Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Who plays where – battle of the babes

Note: This column appears in the 8/11 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/12 issue of the Peoria Times

We have a Yankee room in our house. This is pretty much what it sounds like, unless you are a million years old and still associate Yankees with northern folk. It is a room filled with New York Yankee-related pictures and memorabilia. The room was not, amazingly, my wife’s idea, although she has never been opposed to it. One time, she even bought me, as a gift, a Yankee lamp. It was the greatest day of my life.

Having a Yankee room was a concept of the mind of a young, passionate Yankee fan with an extra room, no children, and a lot of Yankees stuff. Initially the room was a place to put all the team-related things I had acquired throughout my life, but it slowly morphed into a reason to acquire more stuff. That said, I had embraced a minimalistic approach—less is more, and I wanted to feature only the classier signed photos and nostalgic items, such as my box of Derek Jeter corn flakes. But once I made the conscious decision to stop acquiring, I found myself continuing to acquire items, as my extended family has embraced the room as a foundation for gift-giving. (My mom and mother-in-law share the very thoughtful characteristic of discovering what someone likes, and then getting them that thing forever. If you casually mention around them that you like, say, walnuts, my mother-in-law will put them in everything each time she cooks for you, and my mom will buy you a year's supply of cashews and say, "I know you like walnuts, but they didn't have any, so I got you cashews," while she laughs and my dad nods his head. Suffice it to say, they have been a steady source of merchandise.) Now I have more Yankee stuff than I know what to do with, and the room is more cluttered than classy. So, note to family: from now on, send money.

Another concept behind the room was to have it be a place to hang out with friends and drink beer and watch actual Yankee games or sports in general, as my wife and the wives of my friends hung out downstairs and watched HGTV and drank wine and talked about how frustrated they are with us. But this idea was flawed, mainly in that most of the few close friends I do have here don’t like the Yankees because, I guess, we live in Arizona, and, more importantly, because they have as much time and opportunity to do such things as I do, which is none. Not helping matters is the fact that the TV in the room, which came with us from New Jersey, is not HD and weighs three tons and, ummm, doesn’t get Yankees games.

Unable to utilize the room for its intended fantasy, we were forced to make it practical. It is now a Yankee-guest-workout-storage room which, quite frankly every home should have. The room, however, was recently threatened thanks to a separate concept—a playroom for our daughter.

Obviously, it was more important that my Bucky Dent-signed photo remain on the wall than my daughter be able to experience daily, real-life joy in a safe, contained environment amidst a bevy of toys. Eventually, it was decided an upstairs playroom for a girl her age was as impractical as the Yankee room has come to be. Instead we will attempt to morph a downstairs room into a play room/office, where stuffed animals and a shredder will coexist.

So the Yankee room remains, but it has been put on notice. To increase its chances of survival and ensure the light on that lamp is never turned off, I am in the market for an affordable HDTV. And time. Plus more friends. Apply within. Must love Yankees.

4 comments:

Ryan LaMonica said...

I'm in, Mike!

Good luck with keeping the dream alive. I have a quest fo my own for a room to display all of my memorabilia in (and yes, just so happens that a vast majority of it is yankees-related).

The good news? We just moved into a house with a bsement. It was almost like when you find an item mis-marked in a store and then "try to play it cool" as you pay for it and leave - all the while looking like Checy Chase in Spies Like Us. My wife was excited about this house and wanted to buy it. I wanted to buy the basement and the man-cave dream it represented. Oh yeah, the neighborhood also borders a great elementary school, has lots of kids, mature trees and, so far, mature neighbors. But you know, priorities.

So we're in the house now and slowly trying to set up camp as we also welcome our 2nd child (a boy...."this shall all be his!" in my best James Earl Jones voice). My boxes of autographed baseballs and plastic protector-sleeves of signed 8x10s are poised in the home decor on-deck circle. We have other things to do first I guess, like installing ceiling fans and painting walls. There's also the organization of storage bins that must take place - it looks like the Indiana Jones Warehouse in the basement right now (with a TV and couch (the Ark?)set up in the middle of it, of course - I always liked building forts).

SO - we'll see where it goes from here. My wife has been very cool so far and there is every indication that space in one of the two basement 'rooms/spaces' will be handed over to me, Southern Living Magazine's worst decorating nightmare.

By the way, did you ever get a Mattingly piece?

Fight on, brother!

mkenny59 said...

Ahhh, Ryan, the basement. I am very jealous. Arizona doesn't believe in basements, which is probably a good thing, as it would release more scorpions into the house, and I hate scorpions even more than I love the Yankees.

And Southern Living? Pfft. Set up your space, take pics, and we'll feature it on this here blog, read by dozens of people weekly who accidentally stumbled on it! I wish you the best of luck setting up shop, and congrats on child No. 2!

As far as Mattingly stuff, I have a framed photo, signed baseball, tons of cards (as you know) and a million other things, including a mini-figurine that's supposed to be him but looks exactly like Wade Boggs. I should take a picture of that, actually. So offensive.

Thanks for the comment, by the way! If you're ever in AZ, stop by and we'll watch a game ... if the room is still there.

Joe S. said...

Huge Yanks fan, here!

Semi-interesting feel good story about Mattingly...

When I was in Little League, my dad encouraged me to emulate a nice swing, and coming from a family of Yankees fans he suggested Don Mattingly. I wrote Mattingly a letter asking for a picture of his swing. Donnie Baseball sent back a SIGNED picture of his swing! I was thrilled.

The end.

mkenny59 said...

See, that's why Donnie Baseball is and always will be the greatest. I'm not saying no one else has ever done such a thing for a fan, but no ballplayer from our generation connected with his fans in such a way. I would say that I can't believe I never thought to do something like that, but I vaguely recall that maybe I actually did. If so, I'm sure the letter was very Stan-esque, which explains not hearing back. I ain't mad atcha, Donnie.