A few days ago, I indicated that I’m in the market for an American League team. Starting today, I’ll eliminate teams from the American League one-by-one until I find my new team.
Team Eliminated: New York Yankees
Seriously, was this any shock at all? There are few things I find as beautiful in the sports world as the pureness of irrational hatred for a particular sports team. In all honesty, what have the Yankees ever done to me? Sure, many Yankees fans can be ignorant louts and the owner of the Yankees is a convicted felon.* However, the Yankees have set the standard for greatness in all professional sports. They’ve won 27 world championships and may just make it 28 this year. And yet, I could never bring myself to root for the Yankees. As the “Yankee-Haters Handbook” I had as a child remarked, “Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Standard Oil. Or a yacht.”
*He’s a convicted felon for donating to Richard Nixon’s campaign for crying out loud!
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that there was a short time in my life that I rooted for the Yankees. A certain Yankee-fan in my family baby-sat me when I was young child when my parents went out some place. When they returned, he had turned me into a Yankee fan. I was six years old. How do I know I was six years old, you might ask. How can I place something so surely in time? That’s easy. Returning from a family vacation, I listened to Andy Hawkins’ no-hitter on the radio. I can recall rooting for Hawkins to complete the no-hitter and my dad rooting for the Sox. Incidentally, my dad is a huge White Sox fan. He idolized Nellie Fox and wouldn’t step foot in Cooperstown until he was inducted (If Rizzuto was in, then Fox should be in, dammit!). I can recall coming down the stairs from my room each day that summer and asking my father who won the Mets and Yankees games. I’d subsequently break his heart by responding “good” to Yankee wins and Mets losses and “darn” to Yankee losses and Mets wins. At some point, thankfully, I woke up and the universe returned to its natural order.
Now, one might question me: You’re a New Yorker, shouldn’t you root for both teams? This is just plain nonsense. You’re American do you root for both the Democrats and the Republicans each election? Did you pull for two different wrestlers? Go Sting! And Andre the Giant! Of course not.
I should also note that it left a bad taste in my mouth when Yankee fans accused me of being un-American when I rooted for the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series.
Then again, much of this is about Yankee fans isn’t it? Why should I hate the message because of the messengers?
Perhaps jealousy factors in too. It’s easy being a Yankee. It’s easy being a Yankee fan. It’s easy being a Yankee. They have the coolest new toys all the time. Then again, there are some disadvantages to being a Yankees fan: you need to listen to Susan Waldman and John Sterling on a consistent basis — that’d be enough to make anyone go batty.
The bottom line, however, is this. I’ll never root for the Yankees. Never. Never. Never. There are two particularly wonderful sensory/rooting experiences one can have as a fan: rooting for your team irrationally and despising another with the same wanton and carefree feeling.