Funny how insignificant, nondescript moves in sports (or the arts for that matter) seem to spur memories that have laid dormant for oh-so-long. Recently, the New York sports media mentioned that the now deceased Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle came to the Big Apple this time last year.
In a much ballyhooed last minute trade, Lidle (together with Bobby Abreu) represented the piece of the puzzle that was going to push the pinstripes over the edge. Well, we all know that did not happen, and what did was a piece of New York lore etched in the citizens' memories much like, but to a lesser degree, 9/11.
It was the the summer of 1980, the year John Lennon was assassinated, the year we all heard the words Shiite terrorists for the first time in connection with the attack on the American Embassy in Tehran, and the year I graduated from Tulane University. As a gift for this remarkable feat, I was given a Euro Rail Pass that entitled the holder to unlimited rides on the European rail system, an open-ended round trip airline ticket to Paris, and with a few dollars saved up, I hit the summer European backpack circuit along with lots of other teenagers from around the world.
I am a pretty well informed, notoriously opinionated New York sports fan. The Yankees were never a priority in that regard, I left that for the New York football Giants, but my dad was an extremely rabid New York sports fan - I guess I got that bug from him. It did not really matter to him which team was playing , he would root for the Mets, Jets, Knicks, it did not matter. While I was traveling throughout Europe I tried to keep in touch with the goings on, sports and otherwise, in the U.S. via the International Herald Tribune, but again, the real priority at the time was where the parties were being held, which band was playing in a small Roman amphitheater in Frejus (Santana!), and what time the next train was leaving for Brindisi. These were all monumental issues for me at the time - that, and where was I going to sleep that night.