Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A Sad Night in New York
2006-10-11 16:48
by Alex Belth

When the Yankees lost the 2001 World Series to the Diamondbacks there was a silver-lining to the defeat--it saved the life of utility infielder, Enrique Wilson. Had the Yankees won the Serious, Wilson would have been on the flight headed for the Dominican Republic that tragically crashed in Queens. From Buster Olney's 'The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty' on the Belle Harbor crash:

The victory parade that would have taken the Yankees up New York City's Canyon of Heroes for the fifth time in six years was canceled, so Enrique Wilson, the team's utility infielder, decided to change his flight home. He was supposed to return to the Dominican Republic on Nov. 12, eight days after the end of the World Series, but moved up his departure a few days. He was at home when he heard that American Airlines Flight 587 – the plane he was supposed to be on – had crashed in Belle Harbor, a neighborhood in Queens. Two hundred and sixty-five people were killed in an accident that shook a city still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

When Wilson saw Mariano Rivera in spring training the next year, the reliever expressed great relief that Wilson was still alive. If Rivera had held the lead against Arizona, Wilson would likely have been on Flight 587. "I am glad we lost the World Series," Rivera told Wilson, "because it means that I still have a friend." For Rivera, this was further confirmation that they were all subject to God's will."
(thanks to joejoejoe for providing the excerpt)

Had the Yankees managed to beat the Tigers last weekend in the ALDS, Corey Lidle would still be alive. These are just some of the thoughts that ran through my mind tonight during an intermidable commute home from Manhattan to the Bronx. I could not concentrate on reading, I did not not want to listen to music. I wished I had someone I could talk to, and I looked around for anyone wearing a Yankee cap but found nobody. I was left to my thoughts and felt very alone. When I got off the subway on 231st street, I ran for the BX 7 bus in a driving rain and just missed the damn thing. I did not have an umbrella and so I waited for more than twenty minutes in the rain, the hollow pit in my stomach now climbing up to my chest, which became tighter by the moment. A crowd of people formed but hardly anybody spoke.

It's so interesting to see how death affects people. Before I left work this evening, there was already a good dose of gallow's humor floating around. "I bet A Rod is to blame for this," said one co-worker, obviously joking. Another walked past my desk and said something about how Steinbrenner always manages to steal the Mets' thunder. I shot him a dirty look and said, "Wow, that's messed up." He registered my reaction and said defensively, "If you can't laugh at life, what have you got?" Rage shot through me. What kind of insensitive jerk, I thought. Then I remembered something callous a family member said to me about the Twin Towers on the afternoon of 9.11 and was reminded that in a time of death or existential crisis there is no "right" or "proper" way to act. Some people will instinctively use humor to avoid the pain of the situation. They may say things that strike others are completely inappropriate. Really, it's unfair to judge anyone's reactions in these moments.

As I stared into space on the subway, I wondered why I was feeling so empty, so sad. I've never had any special affection for Lidle, a mouthy pitcher who seemed to have burned his fair share of bridges in different clubhouses across the big leagues. Nevertheless, he was a familiar face. Though I didn't know him personally, we all watched him on TV, lending the illusion of intimacy. This summer, I saw Lidle in the Yankee clubhouse on several occasions, walked up the runway to the dugout right behind him on one occasion, in fact.

I was sitting in the middle of the Yankee dugout, staking out a prime seat for Joe Torre's pre-game press conference, one late Sunday morning in August when Lidle walked past me, down to the far end of the bench, to conduct a TV interview. A middle-aged woman interviewed him, and a young camera operator with a baseball cap turned backwards, stood next to her. Lidle, an altogether average-looking man, wore a Yankee cap and a warm-up suit and held a bottle of water in his right hand as he sat on the bench and looked into the camera. The smell of freshly-cut grass permeated the air, and though the Yankees would not take batting practice on this morning (it had rained the night before), the grounds grew were busy attending to the field as the organist played a medley of pop tunes--first "Sonny," then "I've got you Under My Skin," and then "I Feel Fine." I overheard the woman asking Lidle about being a Yankee and him saying, "One month exact." Had he seen any Broadway shows since he'd been in town? No, he had not. "I understand you are a big poker guy," she said, hoping to engage him. Lidle had a blank look on his face and answered her questions in a bland manner, as if he was on automatic pilot. He told her about a Texas Hold 'Em celebrity event he hosted in the off-season. Eric Chavez, Scott Erickson, and David Wells were just some of his friends who had shown up.

The interview did not last long. After Lidle walked away, the interviewer looked disappointed. She asked her cameraman, "Did he sound O.K.? He wasn't very talkative."

"He could just be tired like the rest of us," he said.

The cameraman began packing up his equipment as the organist transitioned into "I Can See Cleary."

The first time I remember seeing my father cry when I was a boy was the day after Thurman Munson died. When they had a ceremony for Munson at Yankee Stadium, my father sat in his chair in the living room and sobbed. I was nine at the time and just couldn't understand why he was so upset. After all, he didn't even like the Yankees. He explained to me that sometimes it is sad when a person dies, no matter who they are, even if they did play for the Yankees. When I got older, I understood what he was telling me. But it wasn't until my trip home on a chilly, wet, October night, that I really felt what he meant.

Comments (90)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-10-11 17:40:07
1.   yankeegirl26
Thank you for your eloquence Alex.
2006-10-11 17:45:39
2.   RIYank
Tears in my eyes.
2006-10-11 17:59:19
3.   Rich Lederer
No one is prepared for death. Not Cory Lidle. Not his immediate family. Not his Yankee family. Not you. Not me.

