Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

18 September 2008

Hickey on Desportes **UPDATED

The football picks are up.

Speaking of sports (even if we weren't), the Cubbies are currently up 2-1 in the sixth (**UPDATE. Milwaukee took a 6-2 lead, only to see the Cubs drop four in the bottom on the ninth to tie 'er up. Currently in the bottom of the 10th); should said lead hold up, the magic number will be 2. And then, the choking can begin.
You know, kind of like the Yankees have done all year long. And, like any self respecting human being, it's great to see.
But what isn't great to see is the fact that Yankee Stadium will soon meet the wrecking ball (last game's Sunday against the Baltimore Syphilisbirds). Knowing full well that this day was coming, I made a couple trips north in the past few years to see a pair of games in the House that Ruth Built. I'm happy I did, for it's an irreplacable piece of Americana. A point made in this week's Sports Illustrated, which features the building on the cover. It's a good read (even if the stadium-speaking gimmick takes a bit to get used to). My favorite nugget:

LET ME think ... what is left from how I was before the renovation? Oh, yes, there is the Lou Gehrig Room, long forgotten but only recently rediscovered. As you exit the Yankees' clubhouse, turn right down a narrow concrete hallway painted blue. Go past the umpires' room, then the weight room and then the carpenters' shop (the one in which Nettles corked his bat and where Paul O'Neill and Jason Giambi shaved the handles of theirs). Keep going, then turn right past the indoor batting cage, which is called the Columbus Room, in recognition of the Yankees' former longtime Triple A affiliate (as in, if you wanted to stay out of Columbus, this was the room where you needed to be). Turn left as you pass a storage room filled with assorted junk. And there, behind a rolling metal gate, is what appears to be a larger version of the junk-strewn room you just passed. The place is filled haphazardly with plastic seats, copper and PVC piping, and industrial drums of something called Formula 654, labeled HEAVY-DUTY LIQUID CLEANER.
According to Ray Negron, a special assistant to Steinbrenner, Gehrig sat in this room whenever he sought the comfort of solitude after he became terminally ill in 1939. Negron had been a graffiti guerilla himself, until one day Steinbrenner caught him spraying paint on my facade. Something about the kid touched the Yankees' owner, who gave him a job as a batboy and gofer. In August 1973 Steinbrenner asked Negron to sit with Gehrig's widow, Eleanor, when she took in a game. Negron says he asked her what she thought of Pride of the Yankees, the movie about her late husband. "She said," recalls Negron, "'The only thing they should have used but they didn't was the room.'" Then she told him about it.


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