Tags: Bill Bradley, Jeter, Petitte, Posada, Rivera, Yankees
One can only ask so much.
I remember not sleeping after the Yanks clinched last year’s World Series against the Phillies. I was so happy — I wanted our four stalwarts, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Petitte to win just more time. I would have made any rooting pact to have that happen.
We failed this year but it wasn’t a failure. We were one of the last four team playing and if we were to look at things objectively, which will take time, we will realize that we were old and it showed in slower bats, weaker arms, loss of control and injury. We may say someday, how did they ever play so well in 2010?
Old great teams don’t get beat by other old teams and so it was right that the Texas Rangers, who have never been to the World Series are getting to go. They played better in every way and so, play on.
Bill Bradley, the great Princetonian and Knick (and U.S. Senator) said that he played one extra year, even though he knew he was not nearly the same player as before. He said that he wanted to experience the full arc of a career, including the downside.
As a fan of the Great Four, I want the same for them, I want them to have the time to complete the cycle — and I will be there with them. I owe them that.
Just a few hours after George Steinbrenner died I was in a car dealership and I overheard a salesman, looking at a TV screen say, “yeah, all he did was buy pennants.” Yes, I thought, and all Charles Dickens did was write books for money.
Steinbrenner was often accused of being a bully and he was — but he was our bully. Yes, he was for himself and he puffed himself up — but he stood for us too.
The Yanks were great before he bought the franchise but had fallen into a deep depression and it was by no means inevitable that they — I really mean we — would rise again. We were Achilles in our tent, in no mood to venture out.
His greatness began with one stroke: signing Catfish Hunter. Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who was to be struck down so young with Lou Gehrig’s disease, was then a great pitcher with his best days behind him. But Catfish was a noble player who brought a spirit into the clubhouse that had been missing. He was the first one into the locker room and the last out at the end of the day. He was fun and he knew how to pitch. Before his arm wore out we hung championship banners aloft at the old Yankee Stadium.
Steinbrenner brought Catfish to us imploring fans and then Reggie and the Gator and Donnie Baseball and then, in a tremendous climax to his reign, this last truly great crew: Derek and Mo, Andy and Jorge, Tex, CC and Arod. He brought them here and kept them here.
George Steinbrenner was our owner and we are all the better for it.