When I go see the Orioles play the Yankees in the Bronx, I feel like a Marrano in 15th-century Spain, hiding my true identity for fear of being punished for my beliefs.
The last time the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees met in the playoffs before this week, I spent a few surreal moments schmoozing with George Steinbrenner in his owner’s box in Yankee Stadium, trying very hard not to let on that I was a fervent Orioles fan hoping his team would lose that day — and every day after that until the end of time.
My one personal encounter with George Steinbrenner was brief but memorable. It took place at a Yankees-Orioles playoff game in October 1996, and came about thanks to an introduction extended to me by my younger son, Dov, who was 15 at the time.
It was an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium, the day after my beloved Orioles had been robbed of victory by Jeffrey Maier, the 12-year-old who reached out from the bleachers to turn a sure out into a home run for Derek Jeter.
(I try not to hold grudges but that kid should have been carted off to jail for thievery…)