Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Here in New York, in the summer, there is a Great Divide among those of us who follow the American Pastime. On the one side and in the majority are the eternally gloating, black-hatted fans of the team resident in the Bronx with their 26 trophies. On the other are the blue-hatted minority (but a considerable one) with their less-than-lovable wanna-be team trying to stay relevant in a swampy part of of town called (unbecomingly) Flushing.

I mention this in order to point out that the once-mighty Bronx team, manned in its heyday by graceful, iconic figures that held home-run trophies in one hand and hot dogs in the other; that swatted hits in more games running than some players get hits in a season (and later marrying Marilyn Monroe); that played drunk but hit balls way out past the train station anyway; that said "Holy Cow" and somehow managed to be in the middle of every winner; that caught more winning World Series games than anyone, ever, and was maybe more quotable than Walt Whitman; that played in more games consecutive than anyone in his day and then gave an iconic speech (again, as quotable as any of the greats of history) when gravely ill; that, though temperamental, shot World-Series home-runs in preternatural succession and, to be fair and more recent, somehow found ways to jump into the stands or race across foul lines to save games when they mattered--this team (the iconic one from the Bronx, not the pale imitation of a winner from Flushing)--has now become the home of not one or two, but at least four superstars who have admitted or been all-but-convicted of cheating by using a combination of banned substances known as steroids.

Didn't we--the non-Bronx-club-fans--always feel (or anyhow at least in the last few years and certainly since one of the black-hatted, pumped-up 'roidmeisters tried to attack our star catcher with the sharp sliver of a bat) that something was just plain wrong with the Yanks? Didn't it seem like some kind of bad-faith for the gloating gloaters to gloat so gloatingly over the artificially enhanced feats of their mega-wealthy, jack-ass "superstars" (you know who they are); and didn't it seem not just like a fitting let-down when the team couldn't manage to get past the first round of the playoffs, but some kind of cosmic justice?

And can it seem like anything but the final disgrace for it now to be revealed, much as we had all suspected but could not more than insinuate, that even the tiny-man-in-a-big-body called A-Rod has now been revealed as a fake, a sham, a cock-up, a puffed and coiffed and juice-injected rip-off?

Not that the Flushing flops have a lock on dignity. But has it not seemed for quite some time--admit it now--that the team of 26 Championships had, over the past several years, not only lost its mojo, but become, even while "winning", a sorry, shameful, empty fraud?

And can we now be forgiven for feeling like fans of said fraudulent enterprise perhaps should own up to this fact and at least stop the gloating?