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This Bad Day in Yankee History

By Todd M. Civin

Every day before today was a carbon copy of the day before at work.

I'd see Braulio at the time clock. I'd punch in at 7:00 on the button. He would wait until 7:07 as if he is anointed with some sort of special privileges.

I nod at the little weasel. He nods at me.

I'm wearing my bright red t-shirt commemorating the Red Sox World Championships in 2004 and 2007. Braulio is wearing that God-awful "Got Championships?" t-shirt with the 26 brightly shining gold rings on it.

It's ripped so his furry belly hangs out, but he doesn't seem to care.

In the distance, I see two more of his Yankee cronies fell in behind him. Like a scene out of Warriors, Braulio and the "Baseball Furies" come walking towards me, spinning their metaphorical baseball bats and clanking glass coke bottles on their gnarly little digits.

"Red Sox fan...come out and plaaaa-ay", cackles the, near toothless, warehouse workers who have immigrated from Da Bronx.

I start to sweat at this point, knowing that I am clearly outnumbered. Outnumbered 26 to seven. The baseball banter begins. It sounds like a scene right out of "Who's On First".

I say "How'd Sabathia look yesterday?"

Braulio, Jose and Guido recite in unison "26 World Championships."

And I say, "Oh yeah, well A-Rod, Clemens, Giambi and Pettitte took 'roids."

And the toothless contingent stammers, "26 World Championships."

So I say, "Only team to CHOKE by blowing a 3-0 lead".

And Da Bombers say, "26 World Championships."

My face turns Red Sox Red and sweat begins to form on my brow. I say, "Well I am rubber you are glue. Anything you say bounces off me and sticks to you." I'd puff out my chest like a peacock and laugh.

Braulio and his posse of wannabes wipe the milk stain from their pre-pubescent mustaches and scratch their collective scalps. Then they say, "26 World Championships."

It continues like this until the Roach Coach arrives at 10:00 or until it's time to start working. Which ever comes first.

But today was unlike the other days. Today I came armed with a throng of facts and barbs fresh out of Billy Martin's closet. I would approach my Yankee foes with an arsenal reminiscent of that of North Korea. Today I would trump even Donald...You see. I now have history on my side.

I got home yesterday and rushed to the mail box with the speed of Little Ralphie waiting for his Ovaltine Secret Decoder ring. I fumbled through the stack of bills, fan mail, and Victoria Secrets ads to see if my "treasure" had arrived.

And there it sat. Wrapped in plain brown wrap like a piece of well disguised Porn, was a small 5" x 5" package with Barnes and Noble imprinted in the upper right corner.

I opted to open it right there as the post man whisked away in his 1970 RFD Jeep. My fingers trembled. My heart beat raced. I reached into the brown envelope and slid it to the top like a five-year old looking for the price at the bottom of a box of Cap'n Crunch.

I threw the envelope to the ground and stared at her. She was beautiful. The cover had a decrepit looking image of crumbling Yankee Stadium. It looked like a scene out of Will Smith's Independence Day. I read the cover.

"This BAD Day in Yankee History" by Gabriel Schecter. I snickered.

Schechter, a renowned Hall of Fame writer, and admitted Yankee Hater has compiled a book/calendar which is a "Must Read" for baseball fans everywhere. Not just for Boston Boys but for anyone who has had their nose pushed in the proverbial poop by any Yankee fan.

The book, with a witty and absolutely incredible Bill Lee-esque Forward by the Space Man himself, bursts from the binding with 365 Days of Anti-Yankee Hatred.

Of course I immediately turn to my birthday (September 9, for those Yankee fans who care to send cards). The words seem to jump from the page.


"Let's Get it Over With"

"1990 - Yes, the Athletics become the first team to sweep a season's series from the Yankees, winning 7-3. It's 3-3 with two outs in the ninth inning when Willie McGee's routine fly ball is caught in a sudden gust of wind and not caught by right fielder Mel Hall. The triple sets up the winning four-run rally."


"Meet The Monster"

"1962 - Rookie Dick 'The Monster' Radatz pitches nine innings of relief to help the Red Sox sweep a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. After an easy 9-3 victory in the opener, Radatz enters in the seventh inning of Game Two. He gives the Yankees one run in nine innings, striking out nine, and the Red Sox push across a run in the 16th inning to win 5-4.


"Maybe Babe Ruth Would Have Driven in Nine"

"With Babe Ruth sidelined with appendicitis, Lou Gehrig drives in eight runs, including a three-run double in the ninth inning to the game in Detroit. But the Yankees waste his heroics, losing 14-13 in fourteen innings, and also lose the game 4-1.


"Quote of the Day"

"1990 - Mel Hall: 'It started off as a regular fly ball, but the wind took it toward the line. I turned and just ran out of room. When I turned I knew I was in trouble."


Schechter fills 365 days with stories of Yankee cheapness regarding contracts, stories of the inmates running the asylum and other tales of Bronx Bomber Buffoonery. As only Schechter can, he presents the "brighter" side of the truth, he manages to tell stories about the 83 years and 62 games per season that the Yankees didn't win instead of concentrating on the mere 26 and 100 times they did.

If you want to see the evil side of the Empire, Schechter's book is a must read. The beauty of the book is its compact size and day-by-day arrangement. Far different from the popular "Fact of the Day" calendars, Schecter's treasure is a day by day reading journal.

You can enjoy a few minutes on the john reading one day at a time or can lie on the hammock in the back yard soaking up 365 days at a time. I personally prefer the latter.

The book is available on line on the publisher's web site, Never Too Much Baseball.

Some of Schechter's other books, which are also mandatory reading for anyone who loves the sport, are Neil Liefer: Ballet in the Dirt, The Golden Age of Baseball, Unhittable; Baseball's Greatest Pitching Season, and Victory Haust; The Rube Who Saved McGraw's Giants.

His entire catalogue of sports books can be found at BarnesandNoble.com

And if you see Braulio and the Baseball Faerie, tell 'em that Todd's looking for 'em.

Someone saw them headed for the dumpster with their tails between their legs.

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