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East Carolina Hall of Famer and
former baseball coach Keith LeClair.
 (Photo: ECU Media Relations)

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Editor's note: This feature
coordinated by Denny O'Brien.


From The Dugout

By Keith LeClair

Darn the Yankees

Being a Red Sox fan, I hate to say this, but I have to get it off my chest. Love 'em or hate' em, you have to respect them. I am talking about the New York Yankees.

Yes, I said the Yankees, and I will even throw Mr. Steinbrenner's name in there as well.

OK, you're thinking I have gotten an overdose of my medication and have gone off the deep end. Just hear me out and I will explain, so any Boston fans reading this site relax and don't egg my house.

I guess you can call me a baseball purist right down to the bone. Here is what I respect and admire about the Yankees, win or lose. I watched the Yankees sweep Boston in a three-game series this week on my laptop computer, via the MLB.TV website.

If you noticed, the Yanks have strict team rules on how they will don their pinstripe uniforms. These rules, of course, come straight down from the boss, Mr. Steinbrenner. Here they are, neat haircuts, nothing below the collar, no facial hair — except for a clean trimmed mustache — uniform tops buttoned all the way up, no earrings on field and no names on the back of the jersey.

I absolutely love it, and in my opinion it brings unity into a team. From the superstars to the role players, it says nobody will be different.

As I watched the series against Boston, you could see two different characteristics of the definition of team — one, in the Yankees playing by a uniform set of rules and, two, Boston, which apparently has absolutely no guidelines, whatsoever.

The BoSox have guys with long hair down past the shoulders, full length gorilla beards, chains hanging out the uniform big enough to pull a pick-up truck out of the mud, uniform tops half unbuttoned and hair colored half orange, not to mention putting the name on the back of each uniform.

I am a baseball purist and enjoyed seeing my players play by the Yankee code. Mr. Steinbrenner said it best when Lou Pinella confronted him at a team meeting. Lou at the time had long hair and asked Steinbrenner, if Jesus wore long hair why couldn't he?

Mr. Steinbrenner said after looking around the spring training complex: "Lou, you see that pool over there."

Lou replied, "Yes, sir."

Steinbrenner shot back, "If you can walk across it you can wear your hair anyway you want, but until then you will do it my way."

And by the way, Ortiz. Your glove does not have a hole in it, but you played it off like a real little leaguer.

If you have a question or comment about the Pirates in particular or baseball in general, get a learned response by firing your best pitch at Ol' Condo. Submit your message by clicking the following e-mail link: E-mail Coach LeClair.

02.23.07 10:27 AM


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