The Legend of Freddy Sez

October 18, 2010
- The atmosphere at Yankee Stadium is intense tonight. Cliff Lee against Andy
Pettitte in an American League Championship Series that is tied at one game
apiece.

The crowd is
into every pitch.

There are so
many familiar sounds that I can hear from the press box. I’ve heard a lot of
cheering during the pre-game introductions and a loud roar when Tino Martinez
tossed the first pitch. I heard lots of boos when Cliff Lee struck out Marcus
Thames to end the second inning. And I can even hear the sound of a metal spatula
scraping cheese steaks from the grill at a stand behind the press box.

But there’s one
beautiful noise that is absent from tonight’s game — the sound of Freddy “Sez”
Schuman’s spoon banging up against his frying pan.

Freddy passed away
yesterday afternoon at the age of 85.

Freddy was
staple at Yankee Stadium since 1988. He didn’t miss many games, and he
encouraged fans to cheer with more hope and enthusiasm than they would have without him. He turned a few simple ideas – clanking a spoon against a frying
and painting a sign with a fresh inspirational message every day – into a place in Yankees tradition.

My father took
me to my first baseball game in the late ’80s, and Freddy was there that day. When he walked into our section, I
clanked the famous spoon against the frying pan, which had a four-leaf clover
on it.

Since that day,
I can’t remember many games that I’ve spent in the seats or the press box at Yankee Stadium (old or new) when I didn’t hear Freddy – or one of the many fans that he let
clank the frying pan – taking part in one of the great modern-day baseball
rituals.

That ritual is
gone now, but I won’t ever forget Freddy Sez.

–Alfred
Santasiere III

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20090430_FREDDY_SEZ_JP_1#1A.jpg

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