It can be so random as to be unfathomable. We all handle death in our ways. The death of a loved one is the most difficult and personal of them all. We also are affected when a celebrity dies before his time, especially in a tragic manner like Munson and Lidle.

In a strange way, death brings us all a bit closer. You and your father now have another common bond that can be shared. Go give him a big hug for Cory, his family, and all of us.

2006-10-11 18:03:53
4.   Jeb
Alex, I aspire to write that well. I just transported to my living room in 1979 when I was 12 years old and trying to get my arms around thurman's death, Even now the yankeeography chokes me up. Also great words about Buck o'neil the other day.

As baseball fans, I hope we always remember Corey lidle as a pitcher who helped make some history in the Bronx by gutting out a 2-1 victory to complete the sweep over Boston. RIP Corey.

2006-10-11 18:40:16
5.   pistolpete
I'm with you, Alex - I have zero tolerance for jokes right now, which is probably also due to all the other Yankees bashing going on in the media right now.

The "A-Rod's fault" comment would have made my stomach churn to hear it in person. I myself encountered a reference about the 'Thurman Munson School of Flying' from a Red Sox fan I know from a message board, which nearly caused me to launch into a profanity-laced tirade.

I'm sorry, but if Josh Beckett goes down in the same sort of accident, I'm not making jokes. I'm just not.

2006-10-11 19:08:11
6.   she
Thanks, Alex.
2006-10-11 19:13:40
7.   dianagramr
Once again Alex ... your words are golden.
2006-10-11 19:17:16
8.   Flip Play
Thanks for your thoughtful words, Alex.

RIP Cory Lidle.

2006-10-11 19:22:41
9.   Max
Thank you, Alex.

I certainly felt no particularly closeness to Lidle, but this feels like a truly sad was very hard to read the stories about him and his family and this awful accident.

2006-10-11 19:37:42
10.   Jen
Thanks, Alex. I thought about that Enrique Wilson story from 2001 as well.
2006-10-11 19:45:05
11.   BklynBmr
What an incredibly sad day. The thoughtful, moving comments by both Alex and The Captain really bring it home.

I can't even imagine what Cory's Dad is going through right now, let alone his widow and son. You're not supposed to outlive your children in the first place, but to see it on television, call his cel phone and not reach him, and wait — those must have been horrible moments. And now for his wife, who through her own shock and incredible grief, has to explain to a six year old boy why Daddy is not coming home.

But these are times when people somehow find extraordinary strength within themselves, and my prayers are with the Lidle family tonight.

2006-10-11 20:02:19
12.   joejoejoe
From Buster Olney's 'The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty' on the Belle Harbor crash:

"The victory parade that would have taken the Yankees up New York City's Canyon of Heroes for the fifth time in six years was canceled, so Enrique Wilson, the team's utility infielder, decided to change his flight home. He was supposed to return to the Dominican Republic on Nov. 12, eight days after the end of the World Series, but moved up his departure a few days. He was at home when he heard that American Airlines Flight 587 – the plane he was supposed to be on – had crashed in Belle Harbor, a neighborhood in Queens. Two hundred and sixty-five people were killed in an accident that shook a city still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

When Wilson saw Mariano Rivera in spring training the next year, the reliever expressed great relief that Wilson was still alive. If Rivera had held the lead against Arizona, Wilson would likely have been on Flight 587. "I am glad we lost the World Series," Rivera told Wilson, "because it means that I still have a friend." For Rivera, this was further confirmation that they were all subject to God's will."

2006-10-11 20:02:21
13.   Chyll Will
Alex, I wish I was there on that train. We would have had a real good time talking about a lot of things, I imagine. That is life, much as it is death and anything else, that it happens or doesn't happen, but just know that I would have had something to say.

Many of you know what brought me here to the Banter, and this tragedy highlights those circumstances not just for me, but for many people. We do or we don't talk about these things, but we each have a story to tell. I hope that anyone who comes here will understand the freedom we have here, and I'm sure we have the gumption to honor each other and respect each other and ourselves.

Let me share a little something... after I left the library, I went home on the bus, getting off at the last stop as usual. I went into a nearby Rite-Aid and picked up a gallon of grape punch, which I proceeded to pay for. The cashier rang it up, charging fifty cents more than it was supposed to be. After expressing my concern, the cashier insisted that it was always that price, to which I responded by pulling out a receipt, dated two days ago with the same item costing what I said it had cost. Even with the proof in hand, he still denied it, and his manager walked over to intercede. Yet, the manager acted as though he was unaware of what the issue was and made no attempt to resolve the issue, so I walked out flustered and determined to report them.

I proceeded to another Rite Aid to get the same item at the price I had always been charged without issue. As I crossed a particular intersection, a large white SUV barrelled towards me at full speed. I reacted with disbelief as I realized I was about to be run down, for apparently no reason. The SUV lurched to a halt right in front of me. My momentary shock erupted into fury. "YO WTF IS YOUR PROB..."

I caught a glimpse of the driver, a woman. Her expression was so dumbstruck I could have rippped the driver's door off the hinges in high offense, I instead dropped the rage on the pavement, becoming uniquely calm. I backed up and continued to cross the street and out of harm's way.

A guy who was waiting on the other side of the street and saw the entire scene unfold whistled in amazement. "I saw the whole thing, " he said, "What in the world was she thinking?"

"Probably the same thing I was thinking," I responded, "I'm alive."

