NEW YORK, NY – Coming to you from NOT Yankee Stadium (where the Yanks and the Red Sox will play each other for the first in however many umpteen times this season), I bring you this Yankees Core Four Bore rant. That’s right, I’m going to express some displeasure with the Yankee Organization – my team – so those of you like Angry Ward just hold onto your panties, because I know you can’t wait… so here we go.
Bernie. My Bernie. Bernie Williams. Viva Bernie. “Bern, Baby Bern,” if you will. (And mind you, I am thankful that his name never allowed it to get so bastardized as the god awful Sterling greatness of “Another Yardy from Gardy.” Anyone who knows me, knows how I have and always will love Bernie Williams. And like many others, I’m a little pissed off that Opening Day at Yankee Stadium got fanfare for the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Andy Petitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, but Bernie Williams was not included and has never been included in all this Core Four business. And while Bernie’s debut in the outfield of Yankee Stadium (1991) preceded the Core Four’s on field ’96 debut, Bernie was an integral part of the team through his retirement in 2006, participating in four of the five World Series Championships won since 1996.
In the interest of time, I’ll leave the stats debate to you all – I’ve got Little League practice – but there’s no denying with four Golden Gloves, five All-Star appearances, 1996 ALCS MVP, ’98 AL Batting Champion and his four World Series rings, that Bernie wasn’t a force to be reckoned with.
Understated as he was and is, here are a few other Things to Know and Love about Bernie:
1) He’s Puerto Rican. I’m Puerto Rican. That means we’re cool, we make some good coquito and we know how to dance. Weeepa!
2) He’s a classical guitarist… very talented and well respected! And he usually plays up here in CT at the Ridgefield Playhouse just about every year, so the next time he does… give your Cookie a tweet and we’ll go together. Mrs. Matt.. I’m looking at YOU.
3) Bernie could run… FAST. At the age of fifteen, he competed at an international track and field meet in and won gold in the 200 metres (m), 400 m, 4×100 m relay and 4×400 m relay events for competitors under the age of 17, and the silver medal for the 4×100 m relay among competitors younger than 20.
4) He likes Lord & Taylor! (Me too! Me too!) Way back when, Angry Ward was in Lord & Taylor getting some holiday what-have-you for his family, and as he rounds an escalator, who does he see but Bernie Williams! Bernie was sitting at a table, signing glossy autographs of himself. Alas, no one was there. (I’m not sure the year, but it was early on). So, Angry went and asked him to sign one for yours truly and I’ve still got it to this day.
5) And last but not least… he is a goddamn CLASS ACT. He’s been called “quiet” plenty… perhaps that’s the reason why he has not gotten all the accolades that the Core Four have. I recall with the Yankees when his contract was up, he NEVER talked smack. The NY papers never ran stories with any speculation or any talk from Bernie about other teams or offers being entertained.
Many players these days could learn and thing or two from the way Bernie conducted himself. And you know who was his agent?! Scott Boras. Yup. And if you haven’t suffered enough through the circus of deals Boras has made for the likes of A-Roid and Robinson “I-Need-More-Money-So-Maybe-Jay-Z-Should-Advise-Me-Too” Cano (enjoy your stay with the Mariners, you jerk), then wake up! That guy’s gonna be around for awhile, taking his gigantic percentages off these obnoxious contracts and smiling until the guy with the pitchfork down in the hot place comes to get him.
And Bernie? He clearly told Boras to zip it when it came to the contract negotiations. He stuck to his guns and went through things with grace, style and dignity when Boras was surely shoving him to play hardball for more money.
Class. All the money in the world can’t buy it. Bernie’s got it… That and a loyal fan in me. #51 forever.
Come back tomorrow for a loyal fan of mine, Junoir Blaber.