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Archive for November 5th, 2009

hideki matsuiThe World Series ended last night with a bang as an aging Hideki Matsui (AKA Godzilla) single-handedly slugged his New York Yankees over the Philadelphia Phillies.  He drove in 6 runs with 3 hits including a soaring home run off longtime Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez on the way to a 7-3 victory.  It was the 27th championship in the storied history of the team.

It was a really good Series between arguably the two best teams in baseball.  The Phillies, last year’s reigning champs, were a formidable opponent and a very likable group that played the game with full effort.  They could have easily won any of these games.  However, the  Yankees were just a step ahead this year.

To a baseball fan, the game becomes part of your daily ritual.  It’s a long season that spans all four  seasons, running from  spring training that starts in the last weeks of winter to the Fall Classic, as the Series is called.  The Yankees played 177 regular season games not to mention all the spring training games.  It is, as they say, a marathon sport based on finding the rhythm of a team and trying to maintain it through the ups, downs and grind of this long year.  It very much mimics day to day life.

So, you follow your team and suffer through the lows and relish the highs.  Being a Yankee fan has had a lot of highs, certainly.  But the heightened expectations create deep lows when your team fails to follow through on the promise of their potential.  And this year’s team was promising a lot.  It was a team that was very easy to like in many ways.  I’ve heard fans of other teams say that it tore them up because this team was so hard to dislike.  They played hard all the time, played with joy and never seemed to be just putting in the time when they were on the field which means a lot to the day to day fans.  When you’re committed as a fan you want to know that your players are as invested emotionally as you in the season.

That’s why it’s been a pleasure following these Yankees over the last 15 years or so.  I remember reading about Joe Dimaggio saying that he played hard every day out of respect for the fans, that he knew what a big deal it was for many of them to make the trip, many from long distances, just to see the game on that particular day.  It might be the only time they’ll ever see you in person and they deserved to see you try to do your best.  I’ve watched Derek Jeter day in and day out for since 1996 and he has never made me feel as though his full attention was anywhere other than where he was at that moment on the field.  Full effort all the time.  Oh, he’s failed.  Much more than he’s succeeded.  That’s the nature of baseball.  But his effort has never lagged.

And that’s what carries the fans through the lows.  That feeling that though they couldn’t go all the way, they gave it all they had.  It’s a good life lesson.

And when they give all and win, it’s even sweeter.

Now I have a baseball void for the next few months.  Can’t wait for spring training…

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