It's not worth fifty cents. It's not worth the trash that fills our minds from time to time. Life is more fragile than we can all imagine, so please don't take it for granted.

Sometimes we lose our cool and say things we regret. Sometimes we mean it, sometimes we don't. JL's apology is alright with me, and I consider him family here. Others, well I wasn't there and that's no longer here nor there. But let's not forget the imporatant things, even in moments where we lose control. I'm not being melodramatic, but I'm here for anyone that needs a word.

My condolences to the Lidle family... I can imagine, but I can't... and prayers and blessings for everyone.

2006-10-11 20:05:29
14.   Stormer Sports
There is not much to say, I think Alex did a fine job with his thoughtful words above.

All my sympathy goes out to his wife, family, friends, and particularly his son, Christopher. As someone who lost his father as a child, I know this is something that will efeect everything he does from this point forward, and it's horribly, horribly sad.

My guess is the plane turned because they were trying to locate a place to land, frantically. I heard reports here on the West Coast that there was a radio SOS, some kind of fuel problem.

2006-10-11 20:12:03
15.   Chyll Will
12 Mo is the one Yankee I wish I could actually meet. Just to shake his hand and give him a hug. Fo'real. That is a man and a friend for life.

(sigh) For what I don't know, I know too damn much...

2006-10-11 20:14:54
16.   Chyll Will
...Thank you very much, Alex, for bringing it all home.
2006-10-11 20:15:43
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 You've just touched my heart, Will.

Thank you for such poignant sentiments.

2006-10-11 20:18:21
18.   pistolpete
They just had his brother, Kevin Lidle, on Larry King. Couple of things struck me wrong about this - one that he was so quick to jump on TV and two, he really didn't seem all that despondent for someone who just lost his brother.

Personally, I wouldn't be able to speak for days if something happened to my bro, let alone conduct an interview on national TV...

Just odd to me is all - I guess people do deal with grief in different ways.

2006-10-11 20:20:40
19.   pistolpete
Anyone find it extremely weird that the day started with a post entitled, "Sole Survivor", and we end like this?

Torre who? ALDS loss what? None of it seems important today.

2006-10-11 20:22:26
20.   mehmattski
13 Awesome story, man. Thanks for sharing. Baseball is so much to so many people: baseball is life. Baseball is passion. Baseball is therapy. But baseball will never be perspective; for that, we must look at real life. It's unfortunate that tragedy is what forces us into that perspective.

"Life. Death. Baseball. Everything else is just overpriced grape juice."

We've got quite the collection of eloquent writers here at the Banter, and not just with Alex and Cliff, but with us kids too :-)

2006-10-11 20:25:13
21.   JL25and3
I've apologized for my penchant for black humor; maybe I can also explain it just a little bit.

Humor, for me, is a primary virtue. Any subject can be fair game, provided the humor is funny enough (The Producers. Life Is Beautiful. South Park.) And I find humor most important when times are worst. Gilbert Gottfried in The Aristocrats gave as courageous and important a performance as I've ever seen.

But beyond that, it's precisely that black, gallows sense of humor that enables me to do a grueling job without imploding. I work with children who have been handed the shitty end of every stick life has to offer. Their lives are truly tragic, and I have to feel some of that pain in order to help them.

But I can't allow that pain to overwhelm me. I also have to help them learn to function better in that real world that's treated them so badly, and if I let myself feel too sorry for them too often, I won't be able to do that. I have no time or space for a lot of the customary niceties, or for too much sympathy.

And on top of that, I have to endure their emotional onslaughts without breaking. Not a day goes by that I don't get cursed out - sometimes casually, with a F* you instead of Good morning, and sometimes in language that would make a longshoreman blush. I've been kicked, scratched, hit, bitten, spit at, and probably more that I can't think of. And I have to be able to respond without anger, or any of the other huge emotions I might be feeling.

But that doesn't mean they aren't there, and, frankly, I have to do something with them. And if I couldn't laugh, I'd have to quit. Some of my best funny stories are about being cursed out flamboyantly, and I often make outrageous, audacious jokes once the kids have gone home. But whenever I tell those stories or those jokes, I also feel the pain and the terror of that poor little child.

So please, don't think that my poor taste in humor means that I feel anything less keenly. I just survive differently.

2006-10-11 20:26:05
22.   randym77
My take on Kevin Lidle is that he's still in shock. It hasn't sunk in yet.
2006-10-11 20:28:10
23.   Stormer Sports

I understand your sentiments pistol.

However, I think the one thing everyone should take from Alex's writings on this, is that everyone deals with these things differently, and we shouldn't ever judge. I am not a religious man, but one expression has always stuck with me, "There but for the grace of God go I." I try to deal with people less fortunate, more fortunate, and everyone else, regradless of circumstances, with that understanding of the world.

I remember when my dad died. I cried because I thought that was what I was supposed to do, it wasn't the real deal. I was just nine years old. It wasn't until years later that I really understood the gravity of what had happened and began to grieve it.

2006-10-11 20:29:30
24.   Chyll Will
18 It may be shock. I remember standing across from a burnt out shell that used to be my home, answering questions about my mother and oldest sister. I was there, but not. It also amazes me that my niece, who lost her mother and grandmother, never cried in front of any of us, ever. I can't fathom how that would play on national TV, but it's not unnatural.
2006-10-11 20:34:15
25.   pistolpete
23 I can't help but judge in this instance - he talked about his brother as if he cared deeply for the man, yet never once did his voice crack or did he pause to compose himself. It was just really bizarre for me to witness.

