I was heartened by the Yankees' behavior during the ring ceremony for the Boston Red Sox this past week. Manager Joe Torre put it best, "It shouldn't be about what the Yankees didn't accomplish, but what the Red Sox did accomplish". I don't follow baseball on television very much, preferring to read about it than sit through hours of it. That pretty much goes for most sports, save hockey (what's that?). But I do follow sports, specifically baseball, in the newspapers and on the internet. The press seems to believe the Yanks are old and their pitching staff is shaky at best. Could be. But I was gladdened by the Yanks' response to what must've been an awfully disappointing experience (watching the Red Sox coronation, that is). At a time when steroids have infected the game and classless behavior abounds, it is refreshing and heart-warming to know that there's still some sportsmanship in the world. Good for Joe Torre and the Yankees.
Ditto for Andre Agassi, who a few weeks ago in a match out in California withdrew due to a bum toe. Knowing that fans had paid to see this match specifically to see him, Agassi showed up on the court and personally apologized for withdrawing, and thanked the fans for showing up. He was reciprocated with loud applause and shouts of support. He didn't have to show, but he did.
A few years back Luciano Pavarotti was scheduled to sing at the Met. It was to be a special performance, the last time Pavarotti was to sing Tosca. He couldn't sing that night due to a sore throat. Despite the pleas of the general manager to come to the Met and say a few words of apology and gratitude, Pavarotti did the opposite. Said one concert-goer, “All he had to do was show up, croak out ‘I can’t sing,’ and the audience would have gone nuts with adoration.” Alas, it was too much to show respect for his audience.
My first boss while working on Wall Street was a guy named Elliot Smith. He had a long career on The Street (no small feat, mind), and he'd seen it all. He was the broker for the Hunt Brothers (Lamar and Bunker Hunt, that is) at a time when they were hell-bent on cornering the silver futures market. When the market collapsed, it left all concerned with a billion dollars in margin calls. (Consider, this was 1980; adjusted for inflation, a billion in '80 would be about four or five billion now. It nearly destroyed the Hunts, who at one time were the wealthiest people on the planet.) He gave me the best piece of advice that anyone could've given me in the business, "People will forgive you for losing money, but they'll never forgive you for treating them like shit."
Ain't that the truth.