Before Opening Day 2006 – which, for some reason, was played at night in Oakland – the Yankees were given T-shirts that read: “One Team. One Mission.” on the back. The front had the NY logo superimposed over the number 27.
The only positive of defeat is that the shirt still works. The team didn’t issue the one I’m wearing. It was bought off a table on River Avenue. The words and design are slightly different, but the message is clear: One Team. One Mission. That is the mantra of everyone in baseball. It is what bonds us with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and every baseball nut in the upper deck that also feels like part of the team.
It is why we invest in season tickets instead of our 401K, why we save vacation time for Opening Day and weekday afternoon games, why we get to work an hour early so we can leave in time to get our scorecard filled out before the first pitch. Most of all, it’s why nothing else matters for nine innings.
One Team. One Mission. Forever.