"Is everybody on?" asked the elevator attendant, and from the back—from a cartoon in a canary-yellow sweater—came an impatient "Yeah." The doors were closed, the elevator descended, and the cartoon quickly disembarked, disappearing into the night outside Yankee Stadium.
Yogi Berra was leaving, after only eight innings, of a mere Game 6. He has evidently gotten over "It ain't over till it's over."
Too bad, too, because he missed the best celebration in all of sports. Better than kissing the Cup or leaping at Lambeau or cycling the Champs-Elys�es is this: hog-piling in the House that Ruth Built. Having just won the World Series. As a member of the visiting team.
What is the sound of no hands clapping? Of 56,000 Yankees fans inventing the opposite of surround sound? Imagine Rudy Giuliani and Spike Lee, two New Yorkers with no OFF switch, shutting up in stereo.
"Yeah, this is real normal," said a freaked-out Florida Marlin, clad only in his underwear, celebrating his team's world championship in the tunnel outside the clubhouse. "Partying in Yankee Stadium." Normal? No visitors had celebrated in the Stadium since the Los Angeles Dodgers did 22 years ago. It's abnormal, and oddly illicit, like smoking in church.
And who was that Marlin? Who knows? Until last week, who recognized any Marlin not named Pudge? Certainly not manager Jack McKeon, who still calls Mike Lowell "Mark" and Ugie Urbina "Yogi." Which may explain why Yogi was looking so...Ugie. After the game, all the Yankees looked physically ill.
"I'm sick to my stomach right now," said pitcher Andy Pettitte, causing hearts to cartwheel in Boston, Queens and a thousand other Yankee-hating burgs in North America. These are the real Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.
How perversely pleasant to see, on base paths once run by Ruth, another flabby man often seen in pinstripes touch 'em all: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, doing a victory lap in his loafers.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who said in September, "Around here, winning is second to breathing," chewed through his turtleneck at the thought of tins nouveau riche nitwit doing what no member of his own $180 million ballclub could do in the 2-0 loss just concluded: cross the plate in Yankee Stadium.
"I didn't watch," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter of the Marlins' revelry. The shortstop looked like a man who had just seen his wife in the sack with Don Knotts. "I just...walked off the field." He did so through a tunnel hung with a placard that reads, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY.—GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR. Up that tunnel, too, went Roger Clemens and David Wells and Don Zimmer, Yankees who, unlike MacArthur, shall not return, and who take with them a little more Yankee swagger.