Search

There Is Crying in Baseball ... and the Yankees Do Most of It

Oct. 27, 2003
Oct. 27, 2003

Table of Contents
Oct. 27, 2003

NBA Preview 2003-04
NBA Preview 2003-04: Scouting Reports
Departments

There Is Crying in Baseball ... and the Yankees Do Most of It

As sure as you'll see the Yankees in the postseason, you'll see
Joe Torre crying. The manager cried in 1996 (twice) and in '98
and in '99 and in 2000 and in 2001. He cries so much he's the
first sports figure to warrant his own montage on VH1's Celebrity
Crybabies--and that was before he went weepy after the Yankees
beat the Red Sox last week.

This is an article from the Oct. 27, 2003 issue Original Layout

Torre is the tone-setter for a team awash in tears. Coach Don
Zimmer broke down sobbing in his public remarks after his tango
with Pedro Martinez, then cried again after the championship
series. Reliever Mariano Rivera raced out to the mound to do some
crying at the conclusion of Game 7. Owner George Steinbrenner
wept after the Yankees beat the Sox, too. In the regular season.

"Winning is emotional to me," the Boss explained, dabbing his
eyes after a 2-1 July 7 victory. First baseman Jason Giambi cried
at his first Yankees press conference in December 2001.
Sox-slayer Aaron Boone cried so much when he got traded to New
York from the Reds in July that he had to cut short a media
briefing. Yes, when it comes to crying, these Yankees are in a
league of their own.

"You can't speculate on why an individual cries at a given time,"
says Tom Lutz, author of Crying: The Natural & Cultural History
of Tears who teaches at Iowa. "But most crying comes when there's
a conflict of emotions. The mother of the bride is happy and sad
at the same time. The Yankees are prime candidates for crying.
Given their socioeconomic position as the richest, most
advantaged team, it's easy to see how there would be some deep,
subconscious conflict about being successful."

In the Bronx there has always been a chance of showers. We
remember Lou Gehrig as much for his wiping away a dignified tear
during his "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech as we
do for his 2,130 straight games. Babe Ruth sobbed at his
farewell. DiMaggio cried for Marilyn. Mickey Mantle cried
frequently during his battle with alcoholism. Billy Martin was
caught weeping by cameras after clashing with Steinbrenner in the
1970s. And Goose Gossage wept at his locker after making two
errors in a game in '78.

The Yankees have led us into the era of the mighty duct.
"Athletes cry way more now than they did 30 years ago," says
Lutz. "The rise of feminism has had a lot to do with men's crying
becoming acceptable in sports. It's happening all over. In 1972,
presidential candidate Edmund Muskie was run out of the race
after he cried in front the press corps, and it was seen as a
sign of his mental instability. When Bob Dole ran for president
in '96 he cried in public and it was seen as a sign of his
sensitivity."

This is an environment in which NBA forward Vin Baker cried after
being benched last year; in which golfer Len Mattiace wept after
losing this year's Masters even as Mike Weir was weeping for
winning it; in which a retiring Pete Sampras cried at center
court at the U.S. Open; in which then Kansas coach Roy Williams,
the St. Francis of college hoops, cried and sniffled after losing
the NCAA title game, and called his team "the Little Engine that
Could."

Torre's tearful history also includes after the Yankees clinched
the division. "I surprised myself," he said. "I started talking
about my players ... and it just came out." There is, however,
one Yankee who still keeps his chin up and his cheeks dry:
throwback Eddie Layton, the seventysomething organist whose
Gehrig-like run--he's never missed a game in 37 years--ends after
the World Series. Layton spoke to SI about the retirement
ceremony the Yanks held for him in September. "I welled up, but
they had me on Diamond Vision and I didn't want to cry." Sweet
sentiment, Eddie. And a note to Fox: Please keep the cameras off
Torre when Layton strikes that final chord. --K.K.

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE BRODNER

"This has the potential to eclipse the Ben Johnson scandal."
--ONE LUCKY DRUG BUST, PAGE 25