The Value of Pie

No, not 3.14159 or circumference divided by diameter or even the real but irrational part of the natural logarithm of -1 (e to the i pi references rule). Something natural, real, rational and not subject to circular arguments.

It’s not even a thinly veiled reference to my favorite high school hockey goalie, best known for saying “Mr. Stern, I like pie” at least a few times.

I’m talking about the value of a pie in the face, the Yankee’s informal ritual celebrating a walk-off hit that began sometime last season. Last night was the first pie plate-at-the-plate appearance of the relatively young season, marking Marcus Thames as a pie-zon. It wasn’t just seeing A-Rod jumping up and down and being first on the third base line to wave Thames in. It wasn’t the delight in seeing Papelbon get dinged for a pair of gopher balls in the bottom on the 9th (although that made up for Chan Ho Park looking like he came off the disabled list to join the incapable list). It was the fact that the Yankees are having fun in public, and they make it looks easy as, well, pie.

There is immense value in team chemistry, and having fun in sports. It was the watchword of my all-time baseball hero Willie Stargell: It is supposed to be fun. The man says “Play ball” not “Work ball”. When the pies started flying, the Yankees fortunes on the field seemed to similarly alight. It’s something to which the Devils should pay close attention, especially if Rich Chere’s comments from Brian Gionta are within the circle of possibly explaining the Devils’ post-season collapses.

It’s just fun to watch athletes having fun. The best post game interview is one given behind a veil of cream.

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