(if you don’t know who this man is, you can still get a job at a NYC sporting goods outlet)
Your somewhat jetlagged editor attended last night’s Reds/Mets contest at Citi Field, an affair in which the mastery of Death Wish and the heroics of Chris Heisey combined to diminish a mostly effective pitching performance by the Amazins’ Jonathan Niese. On my way out of the building, I couldn’t help but notice Citi Field’s concessionaires were doing their best to bolster the profiles of Daniel Murphy and John Maine by selling their Majestic licensed t-shirts for 50% off. Such efforts are in stark contrast to the enforced obscurity of a crosstown reliever who rarely receives any recognition. Susan Mullen of the XM MLB Chat Blog explains what happened during a recent visit to a midtown Manhattan Modell’s (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory):
I noticed shirts displayed in the window with names like Teixeira, Jeter, and Rodriguez. Just for fun I decided to go in and see if they had any Mariano Rivera t-shirts. I didn’t see any hanging in the racks on the main floor, so I asked a pleasant young associate if he had any Mariano Rivera t-shirts.
Maybe I hadn’t spoken too clearly because he replied, ‘Manny Ramirez?’ I said, no, Mariano Rivera. ‘Oh’, he said. I asked him, do you know who Mariano Rivera is? ‘No,’ he said.
I explained that he was a great relief pitcher from the NY Yankees on the job since 1995. (The associate as it turns out was born in 1988 and therefore only 7 years old in 1995). He then said he was a Mets fan, so I asked him if he had heard of K-rod and he lit up and said, oh, yeah!
So, trying to find a Mariano Rivera shirt, the associate sees another Modell’s employee and says to her, “Do you know if we have any Manny Rivera t-shirts?” The young lady says, “Is he a soccer player?” I said, no, his name is Mariano Rivera, he’s the great relief pitcher for the Yankees. Have you ever heard of him? No, she says.