On the Unveiling
In the Jewish faith, there is a tradition in mourning known as the unveiling. When a person dies, you hold a funeral straight away but you do not place a headstone for a period of time, usually a year. There is no Biblical commandment to do this; it is a folk tradition that gradually became part of the regular practice of the religion. The reason for the unveiling, I think, is to give the departed an encore, a final reconsideration. While Judaism emphasizes confronting one's loss—burial is supposed to take place as quickly as possible, for life not only belongs to the living, they have no real choice in the matter—there is also an extended period of formal mourning. You have to face your loss right away and keep facing it. Yet, the dead have not yet been given their full due, and so we return to say goodbye once more.
Though George Steinbrenner was not Jewish, the unveiling of his monument at Yankee Stadium fits solidly within that tradition. It was one more chance to remember the man and debate his legacy. It was also a chance for the Yankees nation to commiserate with the Steinbrenner family. We lost someone we knew well but distantly; the Steinbrenners lost a husband, a father, a grandfather. Whatever conflicted feelings George might have generated among his customers, we can all sympathize with a family in mourning.
The Monument Itself
No doubt some will cluck over the size of the Steinbrenner monument relative to others in Monument Park, but memorials always inspire aesthetic debate as to their meaning and tastefulness. Consider the arguments that still surround the FDR, World War II, and Vietnam monuments. These discussions are inevitable and forever without resolution. I figure that if you or your family owns the team, owns the ballpark, you get to choose the size of your memorial. Personally, I felt the monument was entirely appropriate. Whatever George’s impatience about the building and maintenance of teams, in the final analysis, he paid for this stuff, or made the deals that allowed it to be paid for. If you do that, you get to tag the result of your efforts, and that tag lasts... Well, however long it lasts. Sometimes I think about the Eddie Grant monument at the old Polo Grounds. Its last definitive sighting was in 1957.
On Joe Torre
Can we retire his number now?
Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson
Even at this late date in the season, I’m still seeing hostile comments from Yankees fans about Curtis Granderson. I trust after last night’s game I won’t see too many more for awhile. Many of those comments have centered on unfavorable comparisons to Austin Jackson. Those comments are getting old, and with Granderson’s rebuilt swing, they’re getting inaccurate. In the second half, the Yankees center fielder has hit .260/.345/.525 with a home run every 14.6 at-bats. Jackson has hit .300/.357/.424 with a home run every 85.7 at-bats. Jackson retains an edge in batting average due to his weirdly high batting average on balls in play (.410), but Granderson’s big edge in power negates that. When the book is closed on this season, Jackson will have had the more productive season overall due to his greater playing time and consistency, but in terms of rate of production, the two should tie at worst—and Granderson has a far better chance of being back here next year than Jackson does.
With last night’s Orioles win over the Red Sox and the Yankees’ win over the Rays, the AL East standings since Buck Showalter rode back into town:
|New York||25-19 (.568)|
Strange days indeed.