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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

October 29, 2001

Who's "Unworthy" Now?

Early last week, a writer for the New York Daily News wrote that the Arizona Diamondbacks were an "unworthy" World Series opponent for the New York Yankees. The D-backs were only four years old, a mere infant compared to the mighty Yankees. In fact, the Yankee organization, created in 1903, was older than the state of Arizona! (born in 1912) Who did these pups think they were, going to the World Series at such a young age? The Yankees were going to show this upstart team who was boss.

Happily, this past weekend proved that writer wrong.

The Diamondbacks won Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, behind the superhuman pitching of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. In Game 1, Schilling gave up just one run on three hits through seven innings, and last night Johnson tossed a three-hit, eleven-strikeout, complete-game shutout. The mighty Yankees scored just one run in 18 innings, and no runs the past 17 innings.

In fact, it was the fabled Yankees who appeared unworthy.  In Game 1, outfielder David Justice dropped a fly ball and third baseman Scott Brosius fumbled a ground ball. In Game 2, Brosius again couldn't handle a routine grounder and ruined a chance at a double play. The vaunted Yankee offense stayed in New York. The Diamondbacks committed no errors and took advantage of Yankee mistakes. The Yankees didn't capitalize on Diamondback miscues because there weren't any.

As one of the few native Arizonans in existence, I love the Diamondbacks and was thrilled that the World Series had come to Phoenix. It's a great city. But many New York citizens, though certainly not all, seem unaware that a whole new world exists west of the Hudson, and, for that matter, on the other side of the Atlantic. This curious mixture of arrogance and ignorance is, at the same time, frustrating and entertaining.

Frustrating because the world does not revolve around New York. Lots of things happen in this world that New York has nothing to do with. The world is just too big for everything to happen in one city, no matter how great. Plus, this view renders inferior everything outside of New York. Phoenix? Just a dusty desert hick town, nothing to do or see, nowhere to go. 

True story. In 1989, several students and some teachers in our high school journalism class flew to New York to attend a high school journalism convention at Columbia University. Despite the fact our private school had fewer than 300 students, our monthly magazine had a decent reputation at Columbia. When the group arrived at Columbia, a host met them and asked where they were from. Phoenix, Arizona, they answered. 

"Oh," the host responded. "How'd you get here?"

"We flew."

"You mean there are planes in Phoenix?"

While such ignorance is certainly frustrating - what did this person think, the pioneers from Arizona had traveled overland in covered wagons? - it's also entertaining. After all, New York is supposedly a cradle of higher education and sophistication. Smart people live in New York. 

Now I am not saying that every New York dweller thinks this way. That would be silly and stereotypical. But many do, and it's embodied in the Yankees. 

The Diamondbacks may not win the World Series, but they've proven to everyone they belong, which should (but probably won't) give many New Yorkers a dose of much-needed humility.

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