"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Grace Under Pressure


One year ago today, Todd Drew wrote his final post for Bronx Banter (and for all I know it was the last thing he ever wrote, period). The next day he went into the hospital. He never made it out. We miss him terribly at the Banter though his spirit lives on. I’m sure he’d relish all the Hot Stove activity, all the kibbitzing, all the passion.

So here’s raising a toast in his honor. Spill a little on the ground, and enjoy a moment of silence to remember out dear friend.

Here is his final post, which is grace under pressure if I’ve ever seen it:

SHADOW GAMES: Baseball and Me

By Todd Drew

I went to a baseball game after my father’s funeral. I also went to one after finding out about my mother’s brain cancer.

It was selfish and heartless. I felt guilty before and embarrassed after, but for nine innings I felt only the game. That’s the way it’s always been between baseball and me.

It was my friend when I didn’t have any others. And it has always been there to talk or listen or simply to watch.

Baseball helps me forget and it makes me remember. That’s why it was exactly what I needed on the worst days of my life.

But there were no games when a doctor told me that I had cancer. The neighborhood was out of baseball on that cold November day. No one was playing at Franz Sigel Park or John Mullaly Park. And there wasn’t even a game of catch in Joyce Kilmer Park. The last game at the old Yankee Stadium was long gone and Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium was long off.

So I went home and wished for one of those summer days when I was a kid and my mother would send me to the ballpark with a paper sack stuffed with her famous tuna-fish sandwiches. That was back when you could slip through a delivery gate with the beer kegs and watch batting practice. And it was always okay to come home late with a beat-up scorecard and popcorn stuck between your teeth.

The doctor told me that tomorrow’s surgery and chemotherapy treatment might keep me in the hospital for 10 days.

“At least it’s December,” I said. “There aren’t any ballgames to miss.”

And I will be ready to slip through a delivery gate with the beer kegs when the new Yankee Stadium opens. I’ll watch batting practice with one of my mother’s famous tuna-fish sandwiches and come home late with a beat-up scorecard and popcorn stuck between my teeth.

Cancer can’t change the way it will always be between baseball and me.


1 ms october   ~  Dec 22, 2009 4:53 pm

todd is definitely missed.

that was really chilling, yet touching to read.

2 Raf   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:00 pm

They may not be as famous as his mom's but I had tuna-fish sandwiches for lunch today

3 glennstout   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:37 pm


4 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:37 pm

Sigh ....

"Afterimage", from RUSH's album (coincidentally titled 'Grace Under Pressure')

5 thelarmis   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:38 pm

i miss todd.

this made me cry.

6 thelarmis   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:41 pm

[4] that was the FIRST thing i thought of when i saw the title of the post, before knowing what it was about. i LOVE that album!!!

RI - i'm not a huge fan, but yes, i've had tuna sandwiches!!! and as much as i love chocolate, i wouldn't go near that fancy dessert you'll be making at your brothers' "half 'n half" house! ; )

7 wsporter   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:46 pm

Oh boy that's hard to read. I'm sure he's at a game and where ever that game is the people there care about each other and justice matters. Thanks Alex.

8 thelarmis   ~  Dec 22, 2009 5:51 pm

i'm still early on in the stages of composing my tribute piece of music for Todd. it's to be called "Shadow Games." most of the drumset parts, form, tempos, transitions and other ideas are there. melodically, only the 'A' section is written. there's a TON of work to be done on the other parts, drum fills and solo section, which is going to be a bitch to write.

i'm not sure i'll even finish it and it'll prolly be on the backburner til at least the 2nd half of next year, but i hope i find it within me to complete, record and release it. could be a coupla years, but if it gets done, it'd be my honor to share it with you all here at the Banter. and Todd's bride Marsha, of course.

9 leutbneot   ~  Dec 22, 2009 7:28 pm

That's a beautiful piece of writing. I wasn't really around yet when Todd was posting but I've gone back and read some of his work. He was a really great writer. He had a way of connecting to the game on an emotional level that is really rare. Thanks for posting this.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 22, 2009 9:00 pm

[8] Looking forward to it, Thel. Reach out to me if you want some cover art concepts, I'll be thinking up a few.

11 thelarmis   ~  Dec 22, 2009 9:24 pm

[10] "Book of Thel"! by Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)!!!

thanks, man. well, if it eventually gets done, it'll be going on a cd with a bunch of other compositions. 7 of which are already recorded (and about to be released) and 4 more, which are done and (pretty much) need to be recorded before i finish up "Shadow Games".

that said, if i just issued the piece - say, at my website, here or your blog, or something - perhaps you could put together some type of art/picture that could accompany the song. maybe have a picture of Todd there, as well.

hopefully, the composition will get done one day!

12 RIYank   ~  Dec 22, 2009 9:33 pm

Thelarmis, I hope you'll post the piece some day, when it's done I mean.
In the mean time, we can munch a tuna sandwich in honor of Todd. You can leave the souffle to me and my nieces and sons.

13 thelarmis   ~  Dec 22, 2009 10:17 pm

[12] that sounds great, man!

ya know, i was compartmentalizing too much in my last post. i think things to fall into place nice 'n neat, but that's not really how things roll. so, i don't have to release the first cd and then record the next batch of 4 compositions, before i finish composing "Shadow Games."

in fact, i just played the only melodic part on marimba and dug it. i'm headed to the studio in just a little bit and i plan on practicing the next 3 nights. perhaps i'll make some headway on the drum part. i'm in no rush and i won't force things. once the drums are fully in place, my inner ear will have an easier time hearing melodies.

by the time it's finished, i should definitely have a website up and running, which is where i'll post it. realistically, i think a goal could be this time next year, perhaps in time for the 'anniversary' of Todd's last post here. we'll see.

in the meantime, save me some potato latkes, will ya?! : )

14 RIYank   ~  Dec 22, 2009 10:33 pm

[13] I'll look forward to it.
But dude, you know it's impossible to save latkes. Those suckers get slurped down before they get a chance to cool off.

Hey, instead of just a CD or an online mp3 you should do this:


It's interactive -- poke around on the video and you can move it while they play...

15 Evil Empire   ~  Dec 22, 2009 10:47 pm

Cheers, Todd. And Godspeed.

16 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2009 8:44 am

I cried when he wrote it and I'm still crying. What beauty, soul. He was our treasure.

17 NYYfan22   ~  Dec 23, 2009 8:51 am

[0] RIP, Todd. We got to watch the celebrations in the Yankee locker room, but I'd like to think that perhaps Todd got to be a part of a bigger celebration. Chilling with Joe D, The Mick, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Thurman, Bobby Murcer, & my Nanny and Pop Pop were all there... among so so many others. Black tie affair, baby!

[13] Do it, thelarmis. Can't wait to hear it.

18 ny2ca2dc   ~  Dec 23, 2009 10:10 am

We miss you Todder.

Thanks Alex. By the way, I was browsing in the bookstore the other day and stumbled on the sports-writing collection with Todd's piece in it. It was really nice.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver