Derek Jeter: My Twin, Sort Of…

Derek Jeter on big board at Yankee StadiumIt’s the day after in my part of the world. The day after what you may be wondering?Well, baseball’s regular season ended yesterday. The end marks another disappointing season for the locals, AKA the Yankees. Yankee fans (Mrs. MMK among them) are not used to the season ending in September as they have been spoiled by long reigns of success.However, this year’s disappointing season hurts even more as it corresponds with the final season of Derek Jeter. To say Derek Jeter is loved around here is an understatement along the lines of, “Those ISIS folks are not good people.”

Jeter’s impending departure has been resonating for the whole season but has ramped up the past week.  He was talked about and or interviewed in seemingly every newspaper, television channel, and radio station ad nausea.

It seems everyone has a Derek Jeter story. Well, here is mine.

You see Derek Jeter and I share something. But first, let me tell you some of our differences so you don’t confuse us.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I am not chick magnet who has dated Hollywood starlets, pop stars, or beauty pageant winners. But, my wife kind of likes me though.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I have not earned millions and millions of dollars. However, I am able to pay the mortgage, and I eat pretty well.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I don’t have millions of fans who applaud my every move. Yet, I did once have a blog post go on Huffington Post that got six hundred likes on Facebook.

Unlike Derek Jeter, I was not part of a team that won Five World Series Championships. But I did form a team – along with my co-manager, Ms. MMK, – and BR and SJ are signed to long term contracts.

So, what the heck do Derek Jeter and I have in common?

Well, we both came to the New York area in 1995. Derek Jeter of course came up through the Yankees farm system before debuting in May of 1995. He was sent down to the minors later in the season but did finish the season with the Yankees.

I arrived in New York in August of 1995.  I landed in downtown Brooklyn. That fall I was enrolled in the master’s program at the Long Island University, Brooklyn.

While I was excited and elated at the prospect of living in New York, I was intimidated. I didn’t know anyone either in the master’s program or in the city. You would think the odds of meeting one person in a city of 8.5 million would be high.  But it wasn’t easy. In fact, there were times when I felt lonely. Just like Derek Jeter who noted that he was overmatched when he came out of High School and started in the minors. He says he called his parents often and even thought about coming home (and leaving baseball).  In fact, he even cried.

On the first Sunday of my residency in New York, I went to Central Park. Backpack, bagel, and book in hand, I meandered around Vaux and Olmstead’s creation and stared at everything. People who saw me probably wrote me off as a goofy tourist from some hick town. And in some ways, maybe I was.  Anyway, the beauty, diversity, and cool energy of Central Park made me love Central Park from that very first Sunday.

In Derek Jeter’s first full season – 1996 – he won the American League rookie of the year award, and was one of the leaders of the Yankees World Series winning team. He also was already a darling to Yankees fans and respected by his teammates.

By 1996, I had wandered around many parts of New York City, learned the subway system and was no longer intimidated by its vastness. I had made a number of friends, many of whom I am still in touch with today. My grades were excellent, and I felt myself gaining confidence in my writing.

Fast forward to today and Derek Jeter has said goodbye to New York and Yankees fans. He made an indelible mark and will be forever loved in this part of the world. I, however, will continue the journey – from across the river in the New Jersey suburbs.

Thanks for pointing the way Derek.

I’ve got it from here.


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Happy Birthday Bruce, The Future of Rock and Roll

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen in concert.

I remember the day rock and roll began for me. It was on a Thursday night in August of 1985. Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band were in the midst of the Born in the USA tour.  I was part of the 50,000 plus fans who sang along to each song and listened raptly as Bruce went into one of his stories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Bruce is a story teller, and it doesn’t end with the songs. Periodically, he’ll tell a story with some musical accompaniment playing softly in the background that will lead into the next song.

One such story he told that warm August night has remained with me, and it’s particularly pertinent today. You see our rock n roll hero was telling us how old he was and that he was losing it.  We were not having it and let Bruce know we disagreed with his assessment. However, he longed for his ‘Glory Days,’ and that’s just what he gave us.

You know how old Bruce was? He was 35, soon to be 36. And now he is 65.

Bruce Springsteen, my rock n roll hero is 65 freaken years old. This is the man who Jon Landau, then an influential music critic, saw in May of 1974 in Boston.  In his review, Landau said, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

That guy – rock and roll’s future – is 65 freaken years old.  Isn’t rock and roll youth and rebellion? Now Bruce may have been born to run but now is closer to moving to Florida, eating dinner at 4 p.m., and needing a comb over.

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Favorite Summer Pictures

With fall officially starting this evening, it’s time to say goodbye to summer. I love the weather and the colors of fall. Yet when the summer is over, I always feel sad to see it go.

Summer is for fun. It’s for vacations and beaches and late nights. Everyone is young and alive in summer.

Well, this summer my family and I had two great vacations. Disney opened the summer and Ocean City closed the summer. In between our vacations was camp and baseball.

Below are my favorite pictures from summer. Feel free to tell me your favorite picture or to link up to your own favorite summer picture.

Family going to Magic Kingdom

Ms. MMK and SJ on the boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Children at Magic Kingdom

BR & SJ walking hand in hand through Adventure Land at the Magic Kingdom

MMK's at the Magic Kingdom.

The MMK’s with the Magic Kingdom in the background.

SJ  in sombrero staring out of airplane

SJ in his sombrero staring out the plane window on trip back home from Magic Kingdom.

Father and son at Yankee Stadium.

BR and I at Yankee Stadium. Jeter had 2 hits!

Family at Ocean City.

The family on our porch in Ocean City.

Child asleep on Ocean City Beach.

SJ at the Ocean City beach. Summer has worn him out!

Ahh, goodbye summer. See you in 9 months.

Even Dreamers Have Responsibilities

Children, ResponsibilitiesIt’s 6:00 am and my mother is out of the house.  Like the postman, rain or snow does not stop her from going to work.

It’s night time, and my father is not home. It’s tax season, and the CPA and sole proprietor is at work – maybe even pulling an all-nighter.

Fill in the blank: Children = ______. Millions of responses could go in that blank. I hope love, joy, and optimistic are on that list somewhere.

There is one word that absolutely must be on the list and that is responsibility.

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