September 19, 2007

To Shelley: You Are the Ultimate Yank Legend

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As opposed to my last column where I struggled for a topic, this time around, there is a wealth of sports topics to write about. From the Patriots cheating, to Donovan McNabb’s comments yesterday and O.J. Simpson. But from the plethora of topics, I have selected the Yankees. No, this won’t be another column praising A-rod — because I will hate him come mid-October — but the man of the hour, my man Shelley Duncan.
For all of you people who don’t have ESPN running on your television sets 24 hours a day — like myself — Duncan made headlines yesterday by signing an autograph for a Boston Red Sox fan.
Every Red Sox fan was probably caught off-guard when they heard the news — and probably were skeptical. Every pinstripe fan was probably mad at Shelley — and considered putting the first baseman on waivers.
Finally, all you baseball fans outside of New York and Boston are probably thinking that it was a great gesture. The fact that a kid can get an autograph from a baseball player, despite the fact that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is the most heated in sports speaks to the fact that baseball, in the end of the day, is still a game. Or so you thought.
If you thought that the little Red Sox fan — how misguided is he? — got a genuine autograph from a Yankees player, you just don’t understand the rivalry or better yet, baseball.
What did my good friend Shelley Duncan give him? Nothing really, just a piece of paper that reminded him that the game and the rivalry existed off the field as well as on it.
The paper read, “Red Sox Suck!” — and yes, it had an exclamation point — accompanied by a signature from Shelley Duncan.
Duncan, who just moved into my top-5 power rankings of current favorite Yankees, probably hurt the kid’s heart but did what was necessary.
The funny thing about it, little 10-year old Griffin Whitman and his parents were mad about it. What did they expect? Such a gesture would have set back a rivalry that has existed ever since Babe Ruth came over to the Evil Empire.
And while, many of you might question Duncan’s professionalism in the matter, the real focus should be on the parents of that misled young man. As if being Red Sox fans was not bad enough, they are not even training their son to be a loyal fan.
If you are going to stand by the Sox, stand by them. Don’t walk up to the man who will try to ensure your playoff exit and ask him for an autograph. That premise is just out of the question.
If it were my son who asked Coco Crisp for an autograph, I would tell Hero — yes, I will name my son Hero — that his XBOX360, Family Guy and weekend privileges have been stripped away for awhile. In fact, he couldn’t even watch any television until he wrote me a comprehensive report, detailing the Yankees dominance over the Red Sox over the past, I don’t know, 100 years or so. But that’s just how I feel about it.

Quote of the Week
“I thought what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” O.J. Simpson said after being charged with 10 felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping, for his involvement in a Vegas casino-hotel this weekend. O.J., you almost made it too easy to write about you, so I will save you the criticism.