Over the years, I have been asked one question probably more than any other question: ”Why do you hate the Yankees?”
(This question, of course, never comes from Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees fans, because Sox fans know the answer and Yankees fans think they know the answer.)
Usually it comes from someone I know locally who has never followed sports or someone I either meet at a ball park or connect with through the blog who doesn’t get (or know the specifics of) the rivalry.
So as the team storms back into the Bronx for the seventh game and third series between the Red Sox and Yankees this season, I thought it a good time to fill in the blanks for those who still have them (pertaining to ME, anyway).
I was born into my fandom. My parents are big Red Sox (and baseball) fans and spent a lot of time not only watching games with me but teaching me the history of the game. (They did the same with the Boston Bruins, New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. There was rarely a day when a sporting event wasn’t on our television when I was growing up and I did many the book report on sports-related books.) My mother was the one who told me about Roger Maris and how he was treated in 1961. My father explained to me how Babe Ruth was once on the Red Sox but would always be considered a “true” Yankee. Of course, making distinctions between Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio was table conversation many the night at our house. I instinctively didn’t like the Yankees and being in a home where no one liked them just encouraged that.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s and, aside from the conditioning by my parents, I found my own reasons for my extreme dislike of the Bronx Bombers. In 1973 I was too young to remember Thurman Munson crashing into Carlton Fisk and the ensuing fight, but hearing about it for years after solidified my childhood “hatred” for the Yankees and especially Munson. I was old enough to remember Lou Piniella smashing into Carlton Fisk, the brawl that followed and Bill Lee being hurt. Fisk and Lee were tremendously popular in both Boston and my house and, to this day, my family has our own names for Lou Piniella. (Most of which can’t be repeated in polite company.) So the idea of disliking them was planted in my brain by my parents and the early 1970s Yankees didn’t do anything to change my mind.
Any time the Yankees make the playoffs or the World Series, I actively root against them. Doesn’t matter the team they’re playing against nor the circumstances. (Heck, who am I kidding? Any time the Yankees play a game I actively root against them.) In 2001, when it seemed everyone insisted through the months of September and October that we must root for the Yankees, I wondered why there wasn’t the same call to root for the Mets and decided that I could mourn what happened on September 11th without selling my soul. When Luis Gonzalez hit that blooper against Mariano Rivera to win Game 7 and the World Series in Arizona I cried many genuine tears of joy. (My first visit to Cooperstown was in 2004 not too long after the end of the World Series. At the Hall of Fame there is the World Series room where they display the current WS winner memorabilia and also have past World Series things in the room. One of these things is a video player where you can select your favorite World Series moment and replay it, with the audio filling the room. While we were looking at the 2004 Red Sox items, we notice many the Yankees fan in the room. I can’t count how many times I replayed the Gonzalez moment while in there.)
Wade Boggs riding a horse in Yankee Stadium, Roger Clemens, well just being Roger Clemens. The phantom Chuck Knoblauch tag. (The Clemens photo I linked to here reminds me that there are reasons not even related to the Yankees as a team that I don’t like them. Paul O’Neill being an obnoxious poor sport comes to mind. And George Steinbrenner is the ultimate reason ANYONE could have for not liking the Yankees, regardless of their team affiliation. That anyone can defend what kind of person he was in and out of baseball – “But he donated to the Jimmy Fund every year!” I hear a lot. – continues, to this day, to boggle my mind. I mention him only in passing here because I could fill many an entry about how much I despise him.)
After the 2003 ALCS, I didn’t think there was any deeper my hatred for the Yankees could go. And then the baseball gods gave me Alex Rodriguez.
Because I am one of those people who roots from an emotional level, I can’t fathom that any fan likes Alex Rodriguez. His fantastic playing career aside (because, as with many players, there’s enough proof for me to question how much was genuine talent and how much was chemically-enhanced, even so, I can’t deny his career has been impressive), this is a man I would purposely lead children away from because I wouldn’t want him to catch his assholiness. I find him to be a pathetic, creepy, schmuck of a human being. He could hit 400 home runs in a season and I would still hope he tears a hamstring the next time he went up to bat. From the moment he left Texas to his starting a fight he couldn’t finish with Jason Varitek to his slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s hand (and the ridiculous way he acted when called out for it) to his yelling “mine” against the Blue Jays to his public behavior with a stripper while still married to his hijacking the 2007 World Series to his self-involved photo shoot to his being fed popcorn on national television during the Super Bowl…the man is…well he isn’t anyone I’d want any part of. Not in “real” life and certainly not on my team. (That last part there was my being family friendly because the words I usually employ to describe Slappy aren’t really suitable for ANYONE’s ears…or in this case eyes.)
Then there’s Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira and Joba Chamberlain (good Lord, I can’t stand Joba Chamberlain) and John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman and Michael Kay and the majority of Yankees fans (though not all) I’ve either encountered or witnessed. There are just a lot of reasons I will not only never like the Yankees but that my dislike for them or hatred…I’ve used hatred a few times in this entry so I guess I should be consistent…my hatred for them will seemingly only grow.
Well I’m glad I got that off my chest!