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Thursday, November 22, 2012

GOING HOME: BASEBALL & THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is a homecoming of sorts for Americans near and far.  Interestingly enough, as the new movie Lincoln hits movie theatres across the country, the man who proclaimed the fourth Thursday a day for “general blessings” here in the United States understood the significance of this day long before it became a catalyst for the holiday season, sensationalized with Black Friday specials.  And baseball, another American tradition, goes hand in hand with that home like feeling one gets when he or she feels connected in a special way to a group of special people. 
Baseball is about making connections with your teammates and your fans.  And it is these special connections that lead to a gratifying career, no matter how you play the game that day or how many times you strike out.  The connections will support you.  The connections will enable you to celebrate the highlights and get over the lowlights.

How will our Yankees celebrate Thanksgiving this year? They began the celebration early in wake of Hurricane Sandy by donating $500,000 to the NBC Hurricane Relief Telethon a couple of weeks ago. Read HERE. They are collaborating with Cloudbreak Group to donate 20% of their online sales for their newly launched fragrance line (HERE), and Gate 2 has been turned into a collection portal for donations for hurricane victims.

(In Photo: Joe Girardi collecting Sandy Relief at Gate 2 at Yankee Stadium)
Ray Negron has collected a variety of big name celebrities and players to help out in a concert at the Tilles Center on November 29th, read RAY NEGRON TAKES CHARGE JUST LIKE STEINBRENNER DID BEFORE HIM .  Many Players have personally done their part as well to support the community and victims of Sandy.  These sorts of connections are what Americans are known for.  On and off the field, baseball players make a difference in people’s lives.
“Baseball and Thanksgiving are the two things you have to understand if you want to understand Americans,” said Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in her book The Almost Daily EMos:  Mostly Reverent Emails (HERE).   See, baseball is a tradition, unique and celebratory, much like Thanksgiving.  We celebrate going home and frankly, isn’t that the point of baseball- getting home?  And getting home more often!

At Thanksgiving, we travel by bus, train, plane or automobile to get home but in baseball, players travel by way of a home run, stolen base or multiple hits that drive runners across home plate, scoring at least one more run that their opponent.  It is a simple game, really, probably a lot easier than cooking and carving a turkey for a room full of hungry family members.
Walt Whitman wrote (HERE), “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game.”  True, it is our game.  And we have shared it with the world.  Our players are some of the most revered celebrities of today.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez certainly are household names in homes near and far.  We could definitely branch out into the team itself, with the interlocking N Y being one of the most recognized logos and brands in the world and the Yes Network in the top ten of most valued companies according to Forbes Magazine.  We have shared our hometown players with the world by way of national television, the Internet and through legends of the game.  Our Yankees across the centuries have attracted families to its famed stadium in the Bronx, furthering the special on field connection fans not only have to their players but to their team.

Billy Crystal famously shares his first time “when you walked up that tunnel into Yankee Stadium, you never realized how green that grass was.”  It was awe inspiring experience, much like the excitement that Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer describes (HERE) when “I was 9 years old, wanting to be a ballplayer, and then 10 years later, I was 19 and came in in a doubleheader my rookie year in the big leagues and struck out Mantle, Maris and Howard with the bases loaded in relief...

(In Photo: Jim Palmer)

All name brands, all people who we remember in our unique experiences with the game. “

So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and talk about the days of yesterday gathering around a special meal and yes, football, another American tradition, let’s think about the importance of just going home and re-connecting with our memories, our family and the ways we share these important parts of our lives with others.  And if the Yankees are in one of those special memories, think about the significance sharing an amazing day at the ballpark with your family- perhaps priceless!



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof




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