My Name Is Jon. And I cheer for the New York Yankees.
There I said it. Whew. Glad I got that load off my chest. Now the whole world knows.
I’ve been a Yankees fan all my life. The first major league baseball game I ever saw was in Yankee Stadium. Some of my fondest sports memories center around the Yankees winning the World Series.
If that makes you dislike me, as the Yankees have won more titles than any other team, I understand. I really do. Ha ha ha.
I don’t want to hear any guff about this proclamation, either. I know, I know. I’ve hear all of the jibes about the Yankees — America’s One-Percenters’ Team, The Best Team That Money Can Buy, The Evil Empire. I’m sure I’m leaving out a few. Feel free to educate me.
The biggest argument against the Yankees is that it is a team built solidly on a foundation of big bucks, not baseball smarts. This is an era when everyone heaps lavish praise on Oakland A’s GM Billy Beene and his brand of Moneyball — in which a baseball brain trust hires low-cost players who know how to beat the more moneyed squads by outsmarting them.
It’s not likely that Brad Pitt will ever portray George Steinbrenner in a splashy Hollywood movie, as he did when he brought Beene to life in Moneyball. There is nothing feel-good about the Yankees. There is less than zero inspiring about us fans. We are the most hated group of fans in the sports world. Supporters of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets despise us on principle. Los Angeles Dodgers fans loathe us as a matter of history and honor.
(Hey, the Dodgers have no gripe — their team’s payroll even topped the Yankees’ this season).
Much of the current universal resentment of the Yankees stems from the world’s treatment of one Derek Sanderson
Jeter has enjoyed a storybook career. He dreamed of playing shortstop for the Yankees when he was growing up in Kalamazo, Michigan, and naturally, the Yankees chose him with the sixth pick in the first round of the player draft in 1992 (how dumb do those other five teams feel ow!). He was a kid with a dream and all of the pieces fell together and he got what he wanted. Then he made the most of it.
Jeter was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996. He helped the Yankees win their first world championship that year since 1978. He went on to win four more rings. He has personified class, modesty and teamwork. He is not a loudmouth. He treated people courteously.
No wonder he is so despised.
Of course, it comes down to jealousy. Jeter personifies the Yankees. Critics blast his defenses as sub-standard. They say he is a lucky singles hitter, despite his 3,000-plus base hits over a 19-year major league career. They say a lot of stuff about him. Now, Jeter is embarking on his farewell tour during his last season. Everywhere he goes, teams shower him with gifts and special days honoring his great career. This sparks even more widespread, heartfelt resentment allover the baseball world as well.
Oh yeah, and Jeter is a bachelor who is linked in gossip rags to supermodels and Hollywood actresses. More hatred, more jealousy.
I find it rather humorous that so many people traditionally and mindlessly hate the Yankees. “I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused,” to quote Elvis Costello. I don’t hate them them.
I pity them.