Talk about bad timing.
A new Yankee Christmas ornament sanctioned by Major League Baseball and bearing the team's official logo features a beaming Santa waving - as he pilots a plane.
"My reaction at first was, 'I don't believe it,' " said Midtown lawyer Denis Guerin, who yesterday received glossy literature touting the "Yankees Victory Plane" - "a limited-edition annual holiday treasure" - in the mail.
Guerin shuddered as he recalled the horrific events that unfolded Oct. 11, when Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle was killed after crashing his small plane into an Upper East Side high-rise.
Guerin said he and his wife were "shocked and dismayed" again when they opened the mailing featuring the Yankee Santa in a plane. He said the plane appears to be "going into a Christmas tree."
According to the advertisement, "The 2006 Annual Yankees Ornament makes the ideal gift for every New York fan on your Christmas list."
"Your team spirit will soar" with the plane on your tree, it says.
"We looked at it with our mouths open and said, 'How could this have happened?' It's very insensitive," Guerin said.
"I don't think it was intentional," the season-ticket holder added. "It's just a terrible mistake and terrible coincidence."
MLB honchos agreed.
"All I would say is, the timing's unfortunate," said spokesman Rich Levin. "I'm sure this was done well before the Cory Lidle incident."
Yankees officials refused comment.
"I'm not going to comment on it at all because it has nothing to do with us, it didn't originate with us," a spokesman said.
Officials of Danbury Mint in Norwalk, Conn. - the company peddling the $19.95 "fine porcelain" ornament under a licensing agreement with MLB - did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
A woman answering the phone in its sales department said the ornaments "are developed over three or four years.
"This actually was developed probably over a year ago," she said.
Still, Guerin and an expert on collectibles questioned how the ornament could have even been allowed to be marketed since Lidle's death.
"It's just awful," said Pete Siegel, owner of Gotta Have It Collectibles in Midtown.
He said the experience should be a lesson to organizations such as the Yankees that use licensing agreements.
Siegel said he expects Yankee fans to balk at buying the ornament.
"It's almost sacrilegious about the incident," he said.
Guerin said he couldn't imagine anyone buying it, either.
"You're going to have a Yankee plane on your Christmas tree?" he said. "Who's sanctioning this stuff?"