Thursday, March 13, 2008

City Slicker at the Plate

Okay, everyone who knows me knows that I'm no lover of the Yankees. But I have to admit that I thought it was cool that they signed Billy Crystal to a one-day contract, granting one of their most vocal fans the dream of a lifetime one day before his 60th birthday. Crystal served as a DH and in his one and only at-bat led off the game against Pittsburg lefthander Paul Maholm. I thought he looked in good shape and possibly had a chance against a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.60. Despite ripping the second pitch foul, Crystal ultimately struck out. I'm sure he would have liked to get a hit, but at least he made contact!

I've read and heard critics bemoaning this as a publicity stunt, and it sure did get publicity this afternoon. Sure, this may have indeed been some insidious plot by the Head of the Evil Empire to try to distract Yankee fans from the pain of failing to win a World Series title in 7 years. Or a feeble attempt to win their hearts and minds with comedy when they still suffer from the tragedy of allowing one of the best managers in team history fly west. Or to ease the pain of having to watch two of their best pitchers in recent years get tangled up in a substance abuse scandal this off-season by fulfilling the dream of a beloved wannabe batter from Long Island.

No matter what the Yankees' real motive was, what Billy Crystal got to experience today was something many of us baseball fans only can dream about. As I am about to turn 40 this year, I can only hope that opportunities to reach my goals still present themselves as I get older. And it looks like more stunts like this may be coming - next up, the Lakers are going to allow Jack Nicholson to suit up and enter a game just so he can commit a flagrant foul, NASCAR officials will be assigning a car to Mel Gibson so he can drive around drunk until he gets pulled over and starts spouting nonsense, and the Chicago Bears will put George Wendt on the offensive line until the actor gets hit so hard he forgets he ever was in "Space Truckers".

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