I assume he's drawing upon some pretty powerful inner strength to get him through this rough time, because I know I'd be a complete mess. My brother and I don't always see eye to eye, but he's the only one I've got.

2006-10-11 20:34:51
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
21 Thank you for your honesty, JL, and especially thank you for the work you do. It's God's work and I appreciate deeply people like you that can do it. I know I couldn't.

I absolutely don't begrudge you your coping mechanisms just as I'm sure you understand how they might offend others, despite your intentions.

We all do the best we can under the circumstances and I deeply appreciate your sensitivity to the feelings of others.

That said, if I may lighten the mood, here's a nickel's worth of free advice, courtesy of Lester, the Alan Alda character in "Crimes and Misdemeanors": "If it bends, it's funny; if it breaks, it's not funny."


2006-10-11 20:35:23
27.   Chyll Will
21 You survive. You survived this, and that needs no explanation. It's good, man. Good anaolgy, The Aristocrats; a different riff on the same story.
2006-10-11 20:37:42
28.   pistolpete
21 No need to keep apologizing, JL - just don't let yourself become too hardened to the emotions around you. I see therapy in your future if that trend continues. Believe me, I've got friends who go about life the same way.

What's your profession, btw, that people are spitting and cursing on you all the time?

IRS agent? ;-)

2006-10-11 20:39:04
29.   JL25and3
26 I hate to say it, but I tend to quote Mel Brooks's more ruthless version: "Tragedy is I stub my toe. Comedy is you fall in a manhole and die."
2006-10-11 20:44:45
30.   JL25and3
28 This was meant purely as explanation, not as apology. Once is hard enough...

And if I got too hardened, that would burn me out as quickly. I love them - some of them, anyway. It's the ones I love that hurt the most, but they also keep me going.

IRS agents get it froms grownups. They're not nearly as much fun as kids.

2006-10-11 20:45:26
31.   randym77
25 I didn't find it odd at all. Everyone's different, of course...but IME, when something like that happens, you're numb. For days, maybe even weeks or months.
2006-10-11 20:47:56
32.   weeping for brunnhilde


2006-10-11 20:50:44
33.   Chyll Will
{28} Actually, that's more of a "fear of God" or "run like hell" kind of profession. I think he's either a bus driver or a customer service rep. Or NYPD. Or a mime.
2006-10-11 20:52:44
34.   Chyll Will
30 or... substitute teacher?
2006-10-11 20:56:31
35.   JL25and3
I feel like the Tom Hanks character in Saving Private Ryan (another movie with some black, black humor) - I should see how big the pool gets before I tell.

34 I'd say that's closest. I'm a psychologist - I work for a state children's hospital, but in an outpatient mental health/school program. The kids are basically one step away from the hospital, either on the way out or at risk of going in - and in most cases, both.

2006-10-11 21:09:34
36.   Chyll Will
35 I'm not at all surprised. My nephew's been in similar programs throughout his childhood. My brother and oldest sister worked at Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry for a time, not to mention having had other extended family live there. It's not easy at all, so I do have an inkling of what you must face on a regular basis.

Yet, if my nephew and his siblings are any indication, I'll bet there's a world of potential there, too.

2006-10-11 21:11:07
37.   Chyll Will
Good night, everyone. Don't stay up too long. >;)
2006-10-11 21:18:16
38.   PhilliesAngel0526
First off my Deepest sincere sympathy to all of you, to the Yankees family and especially to Cory Lidle's family, his wife, and his son. As a fn of the Phillies here in Philadelphia, PA, I can only hope and pray that you all grow in strength, and that your mourning and pain may lessen as the days go by.

Cory was one of the Phillies, once. when he packed up and went to the Yankees, with Bobby Abreu, I actually thought it was good for him. He wasn't doing as well in Philly, and to send him to the Yankees, was to me, like sending him to boot camp. I don't mean that in a bad way. To put it bluntly, Yankees don't take any crap from their player, as much as the Phillies do, and mind you I'm a Phillies fan saying this! I knew the Phils weren't going to the Series this year, and I thought it would be cool for Cory, and Bobby to experience something they might not get in Philly. If I was there I would of packed Cory's bag including a gallon of his favorite Ice cream kissed him on the forehead and sent him off.

Cory you will be missed not just by the Yankees fans, but Phillies fans too!! We still love you!

Yankees fans stay strong, remember you are always welcome in Philly, and we'd love to see you come down for a game!!

All my love,
Phillies Angel 0526

2006-10-11 21:51:50
39.   BklynBmr
Just listening to ESPN, where the quote from Lidle on Bonds* was mentioned. I forgot about that one. Here's a link to the SI piece:

Not to open that can of worms here, but I do respect Lidle's straight-forwardness on something few in baseball wanted to touch.

2006-10-12 01:54:36
40.   Iain
//He explained to me that sometimes it is sad when a person dies, no matter who they are, even if they did play for the Yankees.//

Fine post, Alex.
And I echo the sentiment above - here inside Red Sox Nation today there is no rivalry, just thoughts and prayers for Lidle's family.

2006-10-12 04:15:07
41.   Shaun P
Alex, thank you for capturing in words the feelings I've had ever since I first heard the news. That was beautiful.
2006-10-12 05:43:18
42.   choirboyzgirl
My heart and condolences go out to Corey's family, especially his wife and son, as well as his friends, teammates and fans.

Maybe at lunch today I'll go out and have some ice cream in honor of Corey :)

2006-10-12 05:54:26
43.   mikeplugh
After reading all your comments, I'm feeling more moved about the whole thing than I'd been all day. I recently wrote the following note to Alex in an e-mail, and I think it kind of sums up where I've been at....

