Friday, May 1, 2009

Dude, It Was a Specific Timeframe!

For once and for all, ya big jalook (you know who you are!), I was a full-on, card carrying, rabid Yankees fan for a specific time period only! And that time period was 1996 through 2007, otherwise known as the Joe Torre era. Joe Torre being the cat’s meow of baseball managers, hands down … what a class act. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Took the Yankees to the playoffs every year he was their manager? That Joe Torre? Yeah.

This is the man of whom the Times said “Even if you don’t follow baseball, you know Joe Torre. As manager of the New York Yankees, he is the very image of calm – no matter how tense things get in the game.” Yep, true dat.

And I probably never would have cared, if it hadn’t been for the morning radio program I listened to every day; the Big Show on WPLJ in NYC (with Scott and Todd), where almost all the on-air crew were huge Yankees fans, and talked about the team incessantly. I couldn’t help but pick up tidbits almost by osmosis.

How else would I know about Torre’s big sister (Sister Marguerite),who was the principal of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic school in Queens, and showed her true colors by giving school holiday whenever there was a Yankees parade (rock on!)? Because she called in regularly to discuss her brothers and the team, that’s how!

Or that his big brother Rocco had passed away, and his other big brother Frank (Joe's the baby of the family), who was in the hospital in FL, desperately needed a heart transplant (which he got, right in the middle of the World Series!)?

We were all captivated by the players and their stories, and eagerly awaited each new installment of information. How would today’s game go? What did Sister Marguerite have to say? Did Joe talk to Frank today? Which player did Joe talk up to the press? How was the team doing?

It was all very open-access … far more of a small-town mentality than I’d ever expected out of either New York City or the Yankees! I mean, c’mon, Steinbrenner was, is, and always has been a complete tool, and Torre made even that gasbag look good! And! Best of all! MSG, the Madison Square Garden cable channel, showed Every. Single. Game. Free! Every day!! Most awesome!! We’d go out to a bar after work to watch the game, or home to catch it on the telly. Nice!

I don’t remember the Red Sox ever being this cool (sorry, Grampy!). I loved these guys!!

Scott Brosius at third base was my absolute favorite, closely followed by young catcher Jorge Posada, who was just beginning, as was rookie short stop Derek Jeter … and you see what happened to them! And there was veteran catcher Joe Girardi, who was bringing Posada up behind the plate, along with catcher Jim Leyritz.

And the pitching staff … wow! David “Boomer” Wells, David Cone, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, and Andy Pettitte, just to name a few. That effing bullpen was awesome to behold! And let’s not forget Dwight friggin’ Gooden and Graeme Lloyd, either.

Or how about Chuck Knoblauch at second base, Tino Martinez at first, and Luis Sojo, who could save the day with aplomb. Or Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams in the outfield, and when Shane Spencer blew out the doors on every pitcher he met his first year in the majors? Sweet!

But still, saving the best for last, how about Mel Stottlemyer and Don “the Zim” Zimmer (you may recognize the name from former Red Sox association)? Two more great guys with all kinds of experience, and how both battled serious health issues with style, humor, and grace. Pretty good role models in an era when any tomdickandharry can be considered one.

Every single game there was something going on in the dugout that was almost more interesting than the game, and certainly more entertaining. Players and staff goofing on one another, temper tantrums (thanks, Paul!), pitchers shutting out everything around them, players watching their teammates deliver, and, possibly best of all, regularly coming from behind to win it in the 9th! Yee Haw!! And let’s not forget that record, I think … yeah … maybe … um, it just may go something like this:

1996 World Series Champs
1997 playoffs
1998 World Series Champs
1999 World Series Champs
2000 World Series Champs
2001 American League Champs
2002 playoffs
2003 American League Champs
2004 playoffs
2005 playoffs
2006 playoffs
2007 (mer … getting tired of typing this over and over and over) playoffs

Also, any team that fielded Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra is just plain awesome in my book! And none of your lip about “buying the wins”, because your jealousy is showing, and it is not pretty!!
Besides, I'm no longer a Yankees fan ...
I'm a Royals fan!


The Common Man said...

I don't care if those bastards cure cancer. YANKEES SUCK! Those snotty overpaid, arrogant punks. They really have not accomplished much at all. If any team had an unlimited payroll with no salary cap and could go out into the league and outbid any other owner for some money whore player they could be the Yankees. Think about it. Johnny Damon a star with the Sox now her sucks to. Looks Like Jesus, Acts Like Judas Throws Like Mary.. YANKEES SUCK!!!!!!

la isla d'lisa said...

You, my friend, are SUCH a pissy little ball of Yankees jealousy. Hmer!

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