It’s always the small stuff…
The awards continue for the non-Yankee world. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Tigers’ Max Scherzer were awarded with the coveted Cy Young Awards. The Cy Young Award, named for the legendary Hall-of-Fame pitcher, is awarded every year, voted on by the BBWAA (sportswriters) to the best pitchers in the NL and AL. Past Yankee winners include: Bob Turley (1958), Whitey Ford (1961), Sparky Lyle (1977), Ron Guidry (1978), and Roger Clemens (2001 — 1 of his 7 awards, current record holder). CC Sabathia also won the award in 2004 but while he was with Indians. And while I always want to see a Yankee win the award, this year, I have to say these other players certainly deserve the recognition.
And speaking of awards, there is another awards that the public actually can help vote on — the GIBBYs (the Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards). There are plenty of Yankees to vote for — Robinson Cano (Hitter), Mariano Rivera (Closer), Mariano Rivera (Comeback Player), David Robertson (Set-up Man), the Triple Play (Play), Ichiro’s 4000th Hit (Moment), Rivera’s All-Star Game (Moment), Rivera’s Long Goodbye (Storyline), Alfonso Soriano’s multiple home run game (Hitting Performance), Thunder in the Bronx (Oddity), and Rivera’s return to Kansas City (Cut 4 Topic). So get on the site and vote and vote often. I know I’ve voted more than my share already.
Actually, it was nice to take some time to rewatch those games discussed above to remember some of the really great moments of 2013. When I think back to the moments I spent in a baseball stadium this year, the moments (outside of the really big ones like Rivera’s last game or Ichiro’s 4000th hit or one of many Jeter-returns) that I remember and will cherish about this year are the little things. Like on Hideki Matsui Day, the entire stadium was so electric already from the pre-game ceremonies and just jumped to a ridiculous level on that first pitch home run from Jeter on his major return for 2013. I think of Gabe’s 90th birthday party where all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren showed up to honor this World War II veteran on his milestone birthday. I think of the resiliency of Cano returning to the overzealous Royals’ fans and proving them right (“they only boo you if you’re good”) by leading the Yankees to a wonderful weekend sweep. And so many moments from Spring Training, from the guys horsing around on the sidelines to watching children jump for joy getting a ball from their favorite player to getting to know the vendors and security people so well you know their children’s names.
But I suppose those are the moments you can’t award because the moments you hold nearest your heart can never be given tangible credit for the impact they make on your life. Those moments are what makes a baseball game the best game on the planet — the stuff you that isn’t tangible in the first place. But that’s what you tell your kids about. I think of the way Billy Crystal describes the Yankees from when he was a kid, watching the greats like Mantle and Maris duke it out in ’61 and then put into great detail in his movie *61. He doesn’t just talk about the box score or what happened. He describes the sights, the smells, the atmosphere, the little things that make up a day at the park.
Speaking of Crystal’s movie impact, one of my favorite scenes in all of baseball movie history is from the recent family movie Parental Guidance. Crystal’s character is telling his grandson about a great event in baseball history (“The Shot Heard ‘Round The World”) and plays it on the iPod for him. But first, he has his grandson close his eyes and imagine the whole scene, the sights, the sounds, the smells, putting himself in the scene as if he could go back in time 60-odd years and experience it himself — something he also allows the audience to do, perhaps for the first time ever.
So I guess the moral of all this is to take a moment to enjoy the little things that make up a game. In the mean time, what’s your favorite moment from the 2013 season — not the big ones but the tiny things most people won’t ever see? All this is just making me really excited for the 2014 season because you never know what can happen at a ballpark.