"I'm kind of in limbo with no Yankees drama to follow. The Lidle situation kind of hit me this morning. I was watching the news here in Japan and they were talking about it. I was drinking my coffee as I always do before heading out to work, and I kind of felt blank. I didn't know exactly how to feel. On one hand I was saddened by the idea that a man had died needlessly in an accident, but who was he? He wasn't with the team long enough to get attached to, or to know more about his family and such. After thinking more about it, I definitely felt a bit choked up. I think it was hearing Rick Petersen talk about how now of the baseball stuff matters as much as the life away from the game. It's so true."

My stepdad died of cancer in 1994. My mom really loved him. I was 23 at the time, and I really didn't know shit about death. For two years he slowly withered away at home, and I'm proud and sad to say that I was with him in the hospital the night he died, to care for him and wipe his forhead and all the rest. Man...seems like yesterday. We're never really prepared to handle death, whether it's someone close to us, a familiar character from our peripheral, or 100s of 100s in Darfur. When we contemplate it at all it's chilling.

Glad to have this forum, and Alex's eloquent take to add to my understanding of something so far beyond basic human comprehension. Thanks y'all.

2006-10-12 06:29:42
44.   mikeplugh
Don't know if anyone has posted this from Alan Schwarz of ESPN and BA. Truly chilling, and a very nicely written piece about his personal relationship with Lidle.

2006-10-12 06:50:42
45.   RI Yankee
Thanks Alex. I was having some of the same feelings last night driving home. I was 15 when Thurman died and I cried because he and Bobby Murcer were my favorite players as a kid. Last night I thought about Lidle's quotes after the ALDS and remembered how Thurman wasn't exactly reticent about expressing his opinion. I always used to wonder if Thurman had been traded to the Indians would he still be alive. I wonder now, if fate still hadn't spared him, would Cleveland fans' reaction have been the same as our reaction to Corey Lidle's death.
2006-10-12 06:51:38
46.   Sliced Bread
Beautifully said, Alex. It was a profoundly sad night in New York.

I knew about the plane crash when I got on the crowded commuter bus to New Jersey late yesterday afternoon, but I didn't know it was Lidle. All I knew is that I wanted to get home to my wife and sons.
By the time I boarded the bus in the bowels of the Port Authority terminal, terrorism had been ruled out, and it looked like an accident, maybe weather related, probably pilot error they were speculating.
I thought about the randomness of life, and the chances we take in life, closed my eyes and said a quick prayer for whoever was killed in the crash, and also for the family and friends left behind. This has become my routine reaction in the aftermath of tragic news.
Then I settled into my commuter coccoon for the long ride home. Eased back my seat a bit, with polite regard for the knees of the commuter behind me. Took off my rain soaked Yankees cap, and stowed it into my backpack.
Clicked on the iPod, put those silly white plugs in my ears, and dialed up one of the two Beck albums I downloaded the night before.
I'm a big fan of Beck. I've been buying his stuff since about 1995. I downloaded his new album "The Information," which came out this week, and also the one called "Sea Change" which he put out in 2002. I'd put off that album for years, because I knew it was sad stuff. Beck wrote it in the midst of a break up. I also imagine 9/11 crept into everything that was written and performed by American artists that year. I had read in reviews how beautifully sad the songs were, and a good friend told me how great the album was, but I put it off for years. On Tuesday night, for some reason, I was finally ready for "Sea Change."
On the way into the city yesterday morning I checked out "The Information," which is typically great Beck, funky beats and grooves, clever and psychadelic lyrics.
With the rain falling on New York, and the images of the burning high rise plane wreckage fresh in my mind, I tuned into Beck's "Sea Change" for the long, sad ride back to my family.
It is indeed a beautifully sad collection of songs.
More than half way into the 12 song set, I had to open my eyes, and pause the iPod to take a phone call from my wife. We usually touch base quickly at some point during my hour and a half commute home.
She asked if I knew about the plane crash. I did. She asked if I knew who was on board. I didn't. She told me it was Lidle. I was stunned.
Technically, you're not allowed to talk on your cellphone on the bus, so I always keep it quick, and keep my voice to just above a whisper.
Processing the tragic news I recalled reading the Times article a few weeks ago about Lidle being a pilot. My wife reminded me he pitched on Saturday. I had already buried that baseball game, and all memory of who pitched in it.
After I hung up, I settled back into my seat, and watched the rain splashing and streaking the windows of the bus. Tail lights and brake lights in my direction, head lights going the other way, puddles and rain all around us.
Beck's sad songs remained on pause, the silly white ear plugs dangled from my lap. I remembered reading somewhere that Cory Lidle had a wife and kid. I thought about them, and the choice he made in life to fly his own plane. I thought about how I so prefer driving myself to and from the city, to suffering the indignities of mass transit. I imagined Cory Lidle and I would agree that piloting yourself is the best way to travel.
Corey Lidle died doing something he very much enjoyed. It was his escape. I wondered if that would comfort his wife and child.
I thought about Thurman Munson and wondered how the news was being processed and reacted to by the Yankees, and here on the Bronx Banter board.
I was deeply saddened, and wanted to get home to my family.
I always thank the bus driver when they drop me off at my car, or at the terminal. Last night, more so than others, I meant it.

Rest In Peace, Cory Lidle, and may the Lord watch over your family.
Say hey to Thurman Munson for us.

