Why does my Yankee loathing run so deep?

Is it possible to love New York yet pause a moment to curse the Bronx Bombers and all their works? You bet.

Topics: Baseball,

Why does my Yankee loathing run so deep?

Today, everybody loves New York. Mayor Rudy, New York’s Finest, the firefighters — all part of the corny Big Apple bumper sticker plastered on our collective heart. As we watch the city get off the mat and start swinging again, people everywhere salute the plucky citizens of America’s mightiest metropolis. And then some of us turn toward Yankee Stadium and offer salutes of a different kind. To hell with solidarity — we still hate the Yankees.

Now, in the fall of 2001, is that OK? Is it cool to lie awake wishing painful strains on every pinstriped groin? At this dark moment when we stand shoulder to shoulder with all the residents of Gotham, can we pause a moment to curse the Bronx Bombers and all their works? Hell yes. I hate those Bronx bastards.

I know — sports don’t matter anymore. Sept. 11 put everything in perspective. Empty athletic contests mean nothing in the big scheme of yada yada. Why then do my teeth grind like tectonic plates as I watch Paul expletive O’Neill circle the bases like a prize spaniel prancing around a dog ring? Why does my Yankee loathing run so deep?

It’s the inevitability — the numbing predictability of Yankee success when the pumpkin wears frost. They say baseball is like life, and it’s true insofar as this: No matter what you do, what deals you make, what successes you enjoy, you cannot forestall the inexorable end. There are only two certainties in this life: death and the Yankees.

Taxes? You can cheat on your taxes. Taxes are random compared to the Yanks. In the 2001 playoffs they first faced an Oakland Athletics team that won 102 games and compiled the best record in the majors after the All-Star break. The Yanks lost the first two games of the best-of-five series on their own home turf. That left them in need of three straight victories, two of them in Oakland where the A’s had a 17-game winning streak going.

But the sun continued to rise and set as usual and the Earth failed to wing crazily off into space like a runaway truck tire. So a week later the victorious Yanks were heading into Seattle for the American League championship. The Mariners, you may know, tied the major league record for most wins in a season with 116. One hundred and sixteen victories, piled up steadily from April to September like sawdust from a Washington wood chipper.



And what are the victories of spring and summer? They are the youthful Hollywood dreams of a future chartered accountant. They are the salad days of a high school quarterback, destined someday to land steady work as the overnight security officer at a parsnip warehouse. They are a 10-course banquet of nachos and cream soda. They leave you as fat and gassy as the other half of a Mike Tyson fight. When the Yankees hit town, Seattle had as much chance as a crippled pigeon on a LaGuardia runway.

But why? Why do the Yankees wait like a terminal disease at the end of every tedious campaign? Money, of course; for all baseball’s trumpeting of midbudget successes like the A’s, the poor are no more likely to prosper in the major leagues than they are in the America’s Cup.

Nonetheless, winning is not just about cash. The Texas Rangers proved that with spectacular flair this year by vomiting a quarter-billion bucks onto shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Evidently Rangers’ management hoped their pitching staff, like Anna Nicole Smith, would perform better in front of a rich guy. Instead they finished with the worst earned run average in the major leagues and the Rangers missed the division title by 43 games. A-Rod played well, but to match expectations he would have needed the kind of season not seen since Moses went 10-for-10 against Pharaoh. The fact that ownership of the Texas Rangers now appears to be a springboard to the White House should have American taxpayers clutching reflexively at their wallets.

Money doesn’t help if you’re stupid. But Seattle spent wisely. So did Oakland. Baseball fans grown tired of the annual October pinstripe parade had every reason to believe that deliverance had come at last. And when baseball’s reliable rat fink Roger Clemens stumbled out of the playoff gate, losing Game 1 to Oakland and looking shaky in his second start, tyranny finally seemed on its last legs.

The Yanks didn’t need their ace. The Yanks, it seems, don’t need anything but that famous two-letter pileup stitched onto their hats. Logic becomes futile. Throw away the racing form. Yankee mystique trumps all.

The World Series begins this weekend. National League champion Arizona owns the deadliest one-two pitching combination in recent history with starters Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. Yankee hurlers seem vulnerable. Finally, the stage may be set for new October heroes.

And maybe George Steinbrenner will be president. Sorry, Rudy, but I hate the goddamn Yankees.

Steve Burgess is a Salon contributing writer.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>