Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Lifetime of Loyalty

("They Hook You When You Are Young")

One factor that Mr. Stephens-Davidowitz does not account for in his calculations, is that for those of us well into our seventh decade, there was no Met team (good or bad) to divide our attention or loyalty when we were forming our lifelong baseball attachments as 8 year olds.

The Mets, Jets, the Devils, Islanders and Nets hold no moment for me, whatever their level of success in the years after their formation, as my psyche was permanently attached to the ups (and downs) of the Yankees, Giants, Rangers and Knicks at the optimal sports obsessed moment of my youth. I was born in 1952 and none of these interlopers even existed in 1960, except for a fledgling American Football League team named the Titans that begun operations that very season.

For the Rangers and the Knicks, those were mainly sour times. What I recall most of those days was taking pride only in the number of saves made by Gump Worsley (not the far too few wins) or the magic of Richie Guerin (dismissing the fact that he was a very poor man's Bob Cousy).

So yes, I have bled Yankee pinstripes my entire life, and maybe much had to do with the greatness of Mantle, Ford, Berra and Maris. But with the Giants and Dodgers having exited for the West coast before 1960, and with possibly the worst team in baseball history (how can you not love Ed Kranepool) not operating until 1962, the Yankees were (literally and figuratively) the only game in town.

Thus, maybe success is not the overriding criteria for a lifetime of loyalty. I was hooked not from the residual effects of great triumph but merely from the presence of these franchises each and every day, come heaven or hell.

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