2006-10-12 07:37:06
47.   pistolpete
BTW, got home and switched on YES and saw that MATMD were talking about Lidle. They admitted the fact that they had basically smashed him since he came to NY, and even had an on-air argument with him on Monday afternoon about the post-ALDS comments he made.

Mad Dog, IMO, looked absolutely wrecked. His hair was tussled, his eyes looked shifty and slightly bloodshot, and he just looked generally uncomfortable talking about the subject. And he must have repeated about 100 times that he thought the Mets game should have been cancelled.

I don't know if he needed to feel any pangs of guilt about the whole incident, but he was definitely flustered for most of the broadcast...

Hmm, seems Raisman (whom I usually despise for his stupid 'Al-Yankzeera' comments) of the Daily News felt sort of the same way:

2006-10-12 07:48:34
48.   C2Coke
I was out all day yesterday until midnight, and I learned this deeply sadden news this morning.

Life sometimes is too vulnerable. Rest in Peace, Lidle. Deepest condolence to his family, friends, and all loved ones.

2006-10-12 08:16:32
49.   bobtaco
46 Sliced, I think Sea Change is probably Beck's best album. I am a huge fan of his. I'm enjoying the new one immensely, but I still think Sea Change, sad as it is, is a masterpiece.

Another album that you may enjoy is Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It has some amazing songs and some very weird karma within it. The album was written before September 11th, but there is a lot of synchroncity there. Some of the lyrics, the cover and the title make you think it must have been released after, but in fact it was supposed to be released on September 11, 2001 -- another weird coincidence.

There is a documentary about the making of the album that is called "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" ( that's great too.

2006-10-12 08:19:09
50.   The Mick 536
Sorry all of you, but I still don't get it. Lidle hadn't been a Yankee long enough to have a place in my roster. Would cry again for Elston Howard before Corey.

Wondering what really happened? What were they doing there?

Sad that two people died. Happy no one on the ground suffered any injuries.

I still cry for Clemente, a little. Great arm. He died doing charitable work. But he'd still be alive if he hadn't taken a ride in a plane with a poor service record. Thurman, too, though he seemed to be finished as a Yankee when he crashed. He may not have been experienced enough to fly the plane that he crashed.

Don't know enough about Ken Hobbs or Buddy Holly or Will Rogers or Tony Lema, either. Who lights candles for them? And while I don't want to seem insensive, before I shed some tears for people who die before their time whom I am only somewhat tangentially involved with, I'll cry first for 2,700 US soldiers who needlessly lost their lives fighting for who knows what, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in the quest for whatever, and millions who have lost their right to breathe, many of whom who were inhumanly violated, because of their religious or political beleifs; skin colors, or family origins.

To Corey's family and my Bronx Banter family, may his soul be a blessed memory and may G-d comfort you and all others who mourn.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-10-12 08:20:30
51.   Chyll Will
47 Read it. Not even close. I'm not reading the NY Daily News anymore.
2006-10-12 08:23:36
52.   JL25and3
47 I don't think Russo has anything to feel guilty about. It sounds like he went a bit over the top, it's true - can't enjoy the day in NY? But I think it was fair to criticize Lidle for calling out Bonds but not his old friend Giambi, and for making some dumb comments last weekend. That's public behavior directly related to baseball, and I see it as fair game for Francesa and Russo.

Yesterday I thought that their coverage was good - serious and informative. Contrast it with Michael Kay's performance at the other end of the dial, which I went into yesterday.

2006-10-12 08:23:58
53.   ny2
apparently it was jeter who left lidle to icre cream after his first game

"Upon his trade to New York, Lidle questioned the Phillies' desire to win. Later, former teammate Arthur Rhodes questioned Lidle's conditioning. And after Lidle beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-1, in his Yankees debut on a 100-degree afternoon at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 3, Jeter anonymously left six wrapped ice creams in Lidle's locker."

2006-10-12 08:28:33
54.   pistolpete
52 Oh I agree it's fair game, and if Lidle was alive today we wouldn't think twice about it.

I'm simply making an observation that Mad Dog looked, as Raissman pointed out, in 'disbelief' and visibly shaken for the greater portion of the show. I also wondered aloud if he felt any guilt over roasting Lidle all those times, but as I mentioned, only yesterday's tragedy would spark such a notion.

2006-10-12 08:31:13
55.   Chyll Will
50 Fair enough. Still, for some people it's important enough, so it's not important to question why they feel sad for someone they hardly know. No one should have to justify their sadness towards the misfortunes of fellow human beings, regardless of status or stature.

What I think it does, though, is allow people to sort through their own pain and sorrow among fellow human beings whom they have something in common with. My long story was related not directly to Cory Lidle, but what his death made me think about. Others here are likely doing the same. You are not wrong for questioning why, because that's part of the whole deal.

Just understand that all of us who feel something from this are bearing our own crosses in some way, shape and form, and that's nothing to scoff at. Banter has become and allowed itself to be an appropriate gathering ground for talk on all points, with a common bind in New York Yankee baseball. >;)

2006-10-12 08:42:19
56.   JL25and3
55 Also fair. But I tend to agree that Lidle's death, while sad, barely scratches the surface as a personal tragedy. I appreciated that Russo wasn't phony or hypocritical at all; he felt this story keenly while standing by the job he did before.

On the other hand, while I don't want to be judgmental, Jeter's comments struck me, well, a bit phony. "Spending the last few months as Cory's teammate, I came to know him as a great man." Really? A great man? Is that what he would have said two days ago?

