Yankees ornament features Santa in plane
NEW YORK -- An advertisement for a New York Yankees holiday ornament featuring a plane-flying Santa Claus, released days before Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle died in a plane crash, is being chalked up to a case of extremely bad timing.
"My reaction at first was, 'I don't believe it,'" Yankees season ticket holder Denis Guerin told the New York Post.
The advertisement for the ornament shows a smiling Yankees Santa Claus flying a plane, the newspaper said.
The ad reads "The 2006 Annual Yankees Ornament makes the ideal gift for every New York fan on your Christmas list," the Post said. "Your team spirit will soar" with the plane on your tree, it added.
"We looked at it with our mouths open and said, 'How could this have happened?' It's very insensitive," Guerin told the newspaper. "I don't think it was intentional ... It's just a terrible mistake and terrible coincidence."
A circular ad for the ornament also appeared in Sunday, Oct. 8 editions of Newsday -- three days before the Oct. 11 crash on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that killed Lidle and his flight instructor.
The Danbury Mint, which made the collectable, had planned to produce and sell the ornament well in advance, Ruth Wolf, co-owner of a gift and collectibles store in Merrick, N.Y., told Newsday earlier this month.
"They're caught between a rock and hard place," Wolf told Newsday. "If they don't prepare and sponsor the ad within a certain time frame, they could lose weeks and weeks" of sales, she said.
A Major League Baseball spokesman called it a case of bad timing.
"All I would say is, the timing's unfortunate," MLB spokesman Rich Levin told the Post. "I'm sure this was done well before the Cory Lidle incident."
Cory Lidle: 1972-2006
Born: March 22, 1972
Major league seasons: 9
Career statistics: 82-72 won-lost record, 4.57 ERA
Major league teams: New York Mets, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees
Children: Son, Christopher Taylor, born Sept. 18, 2000
Biographical information: 1990 graduate of California's South Hills High School, where he was a teammate of Yankee Jason Giambi and was an all-state selection his senior year. Has a twin brother, Kevin, who played minor-league baseball. Is a relative of Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat.
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• Lidle crash photo gallery
• Quotes: Baseball reacts to Lidle's death
• Athletes who have died in plane crashes
• Expert: Lidle Crash Probably Due to Mechanical Failure or Other 'Distractions'
Audio from ESPN Radio
• Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly shares his thoughts on Lidle's death
• Peter Gammons on how Lidle overcame the "scab" label and how the pitcher's death could affect player contracts in the future
• Larry Bowa shocked by Lidle's death
• Phillies broadcaster Scott Graham talks about Lidle the pitcher
• Alan Schwarz was a friend of Lidle and had even been offered to ride with Cory in his plane
• Tim Kurkjian joins Erik Kuselias to discuss the tragedy
Video from ESPN.com
• Lidle plane crash timeline
• Rick Peterson reflects on Lidle's death
• MLB community mourns Lidle
• Ex-teammates react to Lidle's death
• Pedro Gomez Remembers Lidle
• Lidle lived his dreams
Video from ABCNews.com
• Lidle on why he loved flying (from Good Morning America)
• Video from the scene
• More video from the scene
Also on the Web
• PhillyBurbs.com: Flying with Cory Lidle (Feb. 2006)