Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Yankees Again

New York City is baseball crazy! I don't think I've ever been in a city that loves its baseball team so much. I mean wouldn't you think after 26 World Series championships that the 27th would not be that big of a deal? But it is. Today is the Lower Manhattan tickertape parade that has been arranged to celebrate the Yankees' victory, and has it ever turned the City upside down. Traffic is tied up, subways are delayed, even the Staten Island Ferry has been affected. One long-time resident of Staten Island who drives the shuttle from the Ferry to Wagner College claimed that the traffic was worse than he has ever seen it as the throngs hurried in their cars across the Verazzano Narrows bridge or bussed to the ferry station in hopes of getting the best possible vantage point on the parade that is scheduled to go from Battery Park up to City Hall.

But why? To see the players drive by in chaffeur driven limousines with the top down while thousands of onlookers throw little pieces of paper on their heads? That can't be it. It must be something more, something more atavistic and basic, like the need to join with others in acknowledging one's heroes, or, you know, a really great excuse to party. Speaking of excuses, my classes at Wagner today were not at all well attended, all owing to this deeply bred instinct on the part of the students to recognize the mighty Olympians who conquered their enemies. To celebrate that great battle of wits and strength in which one overpowering clan of titans prevails convincingly over another. Or it could be just another opportunity to go wild. What could be more basic than that?

But here's another thought about all this. My natural inclination is to think historically, to consider the Yankees of today in the context of the Yankees of the past. But most folks, especially my Wagner students, don't think this way at all. At the tender age of, say, 20, all they can think about is that there hasn't been a Yankee champion since 2000, which means, in a sense, that there hasn't been a Yankee winner during their most active years as a fan. To have the Yankees of 2009 win it all is something to be celebrated in itself. The fact that they did this 26 other times is not only not much of a concern to them, it doesn't enter into their thoughts at all. So let's hear it for the baseball champions of 2009 - the New York Yankees! They may have done it many times in the past, but this one - the one we can enjoy and taste and savor right now - this one is the best one yet.


  1. At least a part of the celebration is that there's something to celebrate. Except for a few bankers and traders, most people have not had a lot of good news lately. Winning the Series is a great excuse to just feel good about something.

  2. It's strange and kind of sad to think of Yankee fans with no sense of history. The history of baseball enriches the game, and it would not be so much fun if we did not try to measure the teams and players of today against those of the past. When the White Sox won the pennant in 1959 I was only six years old. But I understood that it was a big deal that they had not been in the World Series since 1919, the year of the scandal. Of couse, 40 years is beyond the comprehension of a six-year-old, and it's a bit shocking that the 1959 World Series is now 50 years in the past.