Like it or not, in some circles, the Yankees have become more associated with Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind than Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. If the Boss was still alive and in good health, you can bet that transition would have been slowed somewhat, but so be it. Times changes and the Yankees need to move along with them.
I can live with the Yankees using Empire as a new anthem, even though the lyric about Jay-Z making “the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can” is both absurd and insulting to the franchise. I can tolerate having Jay-Z and Eminem and a whole litany of rap artists fill the Stadium with lyrics that aren’t exactly family friendly (after all, some of the things said by an angry Stadium crowd might make even the most hardcore rapper blush). It’s pushing the envelope a little, but I can even swallow hard and accept the Yankees decision to co-market their brand along with Jay-Z’s on a line of apparel. What is displayed below, however, is something I can’t abide.
I’ve probably invoked this line too much since his death, but there is no way George M. Steinbrenner III would have allowed Lou Gehrig’s number four jersey to bear the name of “S. Carter”. How the Yankees could allow that sacred number four to be involved in a marketing gimmick is, quite frankly, very sad.
Lou Gehrig was the epitome of what the Yankees purport to be all about. Allowing his number to be used in such a manner is either an inexcusable oversight or a reprehensible dismissal of history. Hopefully, it’s the former because if the new administration has knowingly decided to compromise the sanctity of the Yankees’ glorious history, the future will not be as nearly bright as the past.