Lidle was ostracized by a lot of ballplayers throughout his career, and I doubt that he was ever completely accepted in any coubhouse.

2006-10-12 08:53:36
57.   yankz
I think "Blogging the Bombers" also has a good write up:
2006-10-12 08:54:40
58.   pistolpete
56 Honestly? The statement didn't even sound like it was written by Jeter himself. Everyone and their sister has a publicist these days, so I'm guessing he had some help.

Torre and Giambi's reactions seemed honest and real to me, because they didn't seem composed or predetermined. I realize Jeter's the consummate Yankee captain who always says the 'right thing', but it's times like this where you just want to see a 'human' reaction rather than the 'professional' reaction.

He really almost seems like a robot sometimes...

2006-10-12 09:00:28
59.   Chyll Will
56 Sure, I wasn't saying that we all know how his family feels, I'm just saying there's no need to justify feeling something or not feeling something, and there's nothing wrong in questioning the depth of the issue within a bound of respect. Mick's not the only person to ask, and hopefully I'm not the only one to answer. 'There's no malice; feel free to talk about it' is what I mean. Just my two cents worth, maybe I'm wrong.
2006-10-12 09:04:59
60.   Chyll Will
56, 58 ...for what it's worth, you make good points and I'm inclined to agree. But where would Steinbrenner's statement fall under that scrutiny?
2006-10-12 09:08:07
61.   ny2
58. I feel taht way too sometimes but you also have to look at the fact that jeter has been subjected to the ny media for 11 years now ... I think he's just numb to it and knows that any slip means days and days of coverage and questions ... i think there are times he should just be human but I also know that I haven't been in his shoes for the past couple of years ... I don't know if he can go back from the 'professional' reaction at this point which is a shame b/c we all hear stories about what a great personality and how funny he is around the clubhouse but we never get to see that
2006-10-12 09:10:16
62.   JL25and3
60 Generic, corporate, maybe even shallow - but not phony. He didn't really know the guy and doesn't pretend that he did.
2006-10-12 09:16:12
63.   Sliced Bread
49 Thanks for the Wilco tip, bobtaco. I've heard of the record, and read reviews, but haven't checked it out. Will do.

Listening to "Sea Change" right now.

2006-10-12 09:22:44
64.   const56
what the heck is mick talking about? Why mix (misguided) politics into this?

A man has died, someone we all know a little something about.

To go into a Bush Derangement Syndrome rant has no place here.

2006-10-12 09:27:21
65.   Bama Yankee
64 Amen, const56. I wondered if I was the only one who was thinking that about mick's post.
2006-10-12 09:44:46
66.   JL25and3
64 I wasn't far off from mick's position, though without the politics. On the way to work this morning I was thinking about what happened in that small Amish town last week. I didn't know any of their names - still don't - but I felt that - viscerally, not intellectually - as a far more profound tragedy.
2006-10-12 09:55:54
67.   pistolpete
66 More profound? Possibly, but the Lidle incident just hits home more with New Yorkers because of the nature of the accident (shades of 9/11), and because it was an individual who happened to play for the hometown team.

Now, ask me if the people in and around Columbine, Colorado, identified more with the Amish school shooting, and I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

2006-10-12 09:56:43
68.   bobtaco
65 I think what he is trying to convey is that the media focuses so much attention on this one random death and countless others slip away without so much as a peep. Like the round the clock media attention that Princess Di got compared to what's going on in say, Darfur...
2006-10-12 09:58:42
69.   Yankee Fan In Boston
64 65 66

i also was thinking of the amish school shooting in relation to the crash.

before i say anything else, i want to say that what the lidles and those close to them are going through is terrible, and i wouldn't wish this upon anyone.

i think that the crash struck such a nerve with people has much to do with the image of fire and smoke billowing from a tall NY building. the mention of aircraft hitting a building brings a lot of feelings flooding back in people.

the shootings in schools do as well, but possibly to a lesser extent because these things don't last as long in news cycles as september 11th did.

everyone watched the footage from that day on a daily basis for weeks. it was awful and those scars last a while.

i don't really know what i'm talking about.

i'm just typing...

2006-10-12 10:06:59
70.   pistolpete
69 The more I think about it, the more I believe it had to do more with a tie-in to 9-11 than the significance of Lidle being on the plane. If you watch/listen to the sports stations, it's all about Lidle - however, the major cable news channels, such as CNN or Fox, focused more on the heightened level of security based on the details of the accident. The interviews on the street had most people drawing comparisons to 9-11, and how they feared a repeat performance of that morning.

Bloomberg was all about security in his press conference - he didn't even mention Lidle.

2006-10-12 10:07:45
71.   pistolpete
70 Ugh, could I use the word 'more' any more? I need to proofread more.
2006-10-12 10:09:44
72.   Yankee Fan In Boston
yes. that is what i was trying to say (but failing miserably).
2006-10-12 10:18:39
73.   Yankee Fan In Boston
68 absolutely.
2006-10-12 10:23:17
74.   JL25and3
To shift the focus a bit: The Times has a very interesting article ( about Lidle's flight path. Apparently the East River is an exceptionally difficult and dangerous path to take, even for much more experienced pilots. There's also the suggestion that the crash might have oocurred when they tried to turn around in a relatively narrow space with a crosswind.
2006-10-12 10:28:49
75.   3rd gen yankee fan
Well, for myself, I feel weird because I've always been of the mind of, why do so many people mourn a celebrity you didn't know personally, when yeah so many nameless people die every day some of whom we have a direct responsibility for and very little mourning is done over them. About Cory, I feel the shock and grief almost as if I knew him personally. I appreciate what he's done for the Yanks but he's a short timer. Still as much as the Yankees are a part of my life, so was he, and something is now missing. I have no immediate connection to the Amish, I have no children, and I know there's a lot of sick freaks in the world, so maybe that's why I'm not as moved by that incident. After all the school shootings we've had in this country, maybe I kind of expect that now. Nice, huh? I don't expect one of our pitchers to crash his plane.

