My Thanksgiving Saga/Yankees Brawl

My family lives back east, so my husband and I drive down to L.A. every Thanksgiving and celebrate at the home of our friend Rhonda Friedman. Rhonda not only takes in strays like us but prepares a fabulous meal and sets a very elegant, tasteful table – flowers, crystal, candles, the works.

Rhonda is the supervising producer of the soap opera daytime drama, “The Bold and the Beautiful.” She is frequently seen walking the red carpet at Emmy Awards and such.
Rhonda always presides over a really nice group of people, but occasionally, as on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” there is drama.
This year, along with her family members, we were joined by her friend Jennifer Farrell, who until recently hosted the TV show “Find & Design,” which was like “Extreme Home Makeover” without the “Extreme.”
Jennifer’s boyfriend Mike was there too. He produces/directs a reality series called “My Big Redneck Wedding” on Country Music TV. I had never heard of it, so I made him say the name of it about six times. Apparently, it is hosted by this man.
Also in attendance was Rhonda’s friend Mary Ann, the ex-wife of actor John Saxon. Does anyone remember him from the movies or the zillion TV series he was on?
So there I was, sipping champagne, eating turkey and minding my own business, when Jennifer’s mom, who was visiting from Florida, said very animatedly, “Jane’s got a book coming out about how she loves the Yankees! I went to my Books-a-Million in Gainesville to buy it, but they don’t have it in stock yet!”
I smiled, eternally grateful that I would have at least one sale, and said, “It doesn’t come out until February 3rd. Maybe you could go back to the store then.”
I resumed eating, this time diving into the stuffing.
“The Yankees are losers,” said somebody down at the other end of the table. It might have been Rob, Rhonda’s brother. Their family is from Chicago and they’re Cubs fans. Or it might have been Mike, Jennifer’s boyfriend, who also roots for the Cubs.
“They had a down year, yes,” I admitted, feeling my blood pressure spike.
“A down year?” said Antonio, the dashingly handsome son of Mary Ann and John Saxon. “They sucked.”
I laughed. Well, it was Thanksgiving. You’re supposed to laugh and be jolly and forgiving.
“Yeah,” Mary Ann chimed in. “What do you think went wrong with them, Jane? Besides the pitching and hitting and fielding.”
O.K. That was downright sarcastic! Never mind that she and her son are Dodgers fans. No excuse for picking on my team during a lovely holiday meal.
I set down my fork and eyed her. “We had a new manager,” I said. “And there were injuries. A lot of injuries.”
“Plus, they sucked,” said Antonio.
Everybody at the table laughed. LAUGHED. Including my husband, a Yankee fan, or so I thought. Would no one but me defend the Pinstriped Ones? 
“We’ll bounce back and be very competitive next season,” I said, my heart thumping now. I was trying to keep it civil. I was.
Antonio smirked. “How? You can’t even sign Sabathia.”
Uh-oh. I gripped my champagne glass tightly and said through clenched teeth, “Then we’ll sign one of the other free agents. Lowe, maybe.”
“Lowe?” he said mockingly. “You can have him. He’s garbage.”
“Face it, Jane. The Yankees aren’t what they used to be,” said Mary Ann.
That did it. How dare she? How dare any of them?
I should have attempted to calm myself, done some deep breathing, shoved more food in my mouth. Instead – I’m so embarrassed to tell you this – I threw my champagne at Mary Ann. In turn, she grabbed a handful of candied yams and threw them at me.
In the blink of an eye, she and I were really going at it.
Needless to say, Rhonda’s beautiful table was ruined. My apologies to her. I can only hope and pray she’ll overlook my boorishness and invite me back next year.
In the meantime, I’ve sent her this video just to show her how bad things could have gotten.


  1. Jane Heller

    It hurts big time, Greg! I just sent my friend from B&B the link to the post. Maybe she’ll give me a walk-on part on the show if I promise not to throw things at the actors.

  2. Elizabeth D

    This is a great story, and no one should fault you for defending your team :), in the long run (and in the eyes of many of us on this site) it was the right thing to do. None of us should let people bash our teams, I know I don’t either.



    Treasure your wounds. You received them in the service of your team.

    Don’t let them heal. If there are cuts, reopen them daily, so that you can remember the heat of battle and re-savor the thought of the gougings you surely delivered.

    You did some gouging, I trust?

    If not, get back there and finish the job.

    el duque


    “Plus, they sucked,” said Antonio.” This kids a riot. Not since George fought the unruly Dodger fans in the elevator has the Yanks honor been so admirably defended.

  5. Jane Heller

    How odd. My responses to the first two comments are posted here AFTER the comments themselves. Technical help, please?

    Julia, you’re right. Antonio definitely crossed the line with that Lowe remark. He was just too adorable to throw anything at.

    I did plenty of gouging, duque. But I’ll have an opportunity to inflict even more pain and suffering. Rhonda invited everybody back for Easter.

    Thank you, Mark. We do what we have to for our teams, even if it means putting ourselves in harm’s way.

