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Hey, Yanks: No One Ever Wears 46 Again, Capisce?

The Core Four is no more.Who's Next? Jorge my bet

Everybody is weighing in on Andy Pettitte formally announcing his decision to retire, saying “My heart’s not where it needs to be.” I watched it this morning on YES; it was a bittersweet thing to see, I guess. I’m glad he went out on his own terms, but it’s a bummer realizing I’m never again gonna see him on the Stadium’s mound, ringing up some poor fool who wandered one step too many away from first base. Plus, my gut is churning in mid-season form contemplating just what the hell the rotation’s gonna look like on Opening Day.  (Please, Oh Ghost of Darth Boss George, if anyone amongst the Tampa Mafia suggests what this guy is saying, STRIKE. THEM. DOWN!)

A lot of people are already debating whether Pettitte’s career makes him Cooperstown material. As a born in da Bronx Yankee lifer, I’d love seeing another bronze plaque featuring the interlocking “NY” staring out at every feckless Fenway Fuckwit who walks its halls, but as a paid-up patron of the Hall of Fame, I don’t see it happening any time soon, if at all. His numbers are solid, but not overwhelming. If he meets the standard, then you gotta vote for Moose, too. Five rings are impressive, but coming clean about using HGH will doom him in the eyes of the totally shiftless assholes who hold the vote about who goes to the Hall.

That said, if the Yankees don’t retire his number right the fuck now, and schedule a “Day,” there’s gonna be hell to pay. We fans went batshiat when some dumbassed clubhouse asshole thought coughing up Paulie’s number was a good idea…

MY ANDY PETTITE STORY: I got married in 1998, on the day of the first game of that season’s World Series. We were staying at Bluebeard’s Castle, where we also had our reception. After the party we went back to our room, did some things, then got into swimming gear and headed off to the pool.

Well, Wife™ headed for the pool; I made a beeline for the bar overlooking the pool, and staked out a seat in the middle, where I could see both TVs. The bartender had the pre-game on, and some guy at the bar pointed at me… well, pointed at my “This is your brain (Yanks logo) This is your brain on drugs (Mets logo)” tee shirt.

“Your guys are gonna get killed tonight,” he says. “You’re not playing that pussy American League ball this time.”  There was a murmuring of agreement around me; It seemed I was surrounded by Yankee (or maybe just New York) haters. So I did what any born in da Bronx/Berry-bred boy–who was pretty drunk and having one of the best days in his life–would do in such a situation:

“I got fifty bucks that says those assholes from San Diego are going down,” I said. “Not just tonight but the whole damn Series. How ’bout some money where your mouth is?” Then I looked around and added, “and that goes for anyone else who’s feeling lucky; pick the number and I’ll match it.”

Eight other guys around the bar took the bet–we had the bartender playing bookie, writing down amounts, names, room numbers (in case anyone tried to slip away)–and I was on the hook for a total of $610 if the Yanks lost. Which they didn’t (Tino!, Tino!, TINO!). After counting my winnings I said “See y’all here for Game 2?”

That was when Wife™, who joined us at the bar sometime around the sixth or seventh inning, discovered what I was up to. She was Queen Vic pissed and completely unamused…. I took a second look in the bag and recounted the cash, then told the barkeep to hold it. “See? I ain’t done nothing…yet.”

Everyone was back the next night, and we all booked the same bets. I trounced their sick, sorry, clown car asses again. Hubris had never met a cocksure man like me at the end of that game.

“Go home and lick your wounds,” I said. “Bring your sorry National League asses back in two days and I will take your money just as fast.”

Wife™, at this point, wanted her newly branded ‘Hubby’ dragged out back and shot.

“He started it,” I said, pointing at the malignant POS who put the train on the tracks. “He called the Yankees pussies and they (wildly waving my arm) all joined in,” I said. “I’m taking all these hick bastards for a ride.”

Game 3 came two days later; most of those who showed didn’t want anything to do with me. Loudmouth, who’d started this party, was sure that the Padres would rebound now that they were playing in their own house, and raised the stakes between us to $100, which I cheerfully agreed with. If I lost, he’d just be winning back his own money. Then I asked him, and the other bitter clingers, “You wanna really make it interesting? I bet they sweep these fuckers four straight. You wanna take that bet, champ?”

Loudmouth and the couple of guys who’d rallied behind him during Game 1 looked at me like I was insane.

Drunk? Unquestionably true; I was banging back Cruzan and Coke from the moment I woke up every day I was down there. I was also constantly scarfing down food, so it was an “Ahh, everything’s cool, mon!” kinda drunk. Walking around, wildly inebriated, yet ready to quote dipshits from literature’s dustbin at a moment’s notice. Which I did, from time to time, while watching the games. Loudmouth, it turned out, was a man from Cincinnati. Which made him a Nazi. I drilled the bastard with nuclear bon mots, blaming he and his “useless fucking breadbasket assholes” for abandoning Pete Rose,  Wife™ would make me stop when She thought I was ginning the guy up enough that he’d throw a punch.

The thought of which was never in my head. I basically told anyone living on the wrong side of the Hudson to bite me, that wonderful, reality break week, and if they didn’t like it I was ready to break their knees….

But insane? No way. I’d seen every single Yankee game that season, and that season the Yankees were a fucking machine, baby. After the Yanks used some late inning thunder and lights-out Mariano to win Game 3,  Loudmouth, furious, says, “There’s no fucking way they’ll let themselves get swept in their own house. Double or nothing.”

“Double or nothing what?” I say.

“Two hundred says Brownie stops them tomorrow night.”

At this point, I’m already up $560 on this guy. “Deal. Hand the money to the bartender now, before you leave. He’s still holding all my money.”

Wife™: “How much money?” ME: “I dunno, but it’s somewhere around six hundred bucks times two.”

Bartneder laughed as Wife™smacked me twice upside the head.

Game Four: Andy and Mo combine for a seven hit shutout and the Yanks win three-zip. Loudmouth practically flings poo and storms off. The bartender–who said his name was ‘Jacks’ (“like the child’s toy, mon”), starts laughing his ass off and hands me a paper bag full of cash and bet slips. I scoop out the money and give Jacks three fifties. Wife™ tugs on my arm and says she want to go to some place called Molly Malones.

I point to the TV screen with my fist full of cash. Pettitte’s getting interviewed while Posada’s pouring champagne on his head and general bedlam is going on behind them.

“Time to get drunk,” I say, “and Pettitte’s paying.”

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