"Well, seeing as the Yankees really suck this season, my heart hasn't been in collecting on my bet with Weasel. But, as it is unlikely that I shall triumph again this year, I have finally decided on my terms. There is a semi-regular feature on Weasel's blog wherein he does the following:
'About a year ago I embarked on a project to write short posts about my ten favorite paintings over a 12 month period.'
So, Mr. Weasel, please go here and select any three of the prints on offer and subject them to fawning art criticism as if they are amongst those dozen pieces you call favorites."
Right from the start, this image captivates with its wordless depiction of hubris and seemingly unstoppable evil. Of course, the observer already knows the result: that good triumphed and the improbable Florida Marlins beat the Yankees 4-2 that year. But that does not detract from the overall air of totalitarian menace so deftly captured by the photographer. Like Reifenstahl's Triumph of the Will, the very architecture of the place sets the tone for the undeniable totalitarian air and the swastika-like Yankees logo on the field and the Wehrmacht breast pocket eagle on the big screen suggest jackboots repeatedly stomping on the face of the weak, sporting, or disabled. This is an empire, and it is evil. Simply bone chilling, but with a nice flag to offset the horror.
Ah, the Splendid Splinter and Joltin' Joe- like Williams himself, a moment frozen in time. Proof that among the players at least, the rivalry used to be much more good natured. Or did it? For the subtext of this photo becomes apparent after a few hours of close study. Look at their hands; like A Rod, it appears that DiMaggio is trying to surreptitiously injure a Red Sox player in order to gain the most minute of advantages. Perhaps it is in retaliation for Williams having asked how Joe enjoyed spending his service days in California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City while Williams trained pilots in the Second World War then flew 38 combat missions in Korea, winning the Air Medal. A true study in layers.
Given the era in which Gehrig played, this is a one-in-a-million shot. Bear in mind that during his playing career the polio ravaging President Franklin Roosevelt's body was kept secret from the American public, his wheelchair and sticks being kept out of public view and camera viewfinders by common consent. Yet here is Gehrig, ravaged by his eponymous disease, laboring towards the plate to face the first pitch. Look how the photographer candidly catches the sheer effort of baseball's original iron man, his sheer intestinal fortitude and refusual to give up investing every involuntarily shaky step. Indeed, this is a most inspiring image- one for the ages.