Well, the baseball season is officially over now, and I guess I should extend a formal congratulation to the Yankees, the City of New York, and all the Yankee fans. This is what my rational brain tells me I should do, but there is still that immature part of my brain that keeps saying the same thing over and over again.
The Yankees Suck!
Winning the World Series in any one season is an accomplishment that should not be taken lightly. Doing it 27 times is a feat that will never be matched by any other team. Ever. The next closest team currently is the St. Louis Cardinals with 10 World Series wins. In all of sports, the only team to come close is the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League with 24 Stanley Cup championships. But unlike the Yankees, the Canadiens won most of their championships over a 27 year period from 1953 to 1979, winning 16 times. And to be fair to the Yankees, when this streak began there were only six teams in the NHL, but a series of expansions through the late sixties and seventies, raised the number of teams to 21 by 1980. Since then, the Canadiens have only won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1986 and 1993. The NHL currently has 30 teams, the same number as are currently active in the MLB.
The Yankees have made it to the World Series at least once in every decade since 1921, a total of 40 times, but they did not start out so well. They actually began playing in 1901 as the Baltimore Orioles, and then moved to New York in 1903 where they adopted the name Highlanders because of the location of their ballpark, but the New York press quickly dubbed them the Yanks and then the Yankees, but the team didn’t officially change their name until 1913 when they moved into the Polo Grounds were they shared the facilities with the National League New York Giants. But it wasn’t until the infamous December 26, 1919 acquisition of the Sultan of Swat that the Yankee legend was born. The rest as they say is history, and other than about a 15 year period during the eighties and early nineties, the Yankees have been the most dominate team in baseball. So when faced with the facts, why doesn’t my brain agree?
The Yankees Suck!
With winning there comes a certain amount of swagger, the White Sox certainly had it after the 2005 season, and after 27 World Series victories the Yankees and their fans have developed way too much swagger. Since turning things around during the strike year of 1994, the Yankees have been a part of post season play every year since 1995 excluding last year, making it to the World Series seven times, and winning it five. When a team is consistently that good, you either become a fan, or you begin to deeply despise them. It is jealousy, pure and simple. All fans wish their teams were as good as the Yankees. And their fans, especially the one from New York, take an ownership of the team’s success that becomes outright obnoxious. In a recent run in with a Yankee fan at a White Sox game, a lady from New York got quite upset because she wanted to sit in the Yankee section. When the customer service person tried to explained to the lady that there was no Yankee section, the lady got even more upset. She was at the game with her kids, and she didn’t want her children to be subjected to all these Chicago fan. The customer service person pointed out the fact that she was in Chicago, so there would be Chicago fans in any section she tried to move to. The lady refused to believe this and demanded to talk to a supervisor.
The Yankee Fans Suck!
So when a team and its fan base reach this level of expected victory, other fans from other teams begin to root against them. It is the typical David and Goliath situation. It is a basic human instinct to root for the underdog, unless you are Goliath. The Yankees have more money to spend, can buy better players, can keep the players who do well, and on the rare occasion when one of their highly paid players does indeed suck, they can afford to dump them or trade them or buy out their contract. The days when a small market club can compete consistently with the likes of the Yankees are long gone. Sure, we may see an occasional Florida Marlins like in 2003, but once a small market team wins, they can no longer afford the high price tag of the players who took them there, and teams with more money snap up those players.
Of course, money does not guaranty success, a certain team on the North side of town can attest to that, but it certainly increases the chances and opportunity. Which brings me back to my original statement. It is no small task to win a World Series. And the Yankees have set themselves up again to take a run at that success for years to come. With a payroll this year of over $201 million, the Yankees outspent even their closest competition by over $65 million. The amount they spent on player’s salaries was more than doubled what 22 of the remaining 29 teams spent. With a disparity of that amount, it is no wonder the Yankees continue to succeed. This is why I have a hard time congratulating the Yankees for their victory this year. And this is why I will continue to root against the Yankees for years to come. Call it immature, call it envy, call it whatever you like, even when I was sure that the Yankees were going to win this year, I could not get myself to cheer for them. But now that they have won, I will do the proper thing and offer my congratulations to them. It is what an adult should do, and it is what I would teach my children to do. The best team did indeed win.
The Yankees Still Suck.