Pride and the Pinstripes

Grin 'n' Barrett

There she stands, proud, solid, white. The shining home of the Bronx Bombers looks like a baseball stadium, a palace of horsehide and oak, not a warehouse hidden between dilapidated storefronts and a disco. We even have a five-story Louisville Slugger out in front. Try to top that, whydoncha?

The only reason I make this embarrassing comparison between Yankee Heaven (a very big place, indeed) and Fenway (a cute little pasture well suited for cute also-rans) is that I am tired of apologizing for the descendents of the Great Ones. Immortals they are not, but Jackson and Guidry and Nettles and John will certainly avenge last year's aberration. And I am not ashamed of my faith, even here among the Philistines.

Yes. the Yankees are overpaid, but so are the Red Sox and the members of the LPGA and all of the other people who spend their adulthood hitting, chasing and throwing things for money. The Yankees are no more evil than any other organization because they reward their gladiators on a particularly ridiculous scale. There is little honor in the business of baseball; the honor is on the field, where the Yankees strut with pride and the Red Sox drown in tragedy.

Not tragedy like the "Poseidon Adventure," although the 1978 debacle certainly ranks with the greatest shipwreck imitations ever seen, but tragedy as in Aristotle and the "Poetics" and "Antigone." Irresistible tragedy.

You know, and I know, that the Red Sox will never win another World Series, ever. It would spoil the cathartic effect of a Boston season. Sox fans are able to face the unpleasantires of the New England winter only after being reassured that no one can fall as far or as hard as the unhappy clowns of Fenway have every year since 1918.


The Yanks, on the other hand, expect to win. Their fans, as Roger Angell says, think championships are their due. That's called pride. We don't moan at mid-season, "We're winning now, but it'll go down the tubes by September." That's called self-pity.

At the moment, the Bombers are battling the ever-fearsome Birds from the north for first place. Look for the Sox and the Maryland Pigeons to make a run for it, but the champs will reclaim the throne. And we are not ashamed.