Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions


Posted by Andrew Roman on November 5, 2009

Yankees win it allShould I, on the morning after the New York Yankees win their twenty-seventh world championship, comment on what I knew was a foregone conclusion since August? Should this admittedly bitter New York Mets fan – and season ticket holder – even bother taking the time to acknowledge something that I would have easily bet the mortgage on in early September? Is it even worth my time, as a feverish fan of New York’s other baseball team, to sit down and say something about the most heralded franchise in all of sports who, once again, brought home the gold?

It is.

But briefly – and then I’ll move on.

As a life-long, bona fide, stat-happy baseball freak – and one who surprisingly wrote nothing about the game all season long – it seems remarkable that I would not comment in some context on the Yankees World Series victory last night. After all, I live in New York City. It’s all anyone is talking about this morning. And I am about to endure several agonizing days of non-stop Yankee bombardment in every conceivable form, from every conceivable corner imaginable.

Not that it shouldn’t happen.

It should.

A World Series victory is a big deal, especially in a baseball town like New York.

Every Yankees fan should revel in it, as I know I would have had the Mets won a championship.

At every turn, from every newspaper, from every pair of lips, in every store, on every corner, on every radio station, it will be “Yankees, Yankees, Yankees.” It is the cross I bear as a fan of a team who will always do everything it can to live up to the monicker of “New York’s second best baseball team.”

The fact is, the New York Yankees deserved to win it all – just like the Philadelphia Phillies deserved to be the National League pennant winners.

Without question, the Yankees are the best team in baseball.

(My fingers ache just typing that).

I do admit, as a die-hard Mets fan who bleeds orange and blue, that there was a definite sick pleasure in seeing the hated Philadelphia Phillies lose. That they have a team that is chock full of the type of gritty, in-your-face, down-and-dirty clutch ball players I wish were playing in Queens doesn’t change the fact that their loss was particularly sweet.

I can’t help but feel that way.

Yes, I like it when they lose, just like they take great pleasure in watching the Mets and their fans suffer – as we did all throughout this horrifically agonizing, injury-riddled, disaster of a season. (To be quite frank, even perfectly healthy, the Mets would not have been as good as the Phillies).

But did it have to be the Yankees?

I concede that this little missive is born out of emotion, rather than rationality. I’ve no real reason to hate the Yankees – other than I was raised by Brooklyn Dodger fans who lived their lives rooting for a team that always, save for once, came in second to the mighty Yankees.

National League baseball is in my blood.

But the Bronx Bombers are, after all, a New York City team. That should count for something come World Series time. If the Mets cannot represent the city in the post-season (which they regularly don’t, despite being in the nation’s number one market), I should be able to summon the maturity to throw my support behind the big boys in the Bronx.

But I don’t. Or I can’t. Or I won’t.

On one hand, I have no problem saying that if I never see another Yankees champion for the rest of my days on this Earth, it will be too soon. On the other, I know that jealously doesn’t become me – and to suggest that there isn’t even just an electron’s worth of jealousy mixed in somewhere is intellectually dishonest.

No, as a Mets fan, I don’t long for twenty-seven world’s championships. I don’t ache for a team with a history as rich and storied as the Yankees’. (I’m perfectly happy with my own team’s history). I don’t wish for a slew of retired numbers and Hall-of-Fame inductees as extensive as the Bombers’. I don’t even want a uniform as classic and awe-inspiring as the Yankees’ famed pin stripes.

But how about just one lousy championship?


Is 1986 going to be it?

(Too much emoting. Steady now. I digress.)

Indeed, my hatred of the Phillies is greater than my hatred of the Yankees – but not by too much. Perhaps only my disdain for the Atlanta Braves and their annoying third baseman (Chipper Jones, who actually named his child, Shea, after the stadium in which he so excelled) trumps them both.

In short, it was very difficult for me to get into, let alone enjoy, this year’s Fall Classic. Choosing between the “worst of two evils” didn’t seem to be enough of a motivating factor to get me into the series.

However, in reading many of the online screeds and scribbles from dejected Phillies fans this morning – and something that historically seems to be a common theme among cry-baby Mets fans – is the notion that the Yankees championship is less legitimate somehow, or less worthy of recognition, because they “bought” it. Since the beginning of their remarkable run in 1996 as a perennial playoff contender, this has been the big knock against the Yankees – their ability to “buy” championships – or at least, “buy” contenders. Because they spend tons and tons of money on putting championship-caliber team on the field, and because most other teams simply haven’t the capacity to do the same, it somehow makes their accomplishments less authentic or a sham.

Sure, they spent a boatload of money on building this championship team.

So what?

They’ve not done anything illegal. They’ve worked legitimately within the guidelines of the rules of Major League Baseball to build their franchise’s success.

One can certainly be a proponent of the salary cap, like exists in the National Football League, but that’s a separate issue. Indeed, it’s a very legitimate topic, and one worthy of discussion, but it is irrelevant to what happened during this six-game series between the Yankees and the Phillies. (Personally, in purely theoretical terms, I would find the limitation of a salary cap more interesting). Certainly, the Phillies could have beaten a team with a larger payroll – as the Marlins did in 2003 when they beat the Yankees, and the Diamondbacks did in 2001 when they beat the Yankees, as the Phillies themselves have done over the past three years against the hated Mets when it’s counted most. Yankee fans will (quite correctly) tell you that spending money doesn’t guarantee a championship, as the years 2001 through 2008 showed, although it cannot be denied that it can do much to keep a team a contender.

It’s the way it is. Deal with it. Stop whining about it.

world series trophyThe fact is, there is not a Mets fan in all of God’s creation who would turn down and reject a World Series championship if their team spent the amount of money the Yankees did.

Not one.

Not a single Mets fan would be caught dead declaring a championship less legitimate had their team’s front office spent the amount of green the Yankees had – nor would any team.

Text book hypocrisy.

Who among us would look down on a World Series championship had their own team the ability to spend as the Yankees do?

Not one.

Go ahead and hate a team because of a long-standing rivalry. Go ahead and hate a team because