Pitchers and catchers report at the end of this week, so our Pinch Hitters series is getting near its end. Today we have Lisa Brand, a lifelong Yankees fan who grew up in upstate New York, suffering through those losing teams in the late 60’s and early 70’s. “My father, also a lifelong Yankees fan, got to see all the winning teams of the previous decades,” Lisa wrote, “and (he) taught me all I know about the greatest team in the world. My first Yankee game was a bat day doubleheader, and Mickey Mantle played first base. I have fond memories of the original stadium and being able to pick up a red phone to listen to the voices of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle.” Lisa’s favorite players have ranged from Mantle and Munson to O’Neill and Jeter (with several stops in between).
For her post, Lisa wrote an open letter to Robinson Cano, the theme of which is: Do players really know how good they have it?
Say it ain’t so. You sold yourself out of the Bronx for fear of not having a job at 37 or 38 years old. You feel you got no respect.
Welcome to my world. The world of the average American who will never earn in a lifetime what you have already earned. We are the people who contribute to your salary, yet we never benefit financially, only emotionally in the enjoyment of being a baseball fan and a fan of the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, as you know, are a storied franchise. They are the greatest franchise in all of sports — a team deep in pride and tradition with a legacy that can never be matched by any other.
I guess that didn’t matter to you as much as the fans thought. The 2013 season with Mo and Andy and their farewells wasn’t what you wanted at the end of your career. Monument Park and being the first Dominican to gain entry didn’t matter to you.
You wanted respect and a 10-year contract and job security. Don’t we all want that? These are hard times for all, but not for a Major League Baseball player. Do you really know how lucky you are?
You have it made as far as finances, health care, and a pension. Yes, you are a human being dealing with the same everyday issues and family issues as any one of us. However, you have it a little easier because of a talent to play ball. Yes, you have worked hard at your craft, but you also have benefited from a little bit of luck, and the chance to pursue your dream. Not many of us can say that.
You do not have the everyday worries of trying to make ends meet to support a family, pay the rent, pay the utilities, pay for food, health care, college, and the list goes on and on.
You have the resources and have it easier than most. I guess you’ll never understand my world. Why couldn’t you be more like Paul O’Neill who stayed for less money because he wanted to play for the greatest team? I believe he said he had all the money he needed, and New York was the place to be. Then there’s Carlos Beltran, who took less money to play for a team he always loved. Very respectable.
In closing, you will be missed by Yankee fans, even though we are the ones getting no respect. Good luck in Seattle, but you really won’t need it, not compared to me.
P.S. Thanks for reading and enjoy your 30-day vacation in October!
Associated Press photo