A blockbuster T-shirt trade

A deadline trade between Luftig (left) and Pearlman left analysts shocked.

A deadline trade between Luftig (left) and Pearlman left analysts shocked.

We’re leaving for California tomorrow. Very sad, very exciting. Lots of highs, lots of lows.

A few hours ago, we bid farewell to the Luftigs, our pals up the block. As Larry Luftig and I spoke in his kitchen, I admired (for the 1,000th time) his old-school Tribe Called Quest T-shirt. Out of nowhere, a blockbuster trade was suggested—the Tribe shirt for the Dodgers shirt I was wearing.

Within minutes, we pulled off Ts and swapped, much like—as Larry noted—the conclusion of a soccer friendly.

The question is: Who won the deal?

What Pearlman received: A 15-year-old grayish-black shirt that doesn’t quite fit. It’s too short, and when I raise my arms my belly shows. However—and this is a HUGE however—the garment isn’t merely from any Tribe album. It’s from The Love Movement, the only one of the group’s CDs to be thoroughly panned and forgotten. That makes it special and rare and non-cliched. There are approximately 60,000 people living in Laguna Niguel. I will be the only one—perhaps ever—to own a Love Movement shirt. So what if it doesn’t 100 percent fit? I’ll adjust.

What Luftig received: A newish Dodger shirt, soft fabric, fits pretty well, purchased six or seven months ago for $12 at a Marshall’s in Costa Mesa. The T isn’t especially unique (there were probably 10 others in stock inside the store), but it’s cool and patriotic-looking and—in New York—original.

When I asked Larry for his thoughts, he noted—glumly—that he felt like the Mets trading away Tom Seaver to the Reds in 1977. But, he added, “the motivation is that my T-shirt  collection is too heavily represented by the east coast. I needed some balance in the lineup.”

Meanwhile, the Dodgers shirt—for me—was sorta like Zack Wheeler. I liked it, and it certainly had a place in my rotation. However, it was also expendable. Geography-based shirts lose some luster when they’re based in the region. Translation: A Dodger shirt was cooler in New York than Los Angeles.

So, dear reader, who wins?

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