Let's say right at the outset that we do understand that, as far as the 2009 baseball season goes, it really is all over but the shouting -- or at least it will be as soon as someone tells Jay-Z to er, Zip it, Zip It good. Which admittedly, may not happen any time soon, seeing as how the rapper's "Empire State of Mind" became the unofficial proverbial anthem of this year's Yankee team, and even made it to City Hall last Friday as part of the festivities celebrating the Yanks' four games to two victory over the Phillies in the World Series.
Of course, just how long "Empire State of Mind" (can Billy Joel sue for partial copyright infringement?) stays in the collective consciousness of Yankee fans may depend on just how fast they want to stop enjoying the accomplishments of this year's club and start worrying about next year's squad -- a state commonly referred to in Yankee circles as repeatitis, or George's Disease.
Frankly, we were hoping that, having not hoisted an MLB championship flag since 2000, the Yankees might look at this year's success with at least a modicum of humility. But no sooner were the keys to the city being readied for distribution to all the Bronx Bombers by New York's own little bundle of hubris himself, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, then Yankees manager Joe Girardi was relaying the gist of his conversation earlier in the day with Ole' King Steinbrenner. The Boss apparently wanted Joe to relay his thoughts that, "[T]he only thing greater than this year's celebration is doing this two years in a row," and to be sure to remind everyone that it was only 96 days until pitchers and catchers were due to report for spring training. What a (baseball) card!
Speaking of cards, while we all try and imagine just what uniform newly declared free agents Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will be wearing on their respective Topps come next season -- it's unlikely the Yankees will re-sign both of them, and since Matsui really can't do anything but DH anymore, it's unlikely he and his Series MVP Award will still be in New York in 2010 (hey, it's business; nothing personal) -- I do want to take this opportunity to salute Nick Swisher for not only helping the 2009 New York Yankees seem just a trifle more human than usual, but also for his haircut, which is, as they say, in a league all by itself. The Swish certainly was the most interesting looking Yankee at the parade last week, far cooler in his own goofy way than either Alex Rodriguez or AJ Burnett in their identical pork pie hats (honestly, did Jay-Z give them a two-for-one deal? And while I'm here, are you as uncomfortable as I am with the whole idea of AJ Burnett possessing a key to New York City?)
Anyway, Swisher's haircut is truly, as George Jessel used to say, something to conjure with. It's not quite a Mohawk -- not high enough in the middle -- and it's not quite a skunk; too much growth on the sides. It's more like a hybrid of the two. Let's call it a Mohunk. Wait a minute, isn't that the name of an Empire State resort up in the Catskills? Can you say endorsement deal? Just remember where to send the finder's fee, Nick.