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December 06, 2001

Postcard from NYC
By Rob Dibble

There is no place I'd rather be watching playoff baseball right now than exactly where I am -- in New York City. New York is the melting pot of America and baseball is America's favorite pastime. Yankee Stadium is so rich in tradition -- it's just awesome. The people around Times Square have been so friendly and accommodating (of course, they may feel differently after they see my naked butt running around in December).

It unnerves me when I hear people say Americans are looking to sports for a distraction -- these games mean so much more than that.
It's hard to believe that a month ago, evil came to the United States and this very city. It's difficult to fathom the mindset of someone who tried to take down our nation's hopes and dreams by taking down the World Trade Center and killing all of those innocent people in the Pentagon and on those planes. While understanding is difficult, moving on is a necessity.

It unnerves me when I hear people say Americans are looking to sports for a distraction -- these games mean so much more than that. I see sports as a symbol of our freedom and our way of life. Just being at Yankee Stadium, in the epicenter of the nation, I was watching and admiring our nation's resiliency. Its amazing to see people getting on with their lives, smiling, laughing and enjoying the spirit and competition of the game.

I have to give props to the groundskeepers for being so meticulous. While Dan Patrick and I did our radio show from the press box, we were watching them move stones, cut grass and water the field for hours. Proof that what might seem ridiculous in other parts of the world, holds so much importance here. I was buoyed by the attention to detail, taking pride and pleasure out of a hard day's work. Getting back to normal.

During the game, I sat next to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and Reggie Jackson. Even after a disappointing loss, they still seemed awed by the smiling faces in the crowd in their house.

I loved watching a young Oakland A's team win an impressive Game 1 over the world-champion Yankees -- yet, somehow that win seemed secondary. Now more than ever, we're all Americans first and fans second. We might fight and disagree and root for different teams, but we have a new respect for the right to do that.

The best part about being a ballplayer is the ability to entertain and to bring smiles to the fans -- it's what I miss most about being retired from the game. I miss bringing dreams to life, because we're all dreamers.

Play ball.

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