The sports world shed a tear Monday evening, as a heroic, selfless, handsome fan of the New York Yankees (all redundant adjectives to describe Yankees fans, of course) bravely waded deep into enemy territory to make life better, if even for a moment, for one benighted child. This, onlookers agreed, is just more evidence that Yankees fans are good people, and possibly the only good people left in this world.
Late in the game against the Orioles—a comfortable Yankees win, naturally, since virtue is rewarded on the field—a Yankees fan in the right field seats somehow came into possession of a ball. It is unclear where he got this ball, but he surely earned it through some combination of cleverness and athletic achievement, and deserved to put it on his mantel alongside his no doubt many other trophies. But it’s what happened next that truly showed his pinstripe heart. The Yankees fan gave the ball—just gave it!—to a young child sitting nearby.
That this child was decked out in Orioles gear would have given lesser men pause. As we all know, the Orioles are a despicable franchise, widely hated for depressing the labor market, kicking puppies, and taking two of three from New York in early April (still the only series the Yankees have lost this season). Perhaps the man noticed the pin the child was wearing that read, “Today is my first Orioles game!” In which case, the kid’s fandom is not his fault, and it may not be too late to show him the righteous path.
The child, his baseball ignorance no doubt gleaned from watching a non-Yankee team, promptly chucked the ball back on the field.
But the drama did not end there, with a Yankees fan deigning to aid his lessers and having to watch his gift be squandered (MLB revenue-sharing in miniature, a wag might describe it).
Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks, a kind man, a family man, picked up the ball from the warning track and tossed it back into the seats, where others eventually returned the ball to the young Orioles lad. What lesson was learned here? That one’s errors will simply be forgiven, and wrongs righted by fiat? That being cute will let you get away with anything? That an MLB team can depress its prospects’ service team and decline to spend its revenue-sharing money and there will be no consequences? For shame, for shame.
Ah, but then, the arc of the moral universe bent toward the Bronx. The Orioles, so used to rewarding mediocrity, gave the child a second baseball. Upon prompting by the child’s father—who, by such a gentlemanly move, we can infer is actually a secret Yankees fan, or at least longs to be one—the kid gave the second ball back to the Yankees fan who had given him the first one. Justice! Honor! Reward! All part of a normal day in the life of a Yankees fan.
I’m glad the rest of the world got to see this all play out. Perhaps we could build a kinder, nobler civilization if we just tried to be a little more like Yankees fans.
Disclosure: The author is a Yankees fan. You probably knew that already, by dint of him being exceedingly virtuous.