December 23, 2010

AT LAST, A MESSIAH OF THEIR OWN:

The Man Who Saved Baseball (Andrew Sherman, 12/23/10, Jewish Exponent)

Cliff Lee is more than just the modern-day Sandy Koufax. At least to Philadelphia Jews, he is.

Let me explain. Sure, Mr. Lee may be a good 'ole Arkansas boy who enjoys a hunting expedition and has the (non-Jewish) good looks of a young John Wayne. No matter. The man was -- and, by declining to don Yankees pinstripes, still is -- the sheriff that Philadelphia Jews have longed for in our longtime battle with the city of New York -- and our insufferable relatives who call it home.

Maybe Judaism has nothing to do with this. But here's a thought: Until Cliff Lee set foot in the New York City subway system on the eve of game one of the 2009 World Series and rode the train up to the Bronx -- where he proceeded to strike out 10 Yankees in a dominating 6-1 win -- Philadelphia Jews felt powerless against the Bronx bombers, and by extension, their arrogant and wealthier New York relatives.
Cliff Lee
Photo courtesy of The Phillies

We all have one -- a rich family member living in New York, be it a cousin in Manhattan or Great Neck, or an uncle in Westchester. The relative (who you still love, unconditionally) with the air of superiority and over-the-top claims: New York's bagels are "the best!" they say. "Its pastrami -- the best! Its theaters and museums -- the best! "We've got Zabar's!" they tell you, "Bergdorf's! B&H!"

And, of course, they're also quick to point out: "We've got the Yankees -- best baseball team there ever was!"

It should be noted that Jews and baseball are like bagels and lox -- an odd combination from the get-go, and one that has stood the test of time.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2010 5:44 PM
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