Monument Park, Bronck’s Farm —What’s in a number? Well, plenty if you pay close enough attention. Take the New York Yankees. Please. The Bronx Bombers announced yesterday that they will retire the numbers of 2 members of their famed “core 4” this Summer. Jorge Posada (#20) and Andy Pettitte (#46) will be honored and deservedly so. The third deserving ex-Yank who will also be honored is of course Bernie Williams, (#51) whom I’ve always felt was overlooked and needlessly excluded from “core 4” consideration. And unlike Pettitte, Bernie played only for the Yankees in his major league career.
The Yankees also announced that their former all star second baseman and the last manager to take the Mets to the postseason, Willie Randolph will get his own plaque in Monument Park in 2015 as well. Speaking of former All-Star 2B, Chuck Knoblauch was not happy about Pettitte being honored. Andy admitted using HGH-as Knoblauch did. Chuck went on Twitter and ripped Pettitte and the Yankees. Why the appearance of a double standard? Well, Pettitte is a member of the aforementioned “core 4” and it also helps that he’s never beaten his wife-as Knoblauch has. So shut up Chuck. It appears your throwing “yips” have made their way to your mouth.
The New York Mets-they don’t retire anyone’s number! Not out of some philosophy of “exclusivity,” but out of…cheapness? The late great Gary Carter was honored by the Mets after he passed in 2012. But his number 8 has yet to be officially retired. Jerry Koosman‘s #36? Nope? Keith Hernandez‘s 17, or Strawberry‘s #18? Nope.
Numbers mounted last night in Uniondale too. In spite of John Tavares taking advantage of Cam Talbot crapping his pants 11 seconds into the game, the Islanders blew two separate, 2 goal leads and the Rangers finally broke through against their suburban tormentors 6-5. The Metropolitan Division is now a dogfight, and one has to wonder whether the Islanders peaked too early this season? (nah) Or was it just a matter of time until the Rangers hit their stride? I think the latter, though it’ll feel like an eternity waiting for Henrik to return. Jaroslav Halak looked like he was watching NBA All-Star game highlights in the 3rd period last night and offered as much resistance against the Blueshirts as Carmelo Anthony did against the West at the Garden on Sunday. Speaking of which…if you had the Under 320 total points in the All-Star game-you lost!
What a barn-burner the NBA all-star “game” was on Sunday. Alley-Oops, no look passes, 40 footers, and not a lick of Defense anywhere at MSG. The NBA All-Star game is now officially worse than the NFL’s Pro Bowl. In fairness though, neither the NBA or the NFL pretend that their affair is anything other than an exhibition game. Unlike MLB, where home field advantage in the World Series is determined by the result of the exhibition formerly known as the “mid-summer classic.” Just another wonderful legacy of the Bud Selig era. The highlights of pro basketball’s all star game included-in no particular order, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Ariana Grande. The game itself was unbearably boring, though as a certified “Melo-hater,” I appreciated all of America seeing his lack of charisma and charm on full display. These deficiencies complement his selfish play and lack of leadership quite nicely.
Baseball though is the ultimate numbers game. Its history and its most treasured players can be identified by numbers-worn or achieved. 714? The Babe. 755? Hank Aaron. 406-Ted Williams and of course 56 is Joe DiMaggio. Not many guys come to mind immediately-when a number is mentioned. It should be so. Or the honor associated with it becomes diluted.