. And now it was time to start a new life, a new beginning, with those I love.
Stop crying fandom! Rejoice that he is able to do what he wants to do! Many people do not get the opportunity at 38 to say goodbye. His life is fantastic! He has had the time of his life. His circle of joy is being completed! This isn't the worst day in your life. And it sure isn't the worst day in Andy's life either.
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