Putting it bluntly: Philly’s repeat talk not just smoke and mirrors

As evenly matched a Series as we've seen in quite some time

The Yankees are one of the most talented teams I’ve seen in a long time – as well they should be. They already had the best leadoff hitter, closer, and arguably the best hitter in baseball, and they spent a cool $425 mil to add the top two free-agent starters and the best free-agent position player on the market. That is what you call economy in motion.

What I’ve been surprised about is their ability to come together as a cohesive unit. Their chemistry appears better than I’ve seen from a Yankees team in years. I doubt Jeter truly likes personalities like Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett, but I’m sure he’s learned to love the loosening-up affect they’ve had on the clubhouse, what with all the pies in the face and whatnot.

But they’re about to run into a Phillies team that is even more cohesive, that makes more sense, that has more of an identity. And that has just as much talent. Here are the factors I see affecting the World Series, which I believe will be a very close affair.

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Yankees offer special visitors a night to remember

We take so many things for granted every single day and don’t even know it, like the simple act of walking outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.

What if you couldn’t do that?

Wayne Coffey’s excellent article in the NY Daily News on Sunday called our attention to a rare subset of very special people who don’t have that very basic luxury. About 250 people in the United States and 1,000 worldwide have an affliction called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), in which their skin and eyes simply can’t handle ultraviolet light, be it from the sun, or even from fluorescent lights and television sets.

People who are affected by XP are about 2,000 times more likely to get cancer, and they often have to have up to hundreds of painful surgeries at very early ages. Their hearing and eyesight are often affected. Perhaps most striking, because of their condition, they can’t go outside during the day unless every inch of their body is covered, forced to live a mostly nocturnal existence to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun. In addition, their life expectancy, though it has improved through research, is not as long as the rest of the world’s.

Thankfully, there’s a place up near Poughkeepskie, N.Y., named Camp Sundown – created yanks480by the parents of a young lady with XP – where people affected by the disease can come together free of charge for a healthy dose of nighttime fun. They hold carnivals, take trips and play games, all under the cover of moonlight and the supervision of caring and loving counselors. In addition, the Camp is part of a foundation that contributes money to researching XP.

And none other than the New York Yankees are making sure that these very special individuals have a very special evening.

On Thursday night, as part of the Yankees’ Hope Week – which included a visit on Tuesday from Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain with little leaguer Tom Ellenson (see picture), who has cerebral palsy – the campers will travel to the Bronx to catch some of the Yankees’ game against the A’s from their very own suite.

And after the game is over, Camp Sundown has the run of Yankee Stadium.

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