Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Yankees' Angel in the Outfield

I just received this sad yet heart warming email and I, along with the sender, wanted to share it with you. It's about a father who lost his infant child and felt like his world was crashing down around him. One of the things that gave him at least a little distraction was Yankee baseball.


My name is Robert Nicholson. I am a 35 year old lifelong Yankee fan, originally from Hopatcong NJ, but now living in Ocala, Fl. I write you this message this year because I have come to love the slidingintohome blog, and wanted to share a true story with you and all the other Yankee fans that read your blog.

On December 23, 1997 my wife and I welcomed our first born son into this world, Tyler Scott Nicholson. The joy he brought to our life was immesurable. Sadly that joy was to be short-lived, as he passed away on March 13th, 1998 from SIDS. I thought my world had ended, and that there would be no more joy in my life. Yankees baseball became a great distraction for me that year, and as any Yankee fan knows, that was the year of magic for our Bronx Bombers. The playoffs came quick enough, and they took care of business and made it to the World Series against the San Diego Padres. While watching game one, my wife and I were going through some pictures and came across one that took me aback, it was Tyler, and he was wearing my Yankee ballcap. We were down 5-2 at that point, and things were looking bad. Kevin Brown while not pitching a masterpiece, was keeping the Yanks from doing too much. I picked up the picture during the pitching change and looked at it intently. Half jokingly I asked Tyler to help out and see if he could wrangle up the Babe and Lou, and maybe get us some runs here. As I gave the picture of my son a kiss, Chuck Knoblauch launched one deep to left field and BAM we were tied. I kept the picture in my hands and right as Tino took that 5th pitch for a ball (WOW), I looked at the picture one more time and said "how about one more time?", and gave the picture a kiss again. We all know what happened next, and that picture became a good luck charm for me for the rest of the series, and the legend of that picture was born.

WS titles followed in 1999 and 2000, and Tylers picture was always in my hand during times when we needed a rally. The only time it wasn't with me was during game 7 of the 2001 WS, and I regretted that a lot. Somehow I had forgotten it before the game, and the rest of that night is well know to all of us as well.

2001 symbolized the end of an era of sorts. The team that took the field during game 7 of the 2001 WS was a cohesive unit filled with not only great ballplayers, but also great PEOPLE. Tino, Pauly, Jete, Scotty etc. The following 8 years, I don't really know if that could be said. The cohesiveness of the unit never seemed to be there, and it showed in the final results. And from that point on the legend of the picture seemed to die.

That brings us to this year. We have great players who are also great people. Tex, CC, Swish and some of the old guard Jete, Jorge, and Mo. And we are playing once again like a band of brothers. I have brought the picture back out again, and I see some of it's magic coming out again. I am attaching a copy of the photo which has become quite worn out, and if you would like, feel free to post it on the site for people to print out and keep with them as we go into Game 6 tonight in the Bronx.

Yankee fans are a Band of Brothers, and this year our team is finally playing like a band of brothers. That is what Tyler would have loved and that is what is going to lead us to victory this year.

Thank you for allowing me to share this story with you.


I remember how baseball, and more specifically Yankee baseball helped drag New York City out of the depressed rut we were in just after the tragedies of 9/11. If anyone saw "9 Innings from Ground Zero" then you know exactly what I'm talking about. The power of sport always surprises me. What a team or player can do for many or even just one individual struggling through hard times is amazing. So come on Yanks, go out and win game six for Tyler.

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