Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At the Point of Intersection between Perdition and Redemption

I must have fallen and struck my head. I could have sworn that I heard on the radio yesterday and read in yesterday's papers that the big dude who plays running back for the New York Football Giants (a full title that has grown more and more ludicrous with every decade (we are now 1/3 of the way through the sixth) since the New York Baseball Giants moved west to San Francisco), Brandon Jacobs told the press after Sunday night's debacle in Indianapolis that his hurling of his helmet into the stands was "unintentional".

He claimed that, in fact, he was aiming for the Giants bench (a/k/a "the place where his teammates and coaches are") and missed. The helmet, once launched, traveled in flight until it came to rest some half-dozen rows deep in the stands, which suggests two not necessarily mutually exclusive things to me. First, Jacobs' explanation about how his helmet ended up where it did is....shall we say...."unfactual" (Does anyone else wonder if the Republican candidate for the United States Senate might be able to conjure up a spell to make herself sound less like an idiot and is anyone willing to bet on whether there is enough magic in the moonlight to make that possible?) Second, he has been taking his throwing lessons from his quarterback. I guess this is not the season in which the G-Men make the halfback option pass part of their offensive repertoire....although judging by Sunday night's performance using the word "repertoire" to describe the Giants' offensive attack is generous to say the least.

Jacobs did what all public figures do these days after getting caught elbow-deep in the Jar O' Chips Ahoy. He offered a pseudo-apology. Par for the course, his was of the half-hearted, half-assed variety and relied more heavily on the incredibly inane alibi at its core than on a genuine expression of remorse. He is not the first one to do so. He most certainly will not be the last. For our purposes here and now he is merely the latest one.

I could not help but wonder - on the subject of apologies involving present or former members of the New York sports universe (as if you did not know that is the subject we are discussing) - in whose back the hatchet has been buried in Yankeeland. Perhaps it was the announcement that Joe Torre was not going to return to manage Los Angelenos next season that paved the path to reconciliation? Or maybe it was the related announcement that his protege and Yankee legend Don Mattingly was going to take over the job from him salved enough of the wound that has festered between Torre and his own Axis of Evil (Cashman, Levine and the Silver Spoon Twins) since he was thrown overboard after the 2007 season that permitted Torre and Mattingly to appear at the Stadium last night. They were there for the occasion of Boss George's plaque being added to Monument Park. Torre being in the building was not only okay, it was appropriate.......as it was when in late September 2008 the Yankees played their final home game across the street at the "old" Yankee Stadium. Except on that September night, Torre was not in the building. And his name was not uttered aloud one time.

Over this past weekend Brian Cashman continued to spout the same unbelievable pap he has been dishing out ever since Torre left about the non-existence of any feud between the Yankee hierarchy and the man who managed them to four of their twenty-seven world championships and continued to proclaim that Torre was welcome any time.....as long as the day fell at some point between the third Sunday of never and the day on which Hell officially froze over. Yet, in an astounding change of pace rather than the gap between what is said and what is meant by the Bronx Billionaire Boys Club representing the difference between what is proper and what is petty, the Boys stepped up.

On the occasion of the installation of the monument memorializing who the Boss was and what he achieved for the Yankees during his time at the helm, the Yankees decided to invite, "those who had a significant role in the Steinbrenner years." Inasmuch as Torre's Yankees won twice as many World Series titles in the twelve years he managed the team as the franchise won in the two-plus decades that Steinbrenner owned them prior to Torre's arrival, Torre's place at the ceremony was self-evident.

Doing a good thing does not always erase the memory of having done something less than good -at least in my experience. But perhaps every now and again enough water passes beneath our bow that bygones sometimes can be forgotten.


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