My sister used to drive me to Yankee Stadium in her white Renault with the push-botton transmission and shabby chic French design. What looked stylish in Paris wasn’t making it in NYC, and, certainly not in the South Bronx. The neighborhood home boys in Hunts Point, in the shadow of the D train, where we found ourselves lost, saw us coming like a homerun soaring over the short right-field porch.
“How do we get to Yankee Stadium?”
“You got to get back on the Triboro” said one young man.
We did. We arrived, albeit a little late. And this young teenager was thrilled to be in the House That Ruth Built.
We were chillin with the boys in pinstripes; even those boys in that bombed out neighborhood that later on, was visited by President Jimmy Carter as the No. 1 locale for urban renewal, weren’t upset with these two, scrub-faced Long Islanders out of their element.
We were Yankees. We shared that bond.
Flash forward 35 years. Joe Torre, the Yankee manager who brought the Yanks to the playoffs every year for the last dozen, not to mention four World Championships, was leaving. He would no longer be the Yankee manager.
“Joe Torre. Gone! I’m sick. All of New York is angry,” read the e-mail from my sister who lives in upstate New York.
As a transplanted New Yorker, I still love the Yankees but I’ve become a solid Angels fan. So, not being in New York anymore, I did not share her angst. I felt the Yankees needed a change.
Today’s news, that Torre will manage the Los Angeles Dodgers, took me by surprise.
I love Torre. He’s an Italian-American, an icon that resonates on the streets of New York and the suburbs of Long Island and New Jersey. Like me, I feel he’ll be a bit out of place in LA, in La-La land, even if he and Tommy Lasorda really are friends. I hesitate to ask what the rest of New York is thinking. Most Yankee fans are NOT Dodger fans.
I’m waiting for another e-mail from my sister.