MLB General

Playing Defense: The People vs. The NY Yankees

I may or may not be the same person who fiercely argued that A-Rod swat was actually part of the natural running motion. And I may have also adamantly contended that the Ken Jennings fiasco was a scam ABC pulled to get their ratings up. And lastly, there’s a possibility I wrote a college paper asserting that Lord of the Flies was really about materialism and society’s preoccupation with real estate and property. (Why else would they be always fighting over that damn conch shell?)

So I have admittedly made a few bad calls. And with that kind of track record, some could think it impossible for me to craft a convincing case for not hating the Yankees, especially since I am usually not slowed by logic. But convincing a college English professor of ridiculous literary themes is one thing. I can sure as hell sway the imbeciles who haven’t caught on that it’s perennially maddening to root against a team that wins more than they lose.The Yankees are essentially The Godfather of baseball, while the Red Sox are like syndicated Sex and the City: an entourage of idiots with a shell of greatness and raw skill, but without the classic, timeless substance that positions the Yankees at the core of baseball’s spirit. I love the Yankees not just because I’m from New York, but because to me, they embody The Game. That said, realize that during the 2004 World Series, I didn’t root for the Cardinals, nor did I root against the Red Sox, despite having the latter team render me immobile and jaded for 3 weeks.

Put simply, if you love sports, you don’t support another team’s downfall.

Yes, if you love the Red Sox, you hope the Yankees contract polio and scabies, and in the words of the late Pedro, “f—ing disappear.” This, right here, is why Yankee-haters can never claim to truly love sports. Because if they did, they’d celebrate talent and heart and baseball at its finest, whether that game is played by Boston, the Yankees, or any other team.

Consider the following:

Exhibit A: The Godfather Theory- Michael has Fredo killed. Because there is only one thing more important to him than his family, and that is the bigger Family. There’s only one thing I love more than the Yankees, and that’s baseball. So a decision to hate the Yankees is effectively a betrayal of the bigger Game. Good luck ever making it in the Mafia. Fellow Fan, you’re my older brother and I love you, but don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again…ever.

Exhibit B: The 90210 Theory- This is for Mets fans who automatically loathe their nemesis just because they (the fans) were born in Long Island. Suppose Brenda represents the Mets, Kelly the Yankees, Dylan the World Series, and Bev 9er (the cultural phenomenon series!) symbolizes baseball as a whole. I personally always liked the Brenda-Dylan dynamic; there was something about Kelly that was too perfect. And it rubbed me the wrong way how she used her hotness and money to always get her way. So you can imagine my disappointment and moral quandary when Brenda left the show!  But in reality, the decision was a simple one. There was about as much chance of me cutting 90210 out of my life as there was of Gabrielle Carteris making a staggering comeback. This is how it is: I hated Kelly, but once Brenda was out of the picture, I had no choice but to root for the more attractive option that I knew in my heart of hearts was going to end up with Dylan in the long run anyway. Bev 9er is to some chicks as baseball is to real people, but think about how chicks view baseball and real people view 90210: sheer entertainment that should never be examined through the discerning lens of principles. In other words, whether you’re a Mets or Yankees fan, you’re both biting out of the same Apple. One of the things I loved about my ex-boyfriend was that he was a born and bred Mets fan who complained about the Yankees until he was watching them play in the playoffs: “I’m not going root for a team I don’t even like if I can root for a New York team.”

Exhibit C: The Airtight Logic of the Immortal Seinfeld- Falling back on the age-old adage, Seinfeld argues we are merely “rooting for laundry.” Which begs the question, what is it that you really hate about the Yankees? Certainly not the players. Barring that dirtbag who wakes up before the sun comes up, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a Yankee who’s unequivocally worse than any garden-variety pain-in-the-ass on any other club. With Seinfeld’s pearl of wisdom in mind, how would Yankee-haters feel if your favorite player went to the dark side? What if players like Jim Thome or Sean Casey wore pinstripes? What kind of psychic crippling occurred when Tony Clark subway-ed it over to the Bronx? Or what if Bernie or Hideki or Mariano were traded to your team? Seriously, who exactly do Yankee-haters hate?

From what I can see, there are 3 main reasons for this asinine hatred, all of which can be dissolved faster and more seamlessly than Chicago fans’ pipe dreams come September:

1.) Steinbrenner: Ok, I’ll give you that he’s out of hand, gluttonous, childish, wildly obtuse, and his power has been abused so much it’s beginning to look like it should’ve been cast as an extra for Saving Private Ryan. So let’s hate the whole franchise! Let’s never support a talented, successful team! Band together and boycott The Apprentice! Oh…wait…we weren’t talking about Trump? Let he who is not addicted to this vanity show cast the first stone.

