It is a cold, gray autumn here in Westchester, the Yankees failing to make it to the World Series yet again. Much of the county, from Hastings-on-Hudson to Harrison, is more a Bronx suburb than a New York City one, people with deep roots in the borough’s classic red-sauce joints on Arthur Avenue, pubs along Bainbridge Avenue, that massive ballpark down by the Deegan.
As such, Westchester takes a failed Yankee season—per club brass’s mandate, anything short of a championship is indeed a failure—particularly hard. And unlike other years that ended without a trophy, 2012 is spiked with particular ignominy, from the season fizzling out in a Detroit drizzle with their regal captain prepping for surgery somewhere in the Carolinas, to a lineup featuring more goats than Stone Barns, to Alex Rodriguez illogically taking fan base dislike to new levels. After all, trying to pick up women from the Yankee Stadium on-deck circle is a more grave transgression of the Yankee Way than long hair or bench players sporting a Snuggie in the dugout. (Though if A-Rod’s on-field performance was any indication, one can safely assume he struck out with the Australian bikini model he had his eye on.)
It’s all as tough to swallow for Westchesterites as a property tax hike.
Or is it? After all, there are the Mets fans here, and even a sprinkling of Red Sox supporters (hey, Fenway is only a three hours’ drive from White Plains!), and other county residents who take delight, like much of the rest of the nation, in Yankee misfortune. For this contingent, a Yankee-less World Series changes the very face of the Westchester landscape.
It means come October 31, we don’t have a thousand thigh-high Derek Jeters and Robbie Canos clamoring across our lawn, chasing down candy the way the middle infielders pursue three-hoppers in the hole.
I won’t have to see the Yankeemobile—a pinstriped Jeep Cherokee with Yankee logo that I’ve dubbed “Derek Jeeper”—parked at my train station, grinning from a prime spot like a Goldman vice president in a front row seat at the Stadium.
It means commuters on my evening train won’t be huddled around a portable radio, which I recently saw emerge from a working man’s bag like a visitor from a time machine, heart rates rising and falling with each John Sterling missed home run call.
It means my son, who does not know Joba Chamberlain from Jabba the Hut, won’t be asked to wear a Yankee shirt to school, per the memo from his principal.
Yankee flags will not fly from car antennas and porches. Fans with pinstriped faces will not clog my train for the formerly annual Canyon of Heroes parade.
Of course, there’s little else for those Mets or Red Sox fans to celebrate these days. Jason Bay couldn’t earn a spot in the Sherman Park Little League lineup, and Bobby Valentine is back to folding burritos at his Stamford restaurant.
Instead of anxiously watching the Yankees march toward their 28th Series title, we’ll spend the coming days watching football, raking the leaves, reading a book or two—and gulping down the guilty pleasure of the 2012 Bronx Bummers’ off-season extreme makeover.
Michael Malone is a Mount Pleasant-based writer. He runs the commuter blog Trainjotting.com and writes the weekly “Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room” column that appears on Patch. He roots for the Mets through thick and, mostly, thin.