world series.

The Yankees won the World Series.

When I was just a kid, just learning about baseball, in the first season I ever paid attention, the Yankees got to the World Series on a huge, walkoff home run by Chris Chambliss.  They were swept by the Cincinnati Reds, but I was really too young to understand what was going on.

The following year, they made it again, and this time they beat the hated Dodgers, becoming World Champions.  All the adults around me celebrated – hard – but it didn’t seem like too big a deal to me.  They had just made it the prior year, after all.  I didn’t understand that it had been more than a decade since their last Championship.

One year later, they struggled for most of the season and then mounted a furious comeback, from more than 14 games behind in July to a tie with the Red Sox on the final game of the season.  After a dramatic one-game playoff, followed by another series against the Royals, they made it once more – and beat the Dodgers again.

The first three years I watched baseball, my team made it to the World Series, and won it twice.

And that was it.  Over the years, I learned more and more about baseball, became more and more a student of the game.  I learned more and more about its history, and began to appreciate more and more what three consecutive World Series appearances meant.  It became even more of a big deal as one season bled into another, with the Yankees never making it.

In 1993, they came close.  They finished 7 games behind Toronto, but it was a close 7 games.  In 1994, they were dominating the league, but the player’s strike cancelled the postseason.  In 1995, they became the first American League team to win a Wild Card berth, but lost in a disappointing finish to the Seattle Mariners.

In 1996, they went all the way.  For the first time in 18 years.

It was dramatic and cool.  They needed to beat the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles, just the second time a team had to win two playoff series before entering the World Series.

And then they dropped the first two games to the Atlanta Braves.

When the opening rounds of the playoffs began, I propped myself up on the living room couch, wearing a pair of Yankees sweat shorts, a Yankees T-shirt, and an official Yankees away jersey that Sandy had gotten for my birthday a few years prior.  I wore them every night, and the Yanks ultimately beat Texas.

Without washing the clothes, I wore them again as the Yanks beat Baltimore.

After winning the pennant, though, I tossed the clothes in the hamper.  They were nasty, ratty, really dirty.  I had spilled ice cream on them one night.  They were just gross.  The shorts had holes in them.

Then, the Yanks lost the first two games against Atlanta.

Thankfully, nobody had done the laundry, and I was able to pull the filthy clothes out of the hamper.  Although they were practically standing on their own at that point, I wore them for the last four games of the World Series – and the Yankees mounted an improbable comeback, and took the big trophy.

My in-laws were in New Jersey on the night the Yanks played Game 6.

My in-laws are absolutely lovely people, but I most definitely make a point of being on my best behavior when they’re visiting.  So when the Yankees won, I felt the need to contain my celebration by clapping my hands, yelling “YES!” and doing a little pirouette on the living room floor.

Then, I politely excused myself and walked down the steps to the basement.

Once downstairs, I commenced a proper celebration, springing straight up into the air and throwing one fist outward in excitement.  Unfortunately, though, I neglected to look above my head before leaping, and thus didn’t see the copper pipe that was directly over me.  My head smashed into the pipe with full force, and my legs crumpled under me.  I landed on my knees and watched the world spin around once or twice as I tried to shake off the unbelievable dizziness that was overcoming me.  I felt like I needed to vomit.

I sat there on my knees, tears welling in my eyes, both hands frantically rubbing the top of my head, in complete agony.  My neck hurt.

Sandy yelled down the stairs “Everything all right down there?”

I managed to croak out “I’m fine,” before lying on my back and rolling back and forth, rubbing my head.

My head hurt like an achy bruise for about a week.

I tend to overcelebrate my sports team’s victories, yes.  And the 1996 postseason was the year I realized that the clothes I wear absolutely have a bearing on my team’s ability to win, and thus began my annual tradition of wearing absolutely filthy clothes during every single game until my team either wins, or is eliminated.

None of this has anything to do with Dromedary Records, of course, but the Yankees winning the Series is one particularly happy moment for me at the end of 1996.

~ by Al on November 24, 2009.

One Response to “world series.”

  1. I don’t know as much about baseball as you, Al. But I’ve got plenty of Yankee traditions I try to keep alive.

    The first is that I will generally stop whatever I’m doing, regardless of how important it is, and drop it in order to go to a Yankee game. One of these days, my business rivals will discover that the one sure way to keep me out of a business pitch is simply to buy me tickets to the Yankee game. 😉

    The second is that I stay to the end of the game. Throw whatever nasty Cross-Bronx Expressway traffic you want at me. I don’t care. Too many people I know have missed late-inning comebacks and insane flurries of run production by leaving a Yankee game early.

    The third is my “blind faith rule.” Whenever I see someone trying to apply complex analysis to baseball, particularly in the digital medium, I simply chime in with “The Yankees are winning the World Series this year.” I offer no supporting evidence whatsoever. It’s just a statement of fact. You may notice that I do this to you on Facebook all the time. 🙂

    Seriously, though, I can’t think of any other sports team that I have so many positive memories about. Grabbing onto my Dad’s leg and not letting go when he got to go to a World Series game when I was a little kid, taking my Dad to a Subway Series game, going to games in the bleachers after college and getting rowdy – it’s all good.

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