2.) “They buy their team.” I apologize to the fans of teams whose players have been donated; you can skip over this. So if a talented team is a function of payroll, explain the 2003 World Series champion with the 6th lowest payroll. Or the Mets who lounge in the High Rollers suite and didn’t even finish above .500 last year. Such a weak case. I look at people who still run around barking this nonsense the same way I look at people who wear Uggs. Not only can I not believe these things were ever accepted in the first place, I’m just in shock that there are still people who continue to endorse them as if their merit holds an ounce of verity. The Evil Emperor’s New Clothes theory, I guess.

3.) THE FANS: My personal favorite flawed excuse. Yankees fans are arrogant and obnoxious because we’re spoiled. See, I’m not sure exactly how other fans want us to react to our hometown dynasty. “Aw, shucks. I guess they won again, but who’s keeping score? The important thing is to have fun.” It’s hard to be humble when your team is the undisputed most successful franchise in sports history. We’re not talking about winning a Miss Universe pageant here. Demure modesty has no place in sports. Just ask Red Sox fans right now. And all the Boston talk about how they “always believed”? Sox fans are like wingmen: they complain and whine about their status, but in reality, they have the ideal scenario. No pressure to win because everyone expects you to play second fiddle. So when the wingman actually does score, it’s mind-blowing. Watch the faithful fan at Game 4 (before Ortiz’s big hit) with the banner, “I can’t believe we fell for it again.” Well, if that’s not unparalleled conviction, then I don’t know what is. At least Yankee fans trust in their boys.

You hate the New York Yankees for the same reason chicks get enraged with their boyfriends during fights. As you continue to become more rattled and frustrated, the Bombers remain confident and unwavering, even after losing. While every other fan either anticipates disappointment or prays for a win, Yankee fans have 26 reasons to expect superiority. You hate the Yankees because you envy our ability to subscribe to such great expectations.

Here’s an idea: why don’t you just hate your own team who loses? They’re the ones that disappointed you.

It’s amazing how many fans are more emotionally involved in hating the Yankees than they are in supporting their own team. Misery loves company, as they say. If I haven’t convinced you to check your blind wrath at the door and embrace the sport instead, maybe George Bernard Shaw’s words will:

“Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.”

Don’t hate the playa. Love the game.

By YankTank

Kris Pollina lives and works in New York City as an advertising copywriter. She lives and dies by NY sports and is the first to admit she can be wildly irrational in defense of her teams. She spends too much time thinking of fantasy team names, too little time reading injury reports. She doesn't understand people who keep score at baseball games. She has more interest in the Kreb Cycle than she does in the NBA, tennis, golf, or anything that is limited to running around a track. She doesn't mind the NFL overtime rules, thinks hockey is wildly underrated, and hates the expression "step up to the plate." Most importantaly, she doesn't believe in wearing baseball hats with football logos on them. Football players wear helmets.

10 replies on “Playing Defense: The People vs. The NY Yankees”

thank you… I’m extremely flattered, especially since the subject of the comment makes me think you’re not exactly Yankee Superfan99, and because, well, you’re the Editor.
I appreciate it, thanks!

I hate the Yanks but i can appreciate a good story.  

Too bad the writing contest is about a month away. 🙂

Disagree, but you almost made me a believer Great 90210 analogy, but I am a Met fan.

First of all, nobody but Red Sox fans hated the 1996-2000 Yankee’s. They, like you said embodied, everything that was good about baseball. The O’neils, Brosius’, Leyritz’, Girardi’s, Sojo’s people loved those players and those teams because they were actually a TEAM. Not just a bunch of overpaid prima donna’s like A-rod. I rooted for the Yankee’s in those championship years. And the players mentioned above along with Williams, Rivera, Jeter, and Posada are true Yankee’s.

The Yankee’s no longer hold all the characteristics that make baseball great. And it is all thanks to Steinbrenner. It’s more about filling the stands with marque players, than actually getting a group of players who all want to win and don’t have other personal agenda’s.

Great article, I really enjoyed it.

Don’t know where to begin First of all, I admit, this is a good read.  But I don’t think that makes it a great article.  Some of the ‘logic’ is unbelievably off and you leave off way too much stuff.  
By the way, I hate Trump and his show.  And sorry, you do simply buy your team, at least lately.  Whatever player seems to be trendy this year, the yankees pick up.  By the way, that’s why I think you haven’t won since 2000.  But that’s a different story.

Everyone will always root for the underdog, its just human nature to love the underdog and hate the favorites.  