Please be gentle with each other as we try to figure out what we're feeling and why. Where else would I post something like this? Who else might even begin to understand?

2006-10-12 10:29:58
76.   Bluebleeder87
He explained to me that sometimes it is sad when a person dies, no matter who they are

i really liked that part Alex, so very true.

2006-10-12 10:43:39
77.   ny2
Do you guys remember reading this article last year ... seems like the same issues keep coming up over and over again

2006-10-12 10:52:03
78.   wsporter
I'm not sure why we feel the need to sometimes say the things we say or feel the things we feel at times like this. I find it hard to read the debate here and elsewhere about the worthiness of Cory Lidle's connection to us and its ability to arouse a sense of tragedy. To everyone I would say that I would hope each of us can find a place in our heart to mourn an innocent death no matter if that person is great or small or part of an immense human injustice or part of a small personal tragedy. I hope that each of us can find the time to grieve for a widow and a parent and a child left behind no matter how well connected we feel. I wish in a way that we could find the time to express our selves with kindness about such things. I wish that when we didn't have kind words to share that we kept the words we have to our selves. In times like this it is not important always to be right or smart but merely, simply to be kind.

This poem is something that has been important to me since I was a small boy and my mother read it to me on the occasion of an airline accident that claimed the life of her cousin. It is a famous poem as I came to find and one that has been the inspiration of much great thought but I think it speaks to us all now. It has always spoken to me. John Donne the poet asks us all simply to understand that we are all connected, one to the other, and simply to be kind.

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

2006-10-12 10:58:04
79.   Shaun P
Somewhat off topic, but I'm curious and where else does one ask this kind of thing?

Lidle was a replacement player in '95. I know that replacement players are not officially part of the MLBPA. For example, you'll never find Kevin Millar or Cory Lidle in an officially licensed baseball video game. But would Lidle have qualified for the same pension benefits that MLBPA members get upon retirement?

I hope that he did, and that his benefits will go to his wife and son. And if he wouldn't get the pension because he was a replacement player, I hope the MLBPA looks past that and gives them out anyway.

2006-10-12 11:05:03
80.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i read somewhere this morning that crossing the line for one spring training game was indeed enough to leave him without a pension.

...maybe MLB will make an exception...

2006-10-12 11:25:18
81.   JL25and3
79, 80 I don't think Lidle's vested in the pension plan anyway - I thought you needed 10 years service.

If he is otherwise eligible, it wouldn't be MLB's decision, it would be the union's. I doubt that they would grant an exception for him just because of the timing and manner of his death.

2006-10-12 11:36:30
82.   Shaun P
81 I too thought you needed ten years worth of service time, but I didn't remember for certain.

Anyone known the e-mail or regular mail address for the MLBPA? I would like to write them a letter and express my opinion that they ought to give Lidle's wife and son the pension benefits. The strike was 12 years ago. And what great PR it would be - the new CBA is being negotiated as we type (I hope).

2006-10-12 11:46:29
83.   JL25and3
82 You really can't just give it to Lidle's family unless you're willing to lift the ban on all replacement players. I don't think the union would agree to that. Honestly, if it were my union I don't know that I would vote in favor of that.
2006-10-12 11:47:12
84.   Bama Yankee
82 Try this:

2006-10-12 11:51:10
85.   JL25and3
82 According to, replacement players are eligible for pension benefits. They don't get licensing money, and they can't vote on union matters.

2006-10-12 12:12:40
86.   Shaun P
84 85 Thank you both!

I can't find an authorative source for how much service time one needs for full pension benefits to vest. One place suggested 43 days, which seems crazy; another four years. If Lidle's pension benefits are fully vested, I don't have a letter to write. Otherwise . . .

2006-10-12 12:18:56
87.   3rd gen yankee fan
"[Tyler] Stanger, the flight instructor, operated a flight school in La Verne, Calif., and lived nearby with his wife and young child."

:-( Just sucks all around.

2006-10-12 12:45:36
88.   Yankee Fan In Boston
there is an interesting story here:
2006-10-12 13:47:14
89.   rabid stan
I have to admit, when I heard Lidle was involved in the crash, my first thought was not about how that would go over here. It was only when I dropped by the Toaster during a free moment at work that I thought to check in. Nice thoughts all around, and a good piece by Alex.

It's a pity.

2006-10-13 10:10:05
90.   3rd gen yankee fan
Re: the pension benefits we were talking about earlier:

"Baseball plan would pay $1.5 million in death benefit -- unless Lidle was piloting plane"

"While Lidle wasn't a member of the Major League Baseball Players Association licensing plan because he was a replacement player during the 1994-95 strike, the New York Yankees pitcher was covered by the union's benefit plan.

The plan calls for a $450,000 life insurance benefit and has an accidental death benefit of $1.05 million. However, the plan -- which applies to all big leaguers -- contains an exclusion for "any incident related to travel in an aircraft ... while acting in any capacity other than as a passenger." ...

"Lidle had 9 years, 100 days of major league service -- 72 days shy of being fully vested."

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