Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the New York Yankees are more than just a sports franchise … for many people, they are a way of life.
That was true for my oldest brother Augie, who watched pre-game, post game and especially in-game Yankees contests. Even twice, often, on all of the above.
Augie probably wasn’t unique in his passion for the Yankees … many of us love this team like no other. But it had to be very difficult for him to move 3,000 miles away to Sacramento for his livelihood back in the 1980′s. Augie missed following the Yankees on a daily basis, as this was before the internet became so prevalent. He did something the team Yankees could appreciate though: he became the best at his craft.
Augie earned recognition as Sacramento’s first-ever four-star chef for his work at Harlow’s Restaurant, no mean feat for a big town, small city of 1.1 million residents at the time, currently governed by ex-NBA star turned mayor, Kevin Johnson.
Augie was a star in his own right, with local celebrities and TV anchors coming in to the restaurant to enjoy his signature dishes. Augie wasn’t interested in fame, however, just give him the occasional Yanks-A’s game and a hot dog at Oakland Coliseum and he was set.
I’m glad Augie spent most of his final years and days in New York, however, going to as many Yankee games as he could. It was one of the things that made him happy as possible.
It’s only unfortunate I have to write about him in the past tense, as Augie, 53, died in his sleep two weekends ago in Pahrump, NV., where he recently moved to stay with close friends and pursue work opportunities.
It’s too bad that part of Nevada, famous for ex-residents like radio and music legends Art Bell and Michael Jackson, never got to see the greatness of a man who once worked at the Luxor resort and hotel casino in Las Vegas.
Augie used to joke that calling something “great” could be considered an “understatement”, as if that were possible. The Yankees are truly great though, and so was Augie. And that’s no understatement.