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A Moment of Clarity Captured amidst a Topic of Shame at Yankee Stadium

Todd Jackson@tjaxmmaSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Fans walk through the concourse during the game between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Yet another domino fell in the ongoing defamation of baseball in this generation.  Add to the list of household names to be crucified for their actions now and forever, Manny Ramirez.

Manny is not the topic of this article, but his situation must be mentioned to really drive the point home. Manny now joins this generations group of baseball dunces, and sure the baseball community is shocked, but really how shocked are they at this point? 

Canseco has been trying to tell us for years.

This is just one more brick in the wall, if you will, that has been built up around baseball for over a decade now. The names may sting baseball fans, but never surprise at this point. 

No one player or organization is immune in any way from the culture of baseball that has been swept under the rug over this last 15 plus years.

One thing is certain. Fans as a whole are tired of it. Tired of the cheating, tired of the accusations, tired of the questions that are created, and tired of the distraction most of all. 

One fan base in particular has endured more scrutiny than any other. Some say rightfully so, some would say lighting bolt, some would say just what they had coming. 

Sadly for some, and rewarding for most, Yankee fans and the organization have had their fill of the steroid era and all that accompanies it. Like 'em or hate 'em, one must admit, they have been the center of attention for some time.

That is why during a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, that took place on a Thursday evening in the Bronx, not one word had been uttered about Arod's allegations and his shiny new book, or the news of the day about Manny Ramirez.

Michael Kay, Ken Singleton, and David Cone managed an amazing four and a half innings without but a whimper about Manny and the allegations against him. Very classy move depending on how one sees it. 

For an organization that has enough rocks being thrown the direction of its glass house, it wouldn't seem to pay to start shaking the finger now would it? So the Yes network broadcasters did a fine job of keeping their eye on the ball if you will, baseball, the game at hand.

Time, it would seem, took its toll and eventually the fellas in the booth just couldn't resist. The topic arose in the fifth inning. Manny, Manny, Arod, Manny.

At this point the Yanks are down to the Rays 4-3 in the fifth. No sooner than the fine gentlemen in the Yes booth began discussing the implications of the PED issue concerning either Arod or Manny, Gojira smashed one into the right field seats.

This home run warranted the immediate dropping of the conversation at hand, and turning the attention back to the game. This of course is why the fans were watching in the first place.

Then something simply amazing happened. Something that stood out and made any proud baseball fan smile. Something that reminded the fans watching at home and in person, and the men in the booth what we already know. 

Baseball is divine, baseball is art, baseball is war, baseball is American. Baseball brings to the heart a since of purity, honesty, simplicity, and pride.

The ball jumped off of Matsui's bat and immediately was laser beamed into the short porch at the new stadium. As if by design, it found its way directly in the hands of one of New York's finest. 

A police officer standing at the right place at the right time made a stellar grab of the game tying home run off a Yankee bat. With a smile from ear to ear, and fans pointing and congratulating as if he had hit the home run himself, he did what any one would like to have done, but many may not have.

He gave the ball away. A young fan took the ball and disappeared from the picture.

Again, one of New York's Finest, placed the ball in the hand of a small boy, draped in a throwback New York Rangers Jersey. The ear to ear smile became instantly contagious to those involved or watching, the boy especially. 

While the announcers were discussing what had just happened, and showing the officer in the stand, yet another spine tingling event took place. The boy returned, tapped the officer on the arm, and extended his palm. 

The two shook hands, and the spines were tingling. No one knows what was said, but no one really needs to know, it is understood.

A simple but powerful moment captured in baseball at the most opportune of times. This small happening returned to the hearts of any fan watching, a since of purity, honesty, simplicity, and pride.

Even the broadcasters were touched. Michael Kay put it simply "what a great moment."

Instantly erased, instantly forgotten for but a moment, was the discussion of PED's and those foolish enough to be caught hook line and sinker by their allure. 

So there you have it. A subject that many would rather forget, surrounding names that will haunt baseball for decades to come, was put on the back burner for a simple home run quickly followed up by a touching moment between baseball fans.

This moment my friends is what me must cherish. We can not forget we are baseball.  Without us, none of this matters. Not the players, not the teams, not the cheating, or even the sweetest of moments like this.

One home run, and one moment in time, was enough to steer the direction of the conversation directly away from the worst of topics, the most breaking news, the hottest discussion of the day, and back where it belonged—baseball, and its impact on our lives as people.

Imagine if this one little act of one fan to another can turn the page at that moment, perhaps there is hope for our beloved game yet. Chin up baseball fans, we hold the key. 

We are the heartbeat, the pulse of this great sport. Never forget that.

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