Editor Speaks Out: Life is bigger than baseball

Brendan Dowding

I’m as big a Boston Red Sox fan as they come. For as long as I can remember I have been watching their games. My dad, brother and I still huddle around the TV, screaming at players and feeling sorry for ourselves for following a team that breaks our hearts seemingly every year, with the exception of the miraculous 2004 season. Our love for the Sox is one that will surely never waver.

With that undying love for the Beantown team comes another, equally strong emotion: hatred. Hatred for a team that hails from the Bronx. Hatred for a team that dons pinstripes. Hatred for Derek Jeter and every single one of his October fist pumps. Just like every other self-respecting Sox fan, buried somewhere deep within my DNA is a gene that makes me despise the New York Yankees.

Naturally, when the Bronx Bombers were bounced from the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers, I took great pleasure in knowing the “unstoppable” Yanks only managed to play four more games than my beloved Red Sox, who had failed to make the playoffs. I expected the satisfaction that accompanied their elimination to last until well into the off season.

Then a strange thing happened. I came home from classes last Wednesday night and turned on ESPN. I expected to see NFL Countdown or some other football show that the network usually airs around this time of year. What I saw instead made my jaw hit the floor. Cory Lidle, a Yankee starting pitcher who was picked up at the trade deadline, had died in a plane crash on the East Side of Manhattan. Lidle, who had earned his pilot’s license in the past few years, allegedly crashed his small plane into a high-rise apartment, and he and another passenger lost their lives. Seeing the message of his death run across the bottom of the television screen made me sick to my stomach.

It was then that I realized: Cory Lidle wasn’t just another guy playing on my team’s archrival. He was a father, a husband, a son and most importantly a human being. It’s easy to forget that athletes have normal lives like the rest of us once they take off their jerseys. I stopped thinking about the baseball season and started thinking about his family. I even felt bad for the Yankee organization. It seems as though they lost a classy guy and a crafty veteran pitcher who lent his services to seven major league teams during his professional tenure.

The point of all this is that baseball is just a game. But it does get the best of us every now and then. If I told you I never argued with Yankee fans I’d be lying. I get annoyed with them as I’m sure they do with me. Yet it takes a sad instance like Cory Lidle’s death to remind us it is just a game. There really are more important things in life than wins and losses.Hopefully that is something Red Sox and Yankee fans can finally come to agree upon.