By Eddie Mayrose

New York Baseball Fans Never Learn

It happens every spring.  One of our two, local nines gets off to a slow start and the “First Time-Long Time” experts light up the phone lines on the talk shows.  Last season, after the Yankees had blown their first eight contests with the Red Sox, the signings of Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia were questioned; as was the competence of manager Joe Girardi.  Just curious; how’d 2009 work out for the Bombers in the end?  Yet, even in the middle of a strong start to 2010, Yankee fans are again showing off their short memory; this time looking to hang struggling starter, Javier Vasquez. Despite the fact that Vasquez was an All Star in his first go-round in the Bronx, won a World Series in Chicago, is coming off the best season of his dominant career and was acquired for next to nothing, the so-called experts cite the grand slam he surrendered to Johnny Damon in the 2004 ALCS as the reason he’ll never be able to succeed in New York.  Remember that down the stretch as they’re chanting his name in the ninth inning of a two hit shutout.

On the other side of the Tri-Borough Bridge, panic set in after the Amazins stumbled out of the gate at 4-8.  GM Omar Minaya, Manager Gerry Manuel and any number of players were being held accountable for what would certainly be a lost season.  However, Jose Reyes started to hit, Ike Davis showed up and an eight game winning streak vaulted them back into the race.  Who’d a thunk?
No one can say how 2010 will turn out for either of our ballclubs.  The only two things we know for sure, are that pennants are not decided in April and that most fans act as if they are.

Will Steelers’ Roethlisberger Be Thrown to the Dogs?

Now that we’ve learned that Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is, at best, a boorish lout and, at worst, a rapist, can we expect him to suffer the same vilification endured last season by Philadelphia Eagles’ signal caller, Michael Vick?

Last season, the mere suggestion that Vick, after serving a two year prison term for his atrocious crimes related to dog fighting, would actually be able to resume his NFL career set off a firestorm of protests among Animal Rights groups.  Sadly, the same indignation is never shown to professional athletes that abuse women.  Hopefully, when Roethlisberger finally takes the field next fall after serving his league mandated suspension, he’ll be greeted by thousands of Women’s Groups protesting his return.  Sadly, though, I wouldn’t bet on it.

This Mom Surely Went the Distance

Last week, as I was waiting to umpire a Little League game, I was standing on the first base line chatting with one of the coaches.   At that moment, he had only eight players and was waiting for his wife to call the few kids that hadn’t yet arrived.  After a while, she stuck her head inside the fence and informed him that one of the players wouldn’t be coming.  “Why not?” he asked.  “His mom says she’s having a bad day”, came the incredulous reply.

After we laughed, (actually, the coach really didn’t laugh that much), I was glad that I’d never had to worry that my kids would miss a game because their schedule was a burden to my wife.  It also stood in stark contrast to a story I’d recently been told about another sports mom.

Two decades back, Joseph Marcello was a brilliant eighth grader in Dyker Heights who was entertaining various scholarship offers from New York city’s elite high schools.   However, he informed his mom that none of them really lit his fire; that the school he really wanted to attend was Fairfield Prep, in part because he wanted to play football.  The problem, of course, was that the school was located in, that’s right, Fairfield, Connecticut.  “Joseph”, said his surprised mom, “it’s two hours each way by train.  It’s too far.  You can’t go to that school.”  “I could if we moved there, mom.”  And, with that, they sold their house and relocated.

So, for the better part of the last twenty years, Ann Marie Marcello, a religion teacher at Xaverian High School, has, daily,  made the ninety minute  commute from Fairfield, Ct. to Bay Ridge.  Joseph, known simply as “Brooklyn” during his high school tenure,  lettered in three sports and went on to play rugby at Loyola of Maryland; always with his vocally supportive mom in the stands.   And, if you ever asked her, she’d tell you she never sacrificed a thing for her son.  She just did what any great mom does; give her children happy lives.  Happy Mother’s Day to Mrs. Marcello, and every mom who’ll spend a part of their special day at a Little League game or a swim meet.  Where would any of us be without you?

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