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"We can't all be heroes. Someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

--Will Rogers

My cousin texted me after the World Series ended: "As they say in the end of the 'The Candidate': What do we do now?"

The parade is over. Baseball season is officially over. It's 96 days til pitchers and catchers report to camp and we can do it all over again. A very weird feeling to wrap my head around.

The streets in downtown Manhattan were teeming this morning, from the early hours straight through the afternoon, with hundreds of thousands of deliriously happy Yankee fans clamoring to applaud our city's heroes. The New York Yankees rode up Broadway with discernible expressions of elation and pride, despite the fact this was not a new scene to some of them.

But for others, like CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, this was their first taste of what it's like to be the object of unbridled adoration for an entire city. The 2 stood at the head of their float jumping up and down throwing #1 fingers in the air, CC excitedly holding up his Daily News "Proud to be a New Yorker" poster.

The greatest explosions of cheers erupted when the floats of A-Rod, Jeter, and Mo passed by, but no player went uncelebrated. (I got a big kick out of Phil Hughes taking pictures on his camera phone of everyone screaming "Huuuuuughes.")

Over 1 million showed up to applaud the men who brought victory back to our city, while nearly 200 blocks north, the old stadium was finally really being put to rest. I'm finding it kind of funny, for lack of a better word, how The Powers That Be waited til now to start making significant headway on the demolition.

It's almost as if the only way they could address the problem of the fans who threatened to chain themselves to their seats, was by waiting for these fans to be otherwise occupied. Every Yankee fan in the tri-state area was at Wall Street, and it's like TPTB said to the construction crew, "Ok , GO GO GO! Hurry! You don't know when they'll be back!"

Saying goodbye to the Cathedral is a little less heartbreaking now that Greatness's New Home really feels like home.

"They should do this more often," my buddy Strange commented, as we waited on the corner of Broadway and Exchange for the floats to start driving by. "It's really entertaining." I'm generally one who likes crowds and chaos about as much as I like lead poisoning and 2-day old snow slush. But I can readily make an exception to this when it means I'm surrounded by legions of rabid Yankee fans all galvanizing to watch our team celebrate a World Championship.

"How much would it suck if you were a Phillies/Sox/Met fan right now who worked down here?"

"I can't even imagine."

I had little sympathy, because if you're going to choose to live in our city, then you're bringing it on yourself. As for Mets fans...well, you had the choice to root for the A team or B team, and you chose...poorly.

(Actually, my sister informed me exactly how mature Boston fans were being about the whole thing, citing a Facebook status update saying they, "would feel terrible, just terrible, if a whole strain of swine flu descended upon the Yankee parade right now."

At first, I thought this was a little classless, seeing as how a child just died from it yesterday.
But then I remembered, this was the same guy who likened my Christmas card to terrorist activity. I'm not kidding. He said a picture of the Tyree catch is like looking at a picture of the burning towers. So, all things considered, his sarcastic wish to plague Yankee fans with swine flu is less insidious than originally perceived.)

Strange and I miraculously were able to beat the mass exodus post-parade and make it back uptown in 20 minutes. (I really thought I would be spending the night still sifting through the thick and viscous stream of parade-goers who all had different ideas on the best way to navigate the narrow sidewalk.)

We watched the ceremony at City Hall, and I raised the question what exactly a city key buys you or is it just a symbolic gesture of gratitude. My sister likened it to an honorary diploma, which never seemed fair to me, since she studied biology at Georgetown for 4 years, and then they give an honorary diploma to her graduation speaker who came and talked about Indians or something for 20 minutes.

Apparently the key to the city means you are always welcome there, even if you leave and come back. Which makes me wonder if the same courtesy doesn't extend to us mortals who aren't privy to one of these keys. Am I risking possible bouncer rejection at the doors to Manhattan should I ever leave and return? Yet another reason why I don't like traveling. Now I can add "potential refusal to readmit" onto my laundry list traveling problems.

(Also, I did some research on these keys to the city business, and Detroit gave one to Suddam Hussein. Too many thoughts running through my head on this one..)

Nick Swisher was the first to receive his key, and Hal Steinbrenner (on behalf of George) was the last. And "random" doesn't even begin to cover the order they were distributed. It was like that scene in "Silence of the Lambs" when Hannibal advises Clarice: ""Clarice, doesn't this random scattering of sites seem desperately random - like the elaborations of a bad liar?"

Jay-Z came out to do his "Empire State of Mind" bit, and there's overplayed, and there's this. I LOVE that song. Love it. But I'm a little put off by how it's infringing on Sinatra's territory for Yankee anthem.

