October has arrived and it is now arguably the best time of year in many respects. Gone are the sweltering 100-degree days that numbered aplenty in 2010, giving way to a pleasant change of season. More importantly, October marks the beginning of a month’s worth of Major League Baseball playoff games that, when coupled with football gaining momentum, forms the most supreme combination that the sporting world has to offer.
October also inherently means that the New York Yankees and their $206 million dollar payroll are again on the prowl for another World Series ring—a feat that is a love-hate proposition for followers of baseball. Mostly hate…
Before the games get underway and the sporting media machine begins its month-long coronation ceremony by showering its unabashed love on the New York Yankees—the single truism guaranteed to be imposed upon viewers this fall—let’s examine four simple reasons why we should rabidly root for the fiery demise of the Bronx Bombers. Figuratively, people; figuratively…
Annoying Yankee Fans
In baseball, there are Yankees fans; and there are fans of the other teams. Fans of other teams won’t always agree on much, but there is one critical rallying point on which we always concur: we hate the Yankees*.
*Some of us also equally hate the Red Sox, who sold their soul and joined the ways of the Dark Side earlier this decade.
What we hate even more are the legions of drunken, loud-mouthed—and thickly accented—belligerent Yankees fans who, possessing no mind or spirit, support their team in body only. A body likely fueled by years of consuming soggy thin-crust pizza and Italian sausages, washed down by gallons of corporate-produced macrobrew swill that—fittingly—qualifies as beer in name only. “Annoying” is a mild term for the legions of fanatics who don’t actually cheer for the Yankees so much as they heckle, bark and vomit upon other teams and their fans at home games, and more severely, in opponents’ ballparks.
This loathing is not reserved for all Yankees fans. New York boasts a relatively large percentage of knowledgeable baseball fans and some of the most enjoyable conversations I’ve had about the game have been with Yankees fans. No, this brand of disdain is targeted toward the front-running bandwagoners that number in the hundreds-of-thousands who obviously mistake their attendance at baseball games for an audition to be the latest, boorish bohunk to be cast on Jersey Shore.
Many of these same people are accustomed to losing in real life and their only hope to taste victory is the distant secondhand satisfaction of pulling for hired mercenaries, with an “NY” emblazoned on their chest and foreheads, to win a children’s game. To see their dreams shattered in the first round of play is what every non-Yankee baseball fan hopes for, and is reason enough to tune in again this year.
A Chance to Cheer for an Underdog
In America, it has become increasingly rare to find an opportunity to cheer for an underdog. The spirit of big business, best embodied by giants like Wal-Mart, has nearly vanquished the sum of small businesses and mom-and-pop operations across the country. We celebrate this sweet victory by shopping in bulk, eating frozen pizzas, and adorning ourselves in cheap clothing produced by the hands of Asian children, who toil away in distant sweatshops to keep our American dream alive. When it comes to world affairs, cheering for the underdog is equivalent to treason—a crime punishable by death. Hell, if bible tales were written today, Goliath would have undoubtedly smitten David with a drone air attack and subsequently have statues erected in his honor. Gargantuan statues.
Sport offers us a chance at redemption. We can attempt to atone for our wanton ignorance and gluttony, and instead, become born again by uniting under the banner of the little guy in his epic struggle to overthrow the powers of evil. In baseball, we have the opportunity to join together and rally behind a roster of lesser-paid athletes in a best-of-seven series to destroy the Imperial Forces. May the Force Be With Us!
Big Money: Sports Media Wants Yankees to Win
The largest cash cow in the pasture of American sports is coming home to graze this fall and the media will fatten the beast so that it may be ceremoniously sacrificed on the World Series altar as an offering to the Gods of Greed. The Baseball Gods do not abide, and neither should you.
With ESPN, FOX, and MLB broadcast partner TBS’ second-favorite team—the Boston Red Sox—missing the playoffs this year, expect the annual Yankee love fest to be far more extreme and cringe-inducing.
Derek Jeter, one of the few Yankees for whom I harbor respect, is coming off one of his worst seasons in his career. But you won’t hear about it during any telecast this fall. Another sure-fire fact to be missing in action is the stark decline of Alex Rodriguez’s numbers—and health—vis-à-vis the missing ingredient of Vitamin Steroid. Coincidence? “Absolutely,” as will surely be uttered by Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and the rest of their ilk that conveniently turned the same cheek when half of big-league batters were blasting 40 homeruns per year for the better part of the last decade (a number which only Jose Bautista and the great Albert Pujols reached in 2010).
What you will definitely see and hear are continued emotional overtures about the allegedly-beloved former owner of the Yankees, George Steinbrenner, in honor of his passing away earlier this year. Appropriately, you will bear witness to one of the most brazen gestures of megalomania in the history of sport—Steinbrenner’s oversized memorial plaque towering over the bronze busts of true legends of Yankeedom in Monument Park, at the $1.6 billion New Yankee Stadium. The Boss’ monument measures an overwhelming 7-by-5-feet and 760 pounds.
Other monuments of Yankee greats—who also happen to be certifiable American historical figures like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig—modestly stand adjacent to the Steinbrenner shrine at a measly three feet tall.
Everything wrong and detestable about the current state of baseball—and modern-day affairs—may be summed up succinctly in Monument Park. Greed, impatience, and enough wealth to author revisionist history in real-time has triumphed over the ghosts of baseball past, who existed during simpler times when the game was in its Golden Age.
Which brings us to the final reason to cheer against New York this fall…
Supporting the Spirit of America over False Patriotism
Much like the disrespect to history and tradition of Yankee greats that came before their time, as illustrated above, the franchise also pays equal disregard to the spirit of American freedom and the liberties ensured by our Constitution. How, you ask? In the ritual singing of God Bless America during the 7th Inning Stretch.
You probably think “he’s stretching a bit.” You probably think, “he’s a terrorist who wants to build a mosque near Ground Zero.” But when Yankee Stadium police — or Stormtroopers — ejected a Yankee fan last year for trying to use the bathroom during “God Bless America,” the spirit of patriotism was obliterated in the name of corporate-sponsored fascism. Is it corporate-sponsored fascism if it’s on private property? Probably not.
Well, is Yankee Stadium private property? Ask New York tax payers who chipped in $450 million to the project, with the government adding $940 million in tax-exempt bonds (the answer is NO).
I try to keep sports and politics separated as much as possible, especially in ranting about either topic. However, I happen to think that it’s time to move on from the past and look forward to tomorrow—a tomorrow that hopefully includes the Yankees falling to defeat in the American League Divisional Series.
So I encourage those in agreement to not only cheer against the Yankees, but take a stand against them—and everything they represent—by getting up during the 7th Inning Stretch and use the bathroom, grab another snack, fetch another beverage from the fridge, or punch a drunken Yankee fan, and support the little guys! Support America! And screw the Yankees!!!