Jesse Rosenthal is our next Pinch Hitter. He’s a 28-year-old Yankees fan who grew up in Massachusetts, despite the fact his parents are from the Bronx. Now living in Hong Kong, Jesse works for Pepsi (which he proudly notes is the official soft drink of the Yankees).
Jesse attended the final game at the old Yankee Stadium, and the clinching Game 5 of the 1999 ALCS at Fenway. “When faced with the question of where I’m from, I always feel compelled to include the fact that, though I’m from Massachusetts, I’m a Yankee fan,” Jesse wrote. “It’s been a a very good conversation starter over the years, though it has been far less effective out here in Hong Kong.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’re well aware that some of the most sensitive and confidential state secrets have systematically been exposed to the public through an organization known as WikiLeaks. These have been deemed “attacks on the international community” by the US, and have received both praise and criticism.
One school of thought is that the public should be privy to such information, regardless of the damage it could do to international relations. On the other hand, many believe that such sensitive and valuable information should be kept private no matter the degree to which it may affect our lives.
In November, just as the baseball season was coming to a close, WikiLeaks began releasing US State department diplomatic cables. With the Yankees disappointing postseason fresh in my mind, I naturally began to connect the news du jour with our beloved team and wondered about the impact of a hypothetical “WikiLeaking” of the New York Yankees,” a massive disclosure of all the top Yankee secrets that we never knew existed.
I asked myself first and foremost, what are the most treasured Yankee secrets? Surely in some vault or encrypted database only acceptable by fingerprints and eyeball scanners, there lies a massive volume of proprietary information. Within these volumes are not the normal batting average and ERA statistics that we can find on our own through a multitude of websites out there. There are not even the arcane, sabermetric stats that the guys with Harvard degrees enjoy analyzing until the sun comes up.
In this vault, I thought, are full biographies of each Major and Minor League player, with such minutia as their preferred meals, sleep cycles, deepest fears, and most embarrassing fetish. Within these volumes are the engineering plans of each stadium, complete with the location of the sprinkler systems in the outfield, the exact tilt of the first and third base lines, and the density of the dirt on the pitchers mound. There are the hand signals used by each team in every game over the past 25 years. There are the phone numbers and addresses of the 10 loudest and most obnoxious fans of each team, the ones whose voices travel to the field. Within these volumes that have remained secret to the rest of us for decades lies information that we as fans cannot even fathom, let alone understand how to utilize. Within these volumes lies the difference between a true off-season target and a phony offer made to increase the competitive bid.
After going through the limitless possibilities of what this information could be, I then began to wonder what type of damage would be done to the Yankees if the public was given unbridled access to it. After all, it can be argued that the 1988 World Series was decided by a single shrewd piece of private information. Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk and yet called on to pinch hit in Game 1, had been told by a scout named Mel Didier that, if faced with a 3-2 count against lefties, Dennis Eckersley threw nothing but back-door sliders. We know how that at-bat turned out.
Imagine if that private scouting report was made public prior to the game. We may very well have seen Gibson strike out on a chest high fastball to end Game 1, and the A’s could have gone on to win the World Series.
I pose the following 3 hypothetical questions to all Yankee fans out there:
1. What information could possibly be leaked to the public if WikiLeaks ever targeted the New York Yankees? (Creative responses appreciated).
2. What would be the aftermath of such information becoming public?
3. Would you, as fans, want to know these secrets, or prefer to be kept in the dark?
Associated Press photo of Joe Girardi, standing ready to protect his secret binder