A look back at parts of a July 1990 piece that Dave Anderson had in The Times -
Eventually the Yankees announced the attendance as 25,120, but according to American League policy, that total included tickets that were sold but not necessarily used. At the start of Friday’s twilight-night doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, the spectators were so scattered they hardly outnumbered the pigeons swooping back and forth above the screen behind home plate and into the rafters under the upper deck.
Maybe that’s the proper nickname now for the team that plays in Yankee Stadium: the New York Pigeons.
The team is in last place. The principal owner is holding his breath that he won’t be expelled. The best player is in the trainer’s room with a bad back, and sitting behind the desk in his office the manager is in deep thought.
”I’m trying,” Stump Merrill said, staring at a lineup card, ”to come up with nine guys.”
But on the Pigeons, there aren’t nine guys who can play baseball the way the Yankees once played it. In other years, the Yankees usually sent a delegation to the All-Star Game. But when the American League team is introduced Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, only the starting second baseman will be wearing a gray uniform with ”New York” across the chest.
”I never thought,” Steve Sax said, ”I’d be the only Yankee going to the All-Star Game.”
In the years to come, Andy Hawkins will be remembered by Yankee historians as the symbol of this 1990 season. Against the White Sox in Chicago a week ago, he pitched a complete-game no-hitter but lost, 4-0, when his outfielders started impersonating the Marx Brothers.
What it does mean is that Hawkins is now the symbol not so much of the Yankees’ failure as of the Yankees’ fiasco. In sports, it sometimes happens that way. Twelve years ago the fiasco of the pro football Giants’ losing seasons suddenly was brought into focus by the Fumble, a last-minute handoff from Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka that bounced to Herman Edwards of the Philadelphia Eagles, who ran into the end zone for a 19-17 victory.
Soon after that, Giant fans were burning tickets and hiring a small plane to fly over Giants Stadium towing a sign that read, ”15 Yrs of Lousy Football We’ve Had Enough.”
Now that the Lost No-Hitter is the Yankees’ version of the Fumble, their frustrated fans might be expected to mutiny as those Giants fans did. But the organizer of the Bring Back the Yankees movement, Bob DeMartin, has turned into a naturalist. DeMartin is a New Jersey trucking executive who was barred by Yankee Stadium security from displaying a sign reading ”Forgive Him, Father, He Knows Not What He Does,” at last September’s banner-night parade.
” My feeling now,” DeMartin said, ”is let nature take its course. I don’t want to get disappointed.”
What a difference twenty years makes, huh? But, you have to be a Yankees fan born before 1978 to really “appreciate” what was going on in Yankeeland back in 1990. Talk ’bout a ‘hole diff’rent ball game, and then sum, a-huh.
If Hank and Hal decide to cash out after Big Stein is 100% gone, maybe those days could return? I hope not – but, it’s possible, I suppose…