Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My thoughts on the Bernie Williams ceremony -- and yes, I think his number should have been retired

Pete Campbell's Chip N' Dip!
I Squawked Sunday night about New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick's (incorrect) ire over Bernie Williams Night being held the Sunday before Memorial Day. But I didn't write about the ceremony itself. There was good reason for that.

That is because I was at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on Sunday, checking out the excellent "Mad Men" exhibit (a must-see for fans of the show!), and then waiting around for my turn on a customized flight simulator called "Birdly." This thing was awesome -- you got the sense that you were flying over New York City, and you used your arms to flap and swoop up and down, left and right, and over the city. It was a huge adrenaline rush!

What Birdly looks like
The fact I was not embarrassed to be sprawled out on this thing -- and that I could fit on it -- tells me that I have made big progress on my weight loss goals!

Anyhow, I am glad I stayed around to try out Birdly, but it meant that I did not get home to Staten Island in time to watch the Bernie Williams Night pre-game ceremony. However, I was home in time to see that entire debacle of a game, though. Oh, joy!

So I didn't get to watch the actual ceremony until this morning. This tribute to Williams, one of my favorite Yankees, was long overdue. And so is this writeup!

Here are my thoughts on Bernie Williams Night, as I watched it:
  • Before the ceremony, that strange DirecTV ad with Hannah Davis and the horse runs. Given that she is Derek Jeter's paramour, did he get approval on who voiced the horse? Also, this ad isn't half as good as the Rob Lowe ones. Free Rob Lowe!
  • Glad to see Gene Michael here. He (and Buck Showalter) don't get enough credit for the dynasty. If you may remember, when Bernie was a rookie, Williams was shy, wore big glasses, and was teased mercilessly by Mel Hall and called "Bambi." It was Michael who saw this, and got rid of the bad apple that was Hall. Now Williams is in Monument Park, and Hall is in the pokey. Fitting.
  • David Cone is introduced. Why doesn't he get love when it comes to the late 90s stuff? Tino Martinez gets a plaque, but not Coney? C'mon now. David pitched a perfect game!
  • Speaking of which, Tino gets introduced as a "fellow member of Monument Park." That just seems wrong to me. Sorry.
  • Paul O'Neill comes out. I wonder if he loses his temper at home, do the light fixtures get destroyed! Come to think of it, I wish he kept that temper in the broadcast booth and gave players -- and Michael Kay -- more grief!
  • Joe Torre is introduced. I know I am in the minority on this, but I feel like he didn't do enough penance over the way he trashed the Yankees both on his way out the door, and in his book. All he seemed to say was, in effect, "blame Tom Verducci" for him biting the hand that fed him for 12 years. Good grief.
  • I notice that nobody, with the exception of Joe Torre, is wearing a tie. Just sport coats, dress shirts, and slacks. Did they plan this beforehand? Is Joe the only one wearing a tie because he was the manager?
  • Oh, wait. Scratch that theory. Mariano Rivera is wearing a tie, too.
  • Derek Jeter is here! He is introduced last, as "El Capitan." One of my brothers has a theory that the Yanks have made a deal with Jeter to retire that captaincy (remember, Brian Cashman said this spring that he didn't think anybody after Derek should be given the role) in exchange for Jeter showing up at these things. Hmmmm.  
  • There is a video tribute featuring Williams' career highlights, as well as clips of people talking about him. Brian Cashman says something about how when "we signed him." Um, Bri, you were still in high school when the Yankees signed Williams. The only superstar you signed as a homegrown player was Robinson Cano, who you then let walk out the door. Not that I'm bitter or anything!
  • It was great fun to see those clips of Williams in the playoffs in the late 90s. People have forgotten how good he was in the postseason -- 128 hits, 22 homers, and 80 RBIs! Glad to see him getting the recognition he deserves.
  • I notice in the video tribute that current Yankees like Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, none of whom played on the Yanks at the same time, are interviewed. Yet Alex Rodriguez, the only current Yankee who was actually a teammate with Williams, is snubbed. Bad form on the part of the Yankees. Stop being petty, guys!
  • Now Bernie is getting gifts. Hal Steinbrenner comes out with a milestone ring. I still contend that Hal looks like a combination of his father and Tucker Carlson!
  • I think it is pretty cool how Williams has this second career as a jazz musician after his first one. And he is very good at the second one, too. 
  • Williams is giving his speech. It is a very gracious one, where he thanks his family, teammates, management, etc. He also says that the Yankees wanted to do this ceremony for nine years, and he was the one putting it off.
  • I am not sure when Williams and his wife Waleska divorced, but she is not at the ceremony, although their kids are there. Nor is she ever mentioned or thanked during Bernie's speech. My friend Jerome said that it stuck in his craw that Williams never thanked his former wife and the mother of his children. I have to agree. 
  • Overall, it was a very good ceremony, and a well-deserved one. You can watch the whole thing for yourself by clicking this link.

1 comment:

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