Like, I'm bananas for the song "This is Why I'm Hot." But would I want it to replace the Wedding March if I ever end up getting married?

(Well, maybe, actually. A better question, would my mother ever allow this to happen?)

So there was the parade and ceremony. A sublimely fantastic culmination of the past season, which I still cannot believe is actually over.

It has been quite a season indeed. We never doubted them though. Psh, never question my resolve. I made this my New Year's Resolution (the first time I've ever made one about baseball. Usually it's to pay attention to people's names when they introduce themselves so 2 seconds later I don't realize I "forget" what they said, when in reality, I never even listened to what they said in the first place.)

And in my preseason preview of the Yankees, I said to 'Trust me on this one. The Yankees are winning the World Series."

They had to. They HAD to. It's 2009. Maybe I couldn't turn 29 like I wanted to, but I'll be damned if my team isn't winning the World Series in the year of my favorite number. It all was aligning. I moved into a new apartment (on the 9th floor!) on July 29, and on that day, my Yankee Stadium chair finally arrived: Seat #9 (I didn't even special request it!)

I said throughout the year that we'd have the last laugh (comparing this to a Bugs Bunny cartoon, a J-Lo movie, and a host of other nonsense that stemmed from a hysterical outrage that any opposing fan would talk shit about a team that was DESTINED TO BE CHAMPIONS.)

In fact, I'm going to Chicago next weekend to visit a buddy I haven't seen since April 3, on a night where I had to pass off my Cubs-Yanks exhibition game tickets when O'Hare decided they weren't gonna do the whole "connecting flights to NY" thing.

I ended up going out that night with a friend from college, and drunk and angry at Chi-town for holding me hostage while the Cubs were playing in the Bronx--I was out for blood.

"I bet you $100 that the Yanks finish the division in first. Yeah, ahead of the Sox and Rays."

Seemed fitting I would go back to Chicago to bookend the season.

I also got a dinner coming from a Phils fan next week thanks to a won bet.

Soo...thanks for the added bonuses of a championship, Yanks!

From April straight through to November (good God, NOVEMBER? That's another issue.), the Yanks delivered us to the standard ebbs and flows of satisfying fandom.

For me, the season netted out as follows:

The Lows

The Highs

And now it's all over. The parade, the fanfare, the celebrations. Of course, it's not REALLY all over. Because DVDs will be made, and there's paraphenalia to be bought and bets to be settled. There's still commiserating to be done, and reconnecting with all my fellow fans who I've been missing in the last few days on account of the complete whirlwind of activity.

It's a weird feeling, and I first felt it when I finally reluctantly made the decision to call it a "night" at 7am on Thursday morning. Because I went to put on clothes to sleep in and the red sweatpants that I refused to wear (red is bad luck during baseball season, according to me) were suddenly an acceptable pajama choice.

It hit me. I could eat New England clam chowder again. Philly cheesesteaks (although that was a sacrifice that only lasted for the playoffs). Boston cremes. All red articles of clothing. Hell, I can date again.

All my season superstitions are no longer relevant. The only thing that remains is the fact the New York Yankees won the World Series. And for the next year, whenever you see a Yankee fan on the street, you can give the knowing nod.

And whenever a bitter anti-fan sees us, they'll have nothing to say.

There will still be the everpresent "Yankees suck!" drivel, although it will be particularly ridiculous this year.

And of course, we're gonna have to field countless dismissals of the validity of our title because of the payroll argument. And when that fails to sate the haters appetite for destruction, they'll trot out "bandwagon" fans.

But in the words of Brian Cashman, "Call us anything you want. You're also going to have to call us world champions."


  1. Jay Are said...
    Really well done! Great great memories this year! I smiled when I saw your high point of meeting Goose and Coney; my first game I was in a luxury box and got to meet both as well. Both were just great - Cone was so relaxed and friendly and personable. Glad you endjoyed '09. Now on to Mission 28!
    Jeremy said...
    First - I think your mom would be ok with ANY song being played at your wedding ;)

    Second - I once testified before the NYC City Council right after Cone. It was the whole YES/Cablevision fight. Surreal.
    jrh said...
    Great post:

    I agree with the Mets observation:

    I had little sympathy, because if you're going to choose to live in our city, then you're bringing it on yourself. As for Mets fans...well, you had the choice to root for the A team or B team, and you chose...poorly.

    Mom's become surprising conservative when their child's wedding approaches.

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