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February 15, 2007

Yanks To Honor The Memory Of Lidle

From Newsday -

The New York Yankees will honor the memory of Cory Lidle by wearing black arm bands on the left sleeves of their uniforms this season.

Lidle was acquired by the Yankees last summer from Philadelphia, and the 34-year-old pitcher died Oct. 11 when his plane crashed into a Manhattan apartment building.

The Yankees have not assigned No. 30, the number Lidle wore, to anyone this spring training.

This is probably going to get me in hot water with some, but, I have to be honest, right?

Black arm bands and holding the uniform number seems a tad, to me, over generous for a player who was on the team for 10 weeks. Yes, it was a tragic death - an extremely tragic death. And, I can understand the team doing something - like a moment of silence before the first game this spring and on Opening Day. I can even see having his widow come to throw out a first pitch on Old-Timer's Day or something.

Suppose it was not Lidle who passed away - and take the plane crash out of it. Assume that it was Craig Wilson who had an early death - and, instead of a plane accident, say, he was killed by a drunk driver. Would the Yankees be wearing black arm bands in 2007 for Craig Wilson? Somehow, I doubt that would be the case.

What if it was not Lidle and it was Sal Fasano - and he died suddenly from a heart attack? Would the Yankees hold his number and bring out the arm bands? Pardon the pun, but, fat chance.

Is there any difference between Cory Lidle, Craig Wilson or Sal Fasano in terms of their Yankees-connection and the sadness that would be associated to their passing as young men (regardless of the cause)? Not really.

Yes, this opinion is far from being "P.C." and I realize the Yankees are taking the highroad here - because there's no downside to taking the highroad. It just seems, again, a tad excessive to me.

Break out the black arm bands for Hank Bauer. Now, that I could understand - even though he lived a full life. He was a huge part of the Yankees-legacy. Cory Lidle? Yes, again, it was a tragic and terrible thing that happened to him. But, there are ways to honor him that are more fitting to his place in Yankees history.

O.K., there it is - I'll say no more. I know many will want to flame me for this - but, it's how I feel about it.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at February 15, 2007 09:03 AM


Bottom line it is a classy thing to do.
Ouch. Where is your heart Steve? It is not like they are retiring the number for good and putting him out there behind left field.

Posted by: Michael Black [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 09:41 AM

I agree with you. When Scooter passes away, you do the arm band thing. But Lidle was not a Yankee long enough or important enough to warrant the arm band.

Holding the number out for a year is ok, but that is about it.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 09:42 AM

~~~Ouch. Where is your heart Steve?~~~

Hey, I said that they should do something - no question. But, again, IMHO, this is too much.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 09:47 AM

I agree, Steve. Thanks for having the balls to say what I was thinking. Honestly, I think Lidle put himself in that situation and put a lot of people in harms way. A moment of silence? Absolutely yes!
A whole year? Absolutely not!

I don't even get the number thing.

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:03 AM

I agree with you. Cory Lidle dying was a sad thing, but he wasn't a Yankee long enough for them to honor him to that degree. Besides, he was a free agent and it was the off season, so was he really a yankee at the time? I thought he was a free agent. What would they do if Jeter died, wear TWO arm bands? I sure hope they give out his number 30 at some point; they are running out of numbers. I don't think you have to apologize. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: hewes25 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:17 AM

Excessive, indeed.

Lidle's two-year contract (signed with the Philies) had been paid in full (>$6M) by the conclusion of the season/playoffs. Was he not technically a free agent? If not, then did the Yankees demand a "rebate" from his estate, since the contract included a voiding clause in event of injury or death while piloting.

Perhaps this tribute was requested by his old South Hills High School teammate, Jason Giambi.

Ditto your sentiment about Hank Bauer, a legitimate American (USMC - 2 Bronze Stars & 2 Purple Hearts) and Yankees (17-game WS hitting streak) hero.

Posted by: KevinK [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:29 AM

The black armband is definitely excessive for a guy that was barely on the team. A moment of silence would have covered it. (But obviously his death really hit the team hard -- and, yes, if Craig Wilson got killed by a drunk driver -- which is even MORE tragic than how Lidle died -- they'd wear armbands for him too.)

It's excessive, but I'm baffled how people can bring up free agency and contracts into this discussion. This is a HUMAN tragedy, not a financial or contractual situation. Speaking about whether or not he was "technically" a Yankee because of free agency or wondering about his contract and if the Yankees should have demanded money from his estate (are you kidding me?) is so cold and disconnected it's scary.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:36 AM

Are they doing anything for Bauer?

As for the reason why they're doing the armband and holding his number, I guess you answered that in your second paragraph; "Yes, it was a tragic death - an extremely tragic death."

Anyway, this isn't the first time an organization honored a "short-time" player; the Indians had a combination patch for Tim Crews and Steve Olin in '93. I'd have to check to see if they held both numbers out for that season; in Crews case, he had a high #, IIRC or at least he did when he was with the Dodgers. So it may have been a case where his number wasn't so much held, as not assigned.

IMO, I was more suprised they gave Willie's number away so quickly, but that's just me.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:49 AM

Crews was bought in as a FA, and never pitched a regular season game for the Indians.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 10:52 AM

The article implies that they're wearing them all season, I suppose thats a bit much.

Posted by: TK_NYY [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 11:06 AM

I couldn't disagree with Steve more. Yes, he was only on the team for 10 weeks, not enough time to acquire a Yankee identity, but consider the circumstances. He died in a horrific plane crash that, before it became a sports story, was a national security concern and a New York City emergency. It was kind of like the perfect tabloid cover with the combination of chaos and celebrity. Lidle didn't die in native California, he perished on the Upper East Side, in a canyon of Yankee fans. We'll always remember where we were when it happened, and the team is doing the right thing by exhibiting his memory this season.

Posted by: RichDank [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2007 11:47 AM