I don’t remember many details of this story. It was sometime during the 2008 season, and my old friend Donnie Collins was finally getting out of Scranton for a day to see a game at Yankee Stadium. It was the last year for the old place, Donnie hadn’t been to a game there in a while, and he was excited about watching a baseball game that had nothing to do with work. He wouldn’t have to write a thing. It would be nothing at all like the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees games we’d both covered.
So Donnie got to the park, and the Yankees starting pitcher was … Dan Giese, the same guy Donnie and I had covered through five different seasons beginning with the years when Scranton was a Phillies affiliate.
Not exactly the escape-from-reality that Donnie had in mind, but I can’t imagine it bothered him much. Giese was an awe-shucks guy who’d gotten to the big leagues by pitching very well for a long, long time until someone gave him a chance. If you’re in this business, you can’t help rooting for a guy like that. Might rip him in the paper when he pitches poorly, but you’re happy for him when things work out.
Here’s what I liked about Aryeh’s post this morning: The stories. When his file came in at roughly 2,000 words, I groaned. Blog posts creak under the weight of that much writing. I just finished writing a pretty lengthy feature story for the paper, and I was told it had to be below 2,000 words to fit. I certainly didn’t think 2,000 words of sentimental all-stars would be a fun read.
But it was. Because the post had personality, and it had personal connections, and those two things matter in this game. Seeing an otherwise forgettable player hit a memorable home run matters. Sharing a connection with a player, no matter how insignificant, matters.
As I’ve written several times, that’s the reason I think this Yankees team — even though it wasn’t exciting to see it put together — might be a lot of fun to watch. There’s something enjoyable about familiar faces that have already created a connection.
Associated Press photo