Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Tugging at the Heart Strings
2006-06-19 10:07
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

By the way, I know I'm a day late with this, but No Maas linked to a moving Newsday article about Andy Phillips and his wife's struggles with cancer that is well worth taking a look at.

2006-06-19 10:55:47
1.   Zack
Makes me root for Andy all the more. Lets get out of this interleague play so he can start again!

And speaking of the "kids," Hughes had another dominant AA start, looks like he has adjusted. 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2BB, 11K...

2006-06-19 12:06:57
2.   Chyll Will
Hi, I'm new to this post, though I read it every day. So nice to have an informed alternative to the Daily Rues, and I wouldn't even wipe myself with the Post, much less read it.

I chose to enter on this posting because it's relative to what today means to me. Today is the ninth anniversary of my Mom and oldest sister passing away together in a fire that destroyed my home, my past and nearly my life. To me, it is still yesterday, but with every passing year I come a little closer to dealing with that tragedy. I'm finally able to be proud of where I am, considreing where I've been.

I think priorities is the key word here. I've been reading a whole lot about A-Rod getting booed and how it seems he has little or no support from the people where it would seem to matter; i.e. his teammates. I never met any of them, so I can't vouch for their personalities, but it seems that we forget with all the millions these guys are making playing ball at a level we can only dream about, they're still human.

Andy Phillips shares his agony over his wife's dealing with cancer and how that story seems to be leading to a happy ending, but is there no way we can assume A-Rod has a personal tragedy of his own that he chooses not to share? Why would he, considering the way we treat him? I wouldn't turn down twenty-five million a year, even if I didn't think I was worth it, but that doesn't mean that I am selling my humanity.

I can't think of a reason not to like A-Rod or any other Yankee for that matter, even when he fails in a particular at-bat or muffs a play at third. Those things don't happen all the time with guys like him, and it certainly isn't forever. I stared forever in the face, and it has made me reset my priorities quick, fast and in a hurry. I cheer for A-Rod, even if no one else will.

Do you remember when it seemed like every year brought a new personal struggle for the team? Joe Torre had cancer, one brother dies and another needs a new heart... Darryl Strawberry has cancer, Paul O'Neill's father dies, Knobby's father had Alzheimer's, Mel Stottlemeyer has a rare cancer, et cetera and so forth. Those teams seemed to rally around each other and take it as their own. 1998 and 99 were my favorite Yankee teams because in 98 they were angry and breathing fire, and flattened everyone that stood in their way. Juggernaught was an understatement.

But 99 was even better, because the lasting image from that season, after watching that particular team struggle with nature and anything you can imagine, the last out was made and O'Neill, whose father died during that playoff run, burst into tears as sure as he had burst into flames. I cried with him, and imagine others did as well. Call me what you will, but I suffer when others suffer for us.

Now I read this article about my man Andy Phillips and I'm nearly brought to tears thinking about my Mom and sister; my sister being a tremendous Yankee fan who I'm greatful was able to see the Yankees return to glory in 1996 and who I carried with me through every raging game in 1998 as if it were our own redemption. Maybe this year, meybe next year, but I see redemption for many of these Yankees coming very soon.

Go Andy. Go A-Rod. Go Yankees. Go I.

2006-06-19 12:17:10
3.   Sliced Bread
Joe understands as well as anybody what Andy and his wife were going through.

I wonder how much the Phillipses ordeal factored into Joe's reluctance to play Andy during the first few weeks of the season, and why he was getting so few at-bats.

It's great that Andy's wife came through her battle successfully, and that she was in NY last week to catch his game-ending dive into the stands. I imagine some of the toughness and determination Andy showed on that play was inspired by his wife.

2006-06-19 12:25:39
4.   Alex Belth
Hey yo C. Will,

Thanks so much for the e-mail. Keep coming back, as they say!

2006-06-19 12:26:08
5.   Sliced Bread
2 Thanks for sharing that, Chyll Will. Terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom and sister. Posts like yours put everything we discuss here into proper perspective.
2006-06-19 12:26:34
6.   bp1
3 "I wonder how much the Phillipses ordeal factored into Joe's reluctance to play Andy during the first few weeks of the season"

... and how little we all knew about the situation when we were raging on Joe for not playing the kid, or (in some cases) ragging on the kid for not producing while given the opportunity to show his stuff.

We know some about what goes on with these guys, but there's a whole lot more we don't know about that affects the daily decisions that Joe and Co have to make. I won't use this as an opportunity to give Joe and the rest of the coaching staff an blanket excuse, but it does show how little we really know about these guys and what is going on outside the stadium that affects the games and how they are played.

Go Andy, Go. A more likeable guy will be hard to find on any team (and that was true well before this article was published, for sure).


2006-06-19 12:30:53
7.   Dimelo
Chyll Will, a great story that could (possibly) teach people about perspective - from both you and Andy. However for some it might be hard to put into practice (not to boo ARod) . All they'll ever see is a 25 million dollar player who doesn't deserve the money he's getting. I'm not of that ilk.
2006-06-19 13:02:13
8.   dianagramr
Wow .... great story .... thanks for the link Alex.
2006-06-19 13:11:30
9.   jkay
Rock on Chyll Will.
2006-06-19 13:31:31
10.   JeremyM
Didn't A-Rod lose someone pretty close to him (a close uncle I believe) during the playoffs last year, and his wife ended up bring it up as a way of defending his performance (which wasn't really that bad, especially when stacked up against some of the other Yanks)?

As far as Phillips, I can't even imagine having to go through that. Chyll Will, sorry about your loss, the things that people have to go through...

2006-06-19 13:34:48
11.   Chyll Will
I'm just a fan. This is Andy's story; he reminded me of what I came to find out. Thanks, all of you; great people for a great team. I'll be around.
2006-06-19 13:45:50
12.   jayd
Be still my heart: another shot at landing tony womack?

thanks for the andy phillips link

2006-06-19 14:07:28
13.   Bama Yankee
Chyll Will, sorry for your loss. Thanks for your courage to post such a personal thing in such a public place. Stories like your's sometimes have a way of helping others cope with similar situations. They can see how others are making it day by day through difficulties and it gives them strength to carry on. So again, kudos for sharing about your loss, you will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Also thanks to Alex for posting the story about Andy. Those of us down here in Alabama have known how special a person he is for quite some time. It is good that others are finding out that there is more to Andy Phillips than what we see on the baseball diamond. As a lifelong Yankee fan (hey, down here in Bama back in the 70's all we had was a bad Braves team so I started to pull for the Yanks) and a lifelong Crimson Tide fan I was glad that Andy got drafted by my favorite team back in 1999. It has been fun to watch him move up the ranks and finally crack the roster of the big club. If given the chance I think he can really contribute to a special season this year.

2006-06-19 14:47:36
14.   C2Coke
Chyll Will, just want to say thanks for your sharing. Looking forward to see more of you here in the future. BB is truly a great community that Alex and Cliff have created, you will enjoy it as a poster like we all do (I took the liberty of including you guys)!

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.