Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Musings on Sports - Old Timers Games and Evolution

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. As Max has resigned from 1050 and has not yet resurfaced on the NY area radio waves, I have decided to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

While listening to the radio today, I heard a remarkable thing said by a Sports Radio host. Brandon Tierney, an unabashed Yankee lover who generally has a warped view of New York baseball teams said that the Yankee Old Timers Game had lost some of its appeal to him. He remarked that he used to like to watch these games to see the old Yankees which were brought back, but that the players at the most recent Old Timers game did not evoke the same thoughts.

In contrast, about two week ago, I heard a different Sports Radio host talk about how the Mets don't do a regular Old Timers game and that while they don't have the history of the Yankees, there are certainly some old timers who the fans would want to see. Fast forward to yesterday, when I heard an ad on 660 (WFAN) for a Mets promotion where the fans can donate money for a specific charity (I don't specifically recall which one) and the fans would have an afternoon with former 1969 Mets including Seaver, Koosman and Nolan Ryan and then get tickets for that evening's game.

The interesting differences in views on the Old Timers games made me realize that its a matter of perspective for the fans. As a child, you read or hear about former players and there is an element of mystique and perhaps even reverence for former players. As the person gets older, or in Brandon Tierney's case, more used to seeing regular players now that he is starting to become accepted as (I shudder) a sports journalist, the view of those same players changes.

The two outlooks remind me of the story involing R' Yaakov Kaminetsky and a plane ride. During the flight, R' Yaakov's grandchildren periodically came over to ask him if needed anything. The man sitting next to R' Yaakov was an elderly secular professor who was amazed that this older man was getting such attention from these young teens. The professor turned to R’ Kaminetzky and asked, “Why is it that your grandchildren take such good care of you but my grandchildren ignore me?” R’ Kaminetzky answered, “You believe that man is descended from apes, so, to your grandchildren, you are closer to an ape. We believe that we are descendants of people that received the Torah from G-d at Sinai, so my grandchildren respect me because I’m closer to Sinai.”

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