The New York Yankees took the American League pennant last night —– for the 40th time! In my lifetime, the Yanks have won the pennant 21 times.
It has always been a thrilling ride. When I was growing up in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. my father would manage to get tickets to each of the World Series in which the Yankees participated. There was never any question as to whether or not I could justify skipping school to attend the games. No contest: Yankee baseball was heads and tails more important, more enlightening, than my junior high school classes. My father never questioned this, nor did my teachers. I would have had to be out of my mind to give the choice one iota of consideration.
Can you imagine the euphoria I felt watching Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Joe Pepitone and Mantle and Maris performing? Even at my then young age, I knew I was watching history. My devotion to the Yankees was signed, sealed and delivered during those impressionable years.
Then this season, I ran into a huge dilemma. Perhaps my very favorite Yankee was Joe Torre, under whose capable managing skills the Yanks took home six pennants. I frequently say that Joe Torre is the only man on this planet for whom I would leave my husband. It is not as if Torre is a looker, or a trendy media darling. He is simply a man fulfilling his employment duties in a solid manner. His understated personality and abilities speak volumes to me. So when the possibility of Torre’s Dodgers winning the National League pennant this year crossed into the realm of reality, I almost lost my baseball compass. If the Dodgers would have won the pennant and then faced the Yankees in the World Series, who would I root for: Joe Torre or the Yankees?
Thankfully, that is a decision I do not have to face. However, I daresay that I would have gone for Joe Torre in a heartbeat. Over the years, I have been so impressed with his downright managing capability coupled with his understated public persona. And, every time, I will back that person, one individual, who shows a respect and responsibility for his job. A job well done is to be admired and supported.
It is absolutely not my intention to minimalize the talent and team effort of the current Yankees, nor to underrate Joe Girardi’s managing skills. You can bet your sweet bippy that I hope the Yanks wallop the Phillies in the Series. I just miss Joe Torre.
So Joe: say it ain’t so. Don’t tell me that you just lost the pennant. But find some solace in the fact that you would have had Yo Mama’s wild and crazy devotion if you had wound up in the 2009 World Series.