Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 2004 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan 5765

Felice Cohen

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Consumer Reports

Who's your daddy? | Who's your daddy? According to Pedro Martinez, ace pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, his daddy is none other than our beloved New York Yankees. Or so he said. "What can I say? Just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy. I can't find a way to beat them at this point," uttered after the Sox's second straight loss to the Yankees during the regular season. From the sound of that, it seemed Martinez had already thrown in the towel and given up the fight before the real battle even began. In fact, it seemed to extend to the rest of the Beantown team.

But do the Yankees really have that much control over the Sox to be called their daddy? And is Curse of the Bambino really to blame? Martinez's insight, though uncharacteristic of him, is no different than people who say, "We've always done it that way." Sooner or later, it's just easier to give up.

Now the controversy brewing over Major League Baseball's "Who's your daddy?" T-shirts shows it's not the most sportsmanlike of chants. Soccer players yell "Who's your daddy" when they score goals, football players scream it when they sack opponents or make touchdowns, and I'd bet even President George W. Bush yells, "Who's your daddy" every time a bomb is dropped over Iraq to compensate for the name-calling directed at his own daddy who had been accused of being a wimp. In this macho world, everyone wants to be the big gun.

But is that what all daddies do, bully their children by exploiting their power over them? Waving "I'm your daddy" in the face of promising youth only squashes the development of internal confidence. A friend of mine, who is turning 60, still suffers from low self esteem after growing up with a father who constantly called him stupid.

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But for the record, there are great daddies out there. I'm proud to introduce my father when someone asks, "Who's your daddy?" I tell them he's the one who introduced me to baseball and encouraged me to try out for Little League — a lone pig-tailed girl among boys. He told me I could do it. And I did.

And my daddy is the one who took me to my first professional game at Fenway Park and told me the story behind the Curse of the Bambino, the same curse his father explained to him as a boy. And years later when I moved to New York City (and no sooner announced I had traded hats and had become an official Yankees fan) did my daddy support my decision. He knew I'd suffered enough.

You see, some daddies encourage and some daddies discourage, but at some point in your life you've got to stop blaming your daddy and take responsibility for yourself.

So until the Red Sox realize the Curse of the Bambino is not about beating the Yankees, but about believing in themselves, they will continue to lose to the Yankees. Daddy or no daddy.

Comment on JWR contributor Felice Cohen's column by clicking here.


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© 2004, Felice Cohen