|Yankee Stadium gets even cooler|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
News item: The Yankees banned T-shirts with crude anti-Boston sayings at Yankee Stadium last weekend.
Few thought it possible but "The House That Love Built" just got better.
Everyone knows no Yankees fan would have to be told not to wear an obscene T-shirt. Yankees fans only wear officially licensed T-shirts depicting Yankees greats, U.S. presidents and Nobel laureates, and the accompanying slogans are always inspirational quotes from the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou and Mickey Rivers.
True, an occasional unruly out-of-town fan (usually from Boston) rooting for the opponent might wear a garment of questionable taste or speak foul language inside Yankee Stadium. But the Yankees do not simply evict them out onto the streets where they might disturb the many couples enjoying a quiet, romantic evening dining al fresco at the quaint bistros lining the streets outside the ballpark in the Bronx. Instead, their offensive behavior is reported immediately to the Operation TIPS agents who are conveniently located at all Yankee team stores within the stadium.
This fan policy, of course, is well known to the millions upon millions of subscribers to the YES Network, and so we do not need to belabor the issue. Not when the real news is far more exciting, even for Yankees fans accustomed to glorious, breathtaking developments on an almost daily basis.
While Steinbrenner (or Father George, as devoted employees refer to him), has always taken great pride in the Yankees' long line of great players, he has always been troubled by the inevitable physical decline of these fine athletes. Inevitable, that is, until now. For by working with the good people at Alcor and Birdseye, Steinbrenner is now able to make the Yankees immortals truly immortal.
That's right. Rather than wait for death to claim these few, these happy few, these band of brothers, he's frozen the Yankees.
Walking through Monument Valley has always been one of the most emotional journeys in sports (as with the Vietnam Memorial, fans often are reduced to tears as they pass the tributes to these fallen heroes) and now it becomes an even more emotional experience. For in addition to the cold metal busts and plaques memorializing former players, fans can now see the actual Yankees lovingly preserved for all eternity. Yogi Berra, Paul O'Neill, Whitey Ford, Don Mattingly -- they're all there, in all their glory. Well, there is a slight problem with Joe Pepitone, but that will be worked out just as soon as the team returns from its next road trip.
How, you might ask, could Steinbrenner afford such bold innovation while financially handicapped by baseball's draconian revenue-sharing policies that require him to fully subsidize the rest of the league? Simple. As long as he can add joy to just one more fan's day, he doesn't care how much money he loses in the process.
The Yankees finally achieved success with Joe DiMaggio immediately after his passing, but due to a series of litigation with his attorney, Morris Engelberg, the Yankee Clipper's body is regrettably unavailable for public display.
As amazing as all this sounds, it gets even better. When rosters expand Sept. 1, the Yankees will thaw select players and add them to the active roster.
Just wait until the Red Sox see Bucky Dent.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.