I love baseball, and the part of baseball I love the most is the competetiveness.  I want to see relatively equal teams playing.  I want to see championships determined by heart, chemistry, clever offseason moves, etc and not by Yankee $.  The Yankees used to be the best example of a true ‘team’, but now they simply represent greed and concentrated evil (ok, so that’s going a little far…)  But do you see my point?  Since 2000, the Yanks have simply become easier and easier to hate.  You could write it off as jealousy, but I don’t hate the Yankees for winning.  I hate the Yankees for trying to win a certain way (and by the way, it isn’t working…).

Duly noted… I see your points. I’ll give you that steinbrenner buys his team, no question he spends an insane amount of money on his club. But contesting that he “picks up the trendy players” is delving into a fuzzy set. Didnt Boston chase A-Rod? I’m not sure I understand what the problem is with aquiring talent. I have a feeling I’m not going to hear in too many fantasy drafts, “Well, I already have K-Rod, Bonds, and Beltran, so I think I’m going to just go for Heredia now. Don’t want my team getting too trendy on me!” It’s not like we’re talking about von dutch hats here.

The lack of young players isn’t a reflection of the yankees inherent evil, it’s an indication of debateable management decisions. So haters can complain about the payroll forever, but history proves payroll doesnt determine W-L record. You can hate steinbrenner, but there’s no reason to hate a group of talented athletes who are playing a game you love. And if you think the Yankees compromise league competitiveness, then you didnt watch baseball playoffs for the last 3 years.

I love when Bosox fans start accusing the NY Yankees of buying their team.  Who had the second highest payroll in the majors last year?  How much more was that than 3rd?

Maybe I missed something here… The Yankees don’t aquire the trendy players?  Are you nuts?  Carl Pavano sound familiar?  Jaret Wright sound familiar?  How about Tony Womack?  Jason Giambi (only after he wins MVP).  I could go on and on.  As soon as somebody has a decent year and hits the FA market, he’s a yank.  
The Yankees make some of the worst personnel/management moves EVER.  The only reason they can stay competitive is because they have so much more $ than anyone else.  This year you will likely have a 20+million dollar DH/steroid user.  Add a million or two and you have the D’Rays!  And yes, the Sox spend an insane amount as well, but nothing close to the Yanks, not even comparable. And the only 20 million dollar guy is a WS MVP (and they even tried to get rid of him to free up payroll).
Your management decisions aren’t debateable, they’re laughable at best.  I’m convinced Cashman is a puppet, because he simply isn’t this stupid.  
And I watched the playoffs the last few years thanks.  And its funny, the D’Rays et al never made, but the Yankees always did… Wonder why? Because Payroll can help guarantee you a playoff spot, but it takes real heart, chemistry, and a few lucky bounces to win the WS.

Still not following… …why it’s bad to acquire “trendy” players. I think it’s hilarious how all of sudden boston fans know exactly what it takes to be a WS champion. It’s like Josh Beckett giving lectures on pitching clutch games.
The reason they stay competitive is not because they have more money, your tautology is so incredibly flawed. If only high payroll teams were in the playoffs, or if bad teams always have a low payroll, you’d be right, but you can’t have it both ways. The mets have martinez and beltran right now, are they a minion of satan bc their players are trendy? Probably not, bc Yankee haters will spin their rationale until it justifies their hatred.
Alright I’m sorry I’m not trying to be all aggressive. Seriously. Sweet Christ, it’s baseball. I just dont get why anyone would waste their energy on hating a team instead of backing their own team.
Bottom line, they’re my favorite team no matter what. I love how they don’t stoop to the level of the red sox with 8-yr old insults, I love being in Yankee stadium, I love how Torre and his boys are divorced from the steinbrenner lunacy, and I love watching them play. You don’t have to love the Yankees, but seriously, get off our backs. Yankee fans don’t spend all their energy clenching their fists at other teams, because it’s a waste of time. I would think that you-as a fan and especially a boston one-would appreciate a vested loyalty towards your own team…

Salary I think this a kick-ass article, and I’m sorry I’m just reading it now. It belongs right where it is, on the front page.

And the ensuing arguments made by the Boston Rambler bring the problem to life, although I doubt he realizes he’s doing that. He fails to address the issue of having the second highest salary, of this year “buying” Varitek for $40MM, Renteria for $40MM, Clement for $25MM, etc.

There’s nothing worse than postioning yourself as a self styled “team of the people” when, under closer inspection, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Bad grooming habits and saying “Dude” and “Idiot” alot don’t quite cover that up. Most people see through it.

There is an inherent self-loathing in Boston fans. They can not come to grips with what the rest of the country knows: the Red Sox are more like the Yankees in spending habits than they are the rest of the league. Said another way, the Red Sox are Yankees-lite, not a suped-up version of a financially struggling team.

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