My mom has spent the last thirty three years of her life protecting her three boys from a cruel, uncaring world. During our childhood- when Mike Pagliarulo manned third, Alvaro Espinoza’a hat sat precariously high on his head, Pascual Perez emoted on the mound, and the Yanks generally were mediocre–she tried her best to guide us through the inevitable disappointments of a baseball season. Her favorite tact was to tell us to turn off the tv when the Yanks game was on. "They’re going to lose. I don’t want you to be upset again." She would say this even if the Yanks had a sizeable lead. She understood the angst-filled nature of a baseball season, especially of a New York season in those days, and she felt it her duty to shield us from all the pain. We were sore losers. A Matt Nokes at-bat might actually bring us to tears, especially if he made an out at a key moment. She saw how baseball affected us and her conclusion was that it was probably bad for us. So when she heard Phil Rizzuto’s voice on the television, it was like Pavlov’s ringed bells and the dogs: "They’re going to lose…."
The odd thing is she continued this practice throughout the glorious dynasty years. The Yanks were not going to lose. I was at college and we’d be speaking on the phone. I’d tell her that I was going to watch the Yanks World Series game against the Braves. And she’d say, "Why are you going to do that? They’re going to lose. I don’t want you to be upset." And then the Yanks won four world series.
She continues telling me these things now. More and more her visions seem prophetic. Certainly, if I had spoken to her after game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, she would have warned me, and I would have ignored her. I probably would have been a lot happier person if I had turned off the set after game 3. So here’s to my mom, whose advice I don’t always follow (and whose advice I shouldn’t always follow by the way). Thanks for trying to help through good times (Tino! Tino!) and bad (Wayne Tolleson).
Happy mother’s day to all the moms out there.