September 19, 2012

The Leaders

In 1986 there were two Yankees leaders. One of them was Donald Arthur Mattingly, the greatest baseball player who has ever lived in the universe. The other was Rickey Henderson, who was pretty good, I guess, but who deferred to Mattingly. There were no other leaders.

But there was another leader. He couldn't be found in the clubhouse, for he was the leader of Yankees fans everywhere. Every day, day after day, without exception, except for away games and off days, this leader would wake up, put on his Yankee red shorts, not put on a shirt, fluff his hair, and head to the ballpark. The name of the ballpark was Yankee Stadium, a.k.a. Leader Stadium. He sat in the front row. The crowd knew when to cheer because this leader would stand up and not have a shirt on and start cheering, and so everyone else would know that something good happened. Did the Yankees score? Probably. Just clap.

On one glorious day in 1986, the three leaders of Yankeeland converged in such an epic and magnificent display of leadership, it could never again be duplicated. Donnie Baseball, a.k.a Hitman, a.k.a. G.O.A.T. drove in Rickey on a biz-omb--standard--and when the two heroes converged at home plate, they executed the world's only known perfect high-ten. Their hands clasped together, an audible sound of batting gloves converging with force could be heard for miles, and the shockwaves of awesomeness it sent through the air began to inspire people all around the country. (Note: For example, that was the day Bill Gates invented the computer and also the day Chesley Sullenberger decided to become a pilot.) Amazingly, caught in between this epic high-ten, and putting forth an undercurrent of swagger in his own right was leader of the Yankees fans, understandably and bravely leading the cheers. It was leadership personified, and it would never, ever, ever, ever happen again.

Except the next year it happened again when Donnie hit a grand salami--standard--and broke the record for grand salamis in a season and then executed another perfect high-ten with his boy Rickey at the dish.

But therein lies the mystery ...

Was the leader of the Yankees fans there? Did the fans know to cheer? It's impossible to tell, because stupid Topps orange'd out the whole thing.

But like my mom always used to say, you can't just orange out a leader. I believe somewhere, in between Donnie and Rickey's crotches probably, is a blurry, shirtless man with a puff of hair on his chest clapping his ass off. Being a leader.

Hat tip to Punk Rock Paint, for his finest work yet.

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