by: Jerry Lumpe (Lives)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – So anyway, last week these Matt guys call me up and ask if I could do a post. I said,

“Sure Matts, how much do I get paid?”

They just laughed – and laughed. So I said, “Just this one time.”

Now, I’m not much for these intellectual topics you guys spout about, and I never watched much television – ‘cept baseball – so all I can do is share a few things that just burn my tail.

First off, I just don’t think today’s players have as much fun as we did when I was on the Yankees. They’re all wound up tighter than a stockbroker’s butt. All these spoiled little corporations – runnin’ around in their cutsie-utsie, form-fittin’ uniforms – about as masculine as my grandmother’s pajamas. I just don’t get it.

These kids just don’t know what being on a team really means.

Take the Mets: They’re a bunch of dang individuals – and it shows. There’s no spirit. There’s no camaraderie, even when they’re winning a little. Why, I’d bet my entire 1958 Yankee salary that David Wright has never been to Jose Reyes’ house for burgers and a cold beer. And that’s a damn shame. Why, Mickey Mantle had me over tons of times – and after I was done mowin’ his lawn and hand-washin’ his underwear, he’d let me stay and clean out his septic.

My old Yankee clubs were a close group. We loved each other. We hung out on the train, talked baseball, and played practical jokes. And it was all in fun. Hell, one spring, just for laughs, Whitey Ford got my wife pregnant.

Today’s managers puzzle me; I think they’re out of touch. I think they spend too much time looking at their computers and their stat books and their damn scouting reports, and not lookin’ out on the damn field to see what’s going on – they just don’t seem to know the game at all. I can’t figure out this Girardi fella, and there’s times when I don’t think this Manuel could manage an Acme.

Now, when I played, the Yankees had a REAL manager – the old perfessor, Casey Stengel. Not only was he ahead of his time when it came to platoonin’ players, but he knew how to lift the mood of a whole ball club after a few losses. Hell, I remember like it was yesterday – whenever we blew a couple in a row, Casey would come in and dance around the locker room in nothin’ but a pink tutu, singin’ “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of my Hair.” Hell, that old bastard was a stitch. We’d laugh like hell, and then go out and win ten straight. We all loved Casey – to most of us, he was the effeminate uncle we never had.

Finally, I am sick and tired of today’s players blamin’ the media for everything. They give up a home run – it’s the media’s fault. They pop up with the bases loaded – it’s because they got ripped in the paper the day before. They strike out with the winning run on third – it’s cause of some reporter’s stupid question. It’s just silly. Players today just don’t know how to handle the media.

Well, we did.

Case in point, one time a Boston writer wrote a nasty column about Bill Skowron – sayin’ he was an “oaf,” “a butcher in the field,” and “overrated,” and that he “didn’t deserve to be an All-Star all those times,” and if he “wasn’t on the Yankees he’d be picking up trash in Chicago.” Well, as you can guess, that just steamed old Moose. So he found that writer, kidnapped him, and then clubbed him to death with his favorite Hillerich & Bradsby.

Oh, I know, I know, it sounds kinda bad in retrospect, I admit that, but this was the fifties. And besides, if Ted Williams had killed a Boston writer or two early on, maybe they wouldn’t have been so tough on him up there.

Funny side story – two NY policemen caught Moose right in the act. But luckily Mickey Mantle was there, and gosh, with that slow Oklahoma drawl, he could just charm the habit off a nun when he wanted to. In the end, the cops helped bury the guy.

It was great bein’ a Yankee.

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