  6. levelboss

    “My responses to the first two comments are posted here AFTER the comments themselves.”

    i noticed that. maybe you’re psychic Jane lol

    well with Thanksgiving behind us, now maybe the Hot Stove show will begin.. i still say the Yankees should concentrate on Mark Teixeira first then two top-caliber pitchers like Burnett and Sheets or Burnett and Lowe

  7. Jane Heller

    While I want Teixeira as much as you do, levelboss, I think pitching is the first priority. We need an ace, thanks to the decision not to go after Santana last off-season, so if that means waiting for CC to make his decision, so be it.

  8. The Yankees Baseball Whisperer

    haha Jane, this sounds like a scene from my life! Me, mom, and dad are the only Yankees fans in the family… everyone else is a Braves fan (not that they have room to talk). My cousin never fails to get my blood boiling about baseball. LOL Great blog!


  9. PAUL

    Who doesn’t remember John Saxon? The man was in “Enter the Dragon” (it must’ve been cool to know Bruce Lee); and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (it must’ve been cool to know Freddy Krueger).
    Anything is agreeable—even food fighting—over the in-breeding that goes on on the B&B. And you should be grateful that the Yankees encourage such an emotional reaction; if anyone mentioned the Mets, the turkey might’ve gotten up and wandered off; the dessert (the meal closer as it were) would have spoiled before your eyes; the host’s elbow would’ve blown out loading the dishwasher; and the table might’ve collapsed in honor of the ghosts of Septembers past.

  10. thegoodofthegame

    Holidays always bring out the best in everyone.. Haha.

    I’ve been in that situation before with the Phillies, but a marketing effort by the team last year has stuck with me. “JUST BELIEVE.” Even so called Phillies fans label the team as choke-artists right up until this world series. I even overheard a couple of them arguing over how (not if) the Phils would blow the world series. I always believed, always, and that’s what Yankees fans need to do right now.

    I’m tellin’ ya, Jane… TEAM mentality… They need to go out and find some role players and stop worrying so much about signing so many free agents. With the exception of CC and Tex, all the big names NY is after have good upside but huge downside as well… Does the name ‘Carl Pavano’ ring any bells??

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

    P.S.: See if you can get me a guest spot too, will ya? LOL

  11. Jane Heller

    LOL, Paul, about the Mets. So you don’t think they’d inspire at least a spoonful of mashed potatoes in the face of a detractor?

    It’s funny about being a fan, Scott. It’s like with family. I can say what I want about them, but let someone else even whisper a negative word and I rush to their defense! As for the free agents, yes, yes, a TEAM is what we need. But the Yankees have actually had good free agents in the past, not just bums. Do the names Jimmy Key and David Cone ring a bell?

    Crying on Thanksgiving, Kylie? Say it isn’t so. But at least you ate a lot!

    I left Antonio without a drop, Kaybee, even though he was an instigator. But I’ll get him next year.

  12. rabruzzese

    The balls on some people. A Cubs fan said the Yankees suck. If you had to pick one of the worst teams in the history of the game to root for I don’t think you could pick a worse one. Maybe the Pirates, but even they used to win.

  13. jimmy27nyy

    Way to go , Jane … Defending our New York Yankees !!!

    We need that same kind of aggressiveness by the Yankees on the field next year !!! … The legend of great Yankee fights continues: From the classic “Fight at the Copacabana Nightclub” in 1957, when Hank Bauer was “alleged” to have thrown the punch that night, that decked a heckler, at Billy Martin’s 29th birthday celebration [Martin was quickly traded after the incident] … Then in 1979, when Billy Martin was manager of the Yankees, he punched out a “marshmallow salesman”, and, was fired by George Steinbrenner after that altercation … And, now, in 2008, Jane Heller defends the Yankees, by tossing champagne at a Thanksgiving Dinner guest who was being critical of our Bronx Bombers !!! … Of course, you know, Jane, when your book is turned into a movie, the above “dinner scene” has to be included in the film … I am of the opinion, of the three choices of actress’ that you mention in the title of your blog, I think Reese Witherspoon would be the perfect choice to play “you” in the movie version of “Confessions of a She-Fan” … If you recall, in the movie, “Walk The Line”, she played Johnny Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash; but, before they were married, there was a great scene in the movie when June Carter walks into an empty theater the night after a performance, and finds Johnny Cash, and the rest of the band, still drinking, and drunk on stage … Well, of course June was mad, and started throwing empty beer bottles at them, when they wouldn’t stop laughing at her … So, Reese would need no rehearsals in preparation for the “champagne tossing scene” !!! … Anyway, I hope the rest of your Thanksgiving Day was enjoyable !!!… Best Wishes, Jimmy [27NYY]

  14. Jane Heller

    That’s right, rabruzzese. Of all the nerve – a Cubs fan criticizing the Yankees. Did that team not fold in the first round of the NLDS? And did I say a single word about that? Of course not!

    Jimmy, your comment is hilarious. Putting me in the same category as Hank Bauer and Billy Martin is high praise indeed! As for Reese playing me in the movie, I remember that scene in “Walk the Line” and she was great when she gave the band a piece of her mind. I’ll remind my agent, who keeps telling me Hollywood is only making “Iron Man” and “Twilight” sequels. Hope your Thanksgiving was peaceful.

  15. whiteyfraud

    A cubs fan criticizing a Yankee fan? No substantive response is necessary, Jane, just a chuckle or an “eat **** and die, doucehebag.” Your choice.

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