A New York Yankees fan since he was a little boy, Joseph Neubauer says he has attended every single home game the Bronx Bombers have played for the past 38 years. Sometimes, occasionally, work conflicts have arisen. No longer.
Neubauer says the Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York City fired him in July after 27 1/2 years because of one-too-many absences related, primarily, to playing hooky and going to Yankee Stadium. It's an office job; Neubauer doesn't appear to be a driver.
Neubauer is appealing, but as Matt Snyder of CBS Eye on Baseball notes, he would seem to have little chance of winning. About as much as the struggling Yankees have of making the playoffs. Still, a 38-year-long streak of going to baseball games is impressive by itself. He's seen it all, from every pitch thrown by Mariano Rivera at home, to all three home runs Reggie Jackson hit in the '77 Series, to George Costanza's infamous cotton uniform debacle. Factor in that Neubauer was able to keep his job through 27 1/2 of those years is doubly impressive, though the subtleties of civil service jobs in New York might have made it easier for him to pull it off.
Neubauer has gotten in trouble before for skipping work. He has endured suspensions, such as the 60-day penalty he received from a judge for going to the All-Star Game in 2011 after having his vacation denied. The year before that, he was suspended for 25 days for calling in sick 13 times in order to attend Yankees games. Thirteen! That's four more than Ferris Bueller.
However, it seems that an absence from Sept. 19 2012 was the final straw. From CBS TV in New York:
The Yankees were rained out the night before and rescheduled for the next day. Neubauer refused to break his 38-year tradition and took a day off from work without permission.
“I feel like I regretted it in a way. I just want to try to come back,” he said.
I feel like I regretted it in a way. I just want to try and come back.
Oh, is that all?! Sure! Well, come on back, Joe!
OK, so no matter how cool this streak is, Neubauer obviously has been playing with house money for some time. However, before you bury him with common sense, read the official documents related to his firing that reveal other interesting points:
• Neubauer attended his first Yankees game at age 10 and, since June 1975 — when he would have been 16 years old — "he has attended every game played in New York City." If the year 1975 is accurate, that means Neubauer skipped a lot of high school for at least one year to make this happen.
• Also, the Yankees played at Shea Stadium in '75 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. This proves nothing; it's just interesting that the streak spans three home stadiums, and that its first season was in Queens before moving the Bronx.
Anybody out there in Joe's corner? Are the Yankees going to honor him? Is there any stuff left to give away from the Rivera tribute? Anybody out there got a new job for him? He's in his early 50s, so he's still got some prime earning years ahead. Maybe something with Yankees blogging...