Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mike Sez: Rest In Peace, Freddy Schuman, 1925-2010

Bob Sheppard. George Steinbrenner. And Ralph Houk. And that's just since July. Now Freddy Schuman, the old-time fan known from his signs as "Freddy Sez," has died at age 85. (Some reports had him at 82, but apparently 85 was correct.)

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2010/10/17/2010-10-17_freddy_sez_a_yankee_stadium_staple_for_the_last_20_years_dead_at_age_82.html

Freddy was the real thing. People like him are the reason we've never needed a Phanatic or a Chicken. There's not many people left who saw Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play, and now there's one less.

Freddy first let me hit the pan on Opening Day 1995. He already looked 100 years old, and having lost an eye and all his teeth, I could see how kids could have been scared of him. But he couldn't have been more accomodating to fans, from his age on down. And, I suppose, on up. (He would then have been 66.)

My first game at the new Stadium was the 4th one, a Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2009, and this was after a rough start that included 2 games where Nick Swisher had to pitch. Freddy was outside Game 6, and someone said, "Freddy, you can't retire!" And I said, "Retire? At this rate, we may need him to pitch!" Fortunately, he laughed.

Great guy. And we're running out of places on the uniform to put memorials. We may have to have the players write "SEZ" in white-out on the backs of their caps.

In a story related only because it's connected to Yankee Fans, Stadium security has announced that, due to a series of anti-gay bias incidents this month, from the awful attack in The Bronx to the webcam humiliation leading to the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, the Bleacher Creatures' reworking of the Village People's "YMCA" to surrounding someone in opposing team colors and singing, "Why are you gay?" will no longer be tolerated. Anyone doing it gets ejected from The Stadium, with all the penalties that would come with an ejection for any other reason.

I'm not gay... I am single, but no longer thin and hardly neat... but I applaud this. There are a few things that bother me about my team, and this was one of the most noxious, not just obnoxious.

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