Sunday, September 14, 2014


You will often hear the expression, “Write what you know” or “Speak from your heart”. For most of us, September 11th will always stir up deep seeded feelings. We feel the spectrum of emotions as the day passes. At first, the familiar sadness returns. Yes, with each passing year we heal a bit more, but like a scar, it will be with us forever. At some point a sense of unity arrives. We see that no matter who we are or where we call home, we all were affected by that horrible tragedy. We may still feel anger. It doesn’t make you a bad person to admit that. So many were taken so quickly and it can make a person experience fits of rage. And then, if we are lucky, we find peace. The peace in knowing that we came back. We didn’t stay down long…that’s just not who we are.

One of the things that has bothered me so much about where we are now as a nation tends to happen on 9/11 more and more. I see it on social media and it adds to the ever growing list of what makes me wish tweets and status updates would just go away. You’ve seen them. The “I’m so over 9/11” folks who can’t help but to show you they don’t buy into seasonal patriotism and tweet things like, “Happy 9/11” or “Where are the big 9/11 BBQs this year”. I don’t understand these people. If, for whatever reason, September 11th 2001 didn’t affect you, and it now causes you to stop listening to NPR for a minute to tweet a snarky thought…do me a favor, just shut up. You aren’t clever. You aren’t cool. You’re just...well, nothing really. Sit with that for a second.

(In photo: Derek Jeter, 2014)
Seeing things like that made me want to go do something that helped so many of us 13 years ago. I went to watch baseball on September 11, 2014. I wanted to see Derek Jeter play one more time, but it was more than that. I wanted to feel what the Yankees and Mets made me feel during that awful time in New York back in 2001.

(In Photo: Derek Jeter, 2001)
It was an escape. We were together, kept a stiff upper lip and showed the world that life would go on. The other night, at Yankee Stadium brought back all of those feelings... the good and the bad.

In a season that has brought so much disappointment, the Yankees reminded me why I’m always love them.

On September 11th, just this past week, the Stadium was filled with American flags. Fans were walking up to members of the NYPD and FDNY to give them a handshake or a hug. The USMC band played a rousing rendition of the Nation Anthem and you could hear people singing all around the stadium. Look, if you aren’t into this kind of stuff…stop reading.  I am, and always will be proud of the men and women who serve. I have a great deal of family who were on the job as New York cops and firefighters. What they did that day…well, I don’t have the words...

The pregame drew to a close, the stadium wasn’t filled, but it was buzzing. The Yankees, behind their Captain, took the field and we were off…and then the wind came right out of our sails.  Alex Cobb was flat out dominant. True, these Yanks aren’t anywhere near Murderer’s Row… face it, they’re not even close to Pick Pocket’s Row. All the same, Cobb was nasty. He kept the lineup off balance and over-matched well into the late innings. I sat there in the left field bleachers muttering to myself, “Please get a hit, boys. This can’t happen today. Not here.”

It was suddenly the 8th and the zeros on the scoreboard seemed to be taunting us. The Stadium was silent and tense…and then he showed up.

I remembering hearing that the Bombers signed Chris Young after the Mets, THE METS mind you, cut him.
Now, I was a fan of Young’s bat when he was in Arizona. He is a solid player, but getting cut over in Queens didn’t make him seem worthy of a contract.  But as we saw in October 2001, anything can happen in the Bronx. Young laced a double to the gap and the Stadium sprung to its feet. It wasn’t much, but the NO-NO was over. We could all breathe again.

Then, like Willis Reed walking back to the floor at the Garden in ’70, Martin Prado strolled to the plate…and…THAT BALL IS HIGH! IT IS FAR! IT! IS! GAAAN! The Yanks were back in the game!

The Stadium was rocking! The Yankees wouldn’t go quietly! It seemed like the Old Stadium again. Yankee fans jumping up and down with each other. It was as if the Ghosts woke up and came across the street. The game however wasn’t close to won as Tex went down swinging after 3 straight. Onto the 9th and I felt like it was Game 7 in 2003. Was there an Aaron Boone in the dugout again?

Chase Headley caught a fastball with his chin and was taken out of the game. Austin Romine, wearing Joba’s old 62, was inserted as the runner. Then, it was up to the ageless one, Ichiro Suzuki. The 40-year-old outfielder gutted out an Ichiro-like at bat and ended up standing on second base.

I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it was because of the day. Maybe it was because I just had been holding it in all season. But when the ball hit Chris Young’s bat I went absolutely crazy! THERE IT GOES! LOOKING UP! C YA! C YA! C YA!!

Everyone in my section were high-fiving and hugging like we had won it all…in a way we had.

The Yankees are no lock for the post season. In fact they’re still a long shot. That may have been the last time I see Derek Jeter play this year. The feeling I get every September 11th will always haunt me. But that Team, this City and OUR game help us all heal a little bit at a time.

Thank you, Yankees. And thank you, NYPD, FDNY, NYPA, U.S. Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Soldiers.

** And We NEVER will…  **

--Mike O'Hara
Senior "Features" Writer
MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
Twitter: @mikeyoh21
   "Paulie was always my favorite player."

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