Yankees tribute to Boston is a “diamond jubilee”

The Yankess/Red Sox is one of the great rivalries in sports. On Tuesday night, New York paid tribute to Boston and the bombing victims. Photo: Yankees pay tribute to Boston Photo: AP

CHARLOTTEApril 17, 2013 – Like hot dogs and fireworks on the Fourth of July, there is something about baseball that always reminds us of our American heritage.

During catastrophic times and periods of doubt, no other sport exemplifies the American spirit like baseball. It is an enduring link to our past that forever manages to span the ages. For whatever  reason, baseball is a salve that helps heal the wounds of despair.

Football long ago passed baseball as America’s game, but whenever misfortune strikes, the boys of summer retain their identity with American grit and fortitude as no other sport can. It is an integral part of our national identity. In a sense, baseball defines us as Americans.

To anyone who witnessed the tribute by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the people of New England on Tuesday night, it is impossible not to be affected by the simple act of playing a song. In a serendipitous moment that transcended the sport, the Yankees reminded us all of the greatness of our people that has for so long been fading from our once proud persona.

To realize the magnitude of the Yankees gesture, you must first know some of the history behind it. When you understand the story, you immediately realize the power of its message that reaches far beyond the game itself.

Each year on Patriot’s Day, the Boston Red Sox play a game at Fenway Park which begins at 11 a.m. This year the game against the Tampa Bay Rays ended in a rousing celebration when Mike Napoli slapped a hit off the Green Monster in left field to drive home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

A short time later, as Sox rode the team bus to Logan Airport for a road trip in Cleveland, the joy disappeared amid clouds of turmoil and despair as two bombs exploded just a few blocks from the ball park. The world famous Boston Marathon, a gala event filled with American tradition, had been shattered by a devastating act of terrorism.

Most sports fans know the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox is one of the most intense in all of sport. It signifies an enduring struggle by an entire region of the country against a single city and their players in pinstriped uniforms.

While the Yankees were winning a record 27 World Series titles, the Red Sox battled for 86 years to win a championship. When Boston traded Babe Ruth to New York the move became known as “The Curse of the Bambino.” Over the decades countless stars added to the aura such as Mickey Mantle against Ted Williams and Roger Clemens who began his career in Boston before defecting to New York.

There were other names as well. “Bucky” (bleeping) Dent and Aaron (bleeping) Boone both ripped out Boston’s heart when victory was at hand and the end of the curse was in sight.

Occasionally there were even on-field brawls when tensions became so high that players took their emotions to the diamond itself.

It all changed in 2004., however, when the gods of baseball finally smiled down on Boston.

The Red Sox and Yankees met in the playoffs for the American League championship and the right to go to the World Series. In the first three games, New York dominated Boston, and it appeared another year of frustration would end in all-too-familiar fashion.

Down three games to none, Boston had to achieve something never before accomplished in baseball history. They had to win four straight games to be champions. The first two games ended with Sox victories in extra innings on dramatic home runs by David Ortiz.

Boston won another close one in game 6 in New York, before winning the crown in game 7 by a score of 10 – 3.

So dramatic was the feat that the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which broke the curse in just 4 games, seemed anti-climatic for most Red Sox fans.

On opening the following year, as the World Championship flag was raised over Fenway, Yankees players stood on the top step of their dugout and applauded the Red Sox along with 35,000 Boston fans. Chief among them were two of New York’s most prominent stars, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. Among Boston’s favorite traditions late in a game is playing Neil Diamond’s song “Sweet Caroline” where the entire crowd stands and sings. So popular has it become that games do not resume until the song is finished.

With the Sox out of town and the Yankees at home on Tuesday, Boston’s fierce New York rivals paid to tribute to their century-old opponents by playing “Sweet Caroline” between the third and fourth innings. New Yorkers stood and they sang and then they cheered.

It was a class act by one of the classiest organizations in baseball that far surpassed the meaning of a  simple baseball game.

On this night, baseball proved that, indeed, “diamonds are forever.” Neil Diamond belting out one of his classics while players on a diamond honored fellow competitors and Americans in a diamond studded tribute.

No other sport can bring Americans together like baseball.

Contact Bob at  <ahref=”https://plus.google.com/#110562793209908234170/?rel=author”>Google+</a>

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.




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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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