In a comment to the last post, there was an accusation of sorts that I “belittle” Yankees fans. I don’t see how what I wrote belittles the fans, and it was intended to point out MLB’s obsession/need with the team from New York. Nothing more or less. I apologize if any Yankees’ fans feel smaller as a result.
I do have a question for the fans, however, as I honestly wonder how exciting it can be to expect your team to go to the playoffs every year and have it only be a surprise when things go wrong. As a Reds fan, last year was great and totally unexpected. If you read my post from the preseason, I was expecting them to struggle with .500, not with the Philadelphia Phillies in the opening round of the playoffs. And there are teams like the Yankees (and the Red Sox, too) that don’t get to experience that surprise run like I did in 2010, and the unbelievable feeling when the Reds actually clinched something that I never thought they could. I think that, as a fan, expecting to win all the time would get a little boring. If the Reds start to pamper me, though, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I’ll admit, however, that a team like The Yankees are necessary for baseball. I was going to call them “necessary evil,” but they aren’t evil, they are just using the resources that a huge fan base, a multimillion dollar network, and extremely wealthy owners can provide. Yes, they help drive up free agent costs by giving anyone they want pretty much anything they want, but part of that is on the players, too, right? If they don’t want to play for the Yankees, they can certainly Cliff Lee them and play somewhere else. I wish more players would do that, but I also understand there’s a big difference between, say, Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Royals will just have to get by on cheap talent for a while. And that will be exciting for their fans when it finally happens. I just hope for their sake it comes pretty soon.
And without the Yankees, how would the rest of us know who to root against. Even as a non Yankees fan, I’ll still look in on them to see if they are losing, and if they are I’ll be pretty happy because of it. The Yankees are unique in that they are a team people take an interest in rooting for and in rooting against. There’s no other team quite like that, although the Red Sox are starting to get close.
I won’t hide the fact that I’m not a fan of the Yankees. I cannot think of a scenario where I would root for them, outside of some battle for the control of the earth decided by nine innings between them and some all-star alien team. I’d probably be able to hold up a foam finger for them then. Otherwise, I’m pulling for that entire division to put the Yankees and maybe even the Red Sox in the cellar, to return the Yankees to the glory days of the 1980’s. But I’ll actually follow that division closer than any other outside the NL central for that very reason. And that has to be good for baseball somehow, right?
One last thing, and it’s a bit of envy I have for Yankees fans. The Yankees have faces and names that you associate with them – Jeter, A-Rod, Posada, Cano, Rivera, etc. I think Night Owl had a post about players that stick with teams, and hoe that doesn’t happen much anymore. Until they make it to New York. Yankees fans don’t have that turnover that other teams do. Nineteen shortstops for the Reds since they acquired Brandon Phillips. That was in 2006. I can’t think of another team that I can name the entire infield of. Yankees fans have that certainty. I’m a little jealous of that.
So to me, the Yankees are like a Gold Toppstown parallel. Something some people really like and want to collect, and something the rest of us toss around and use as filler. Disliked, perhaps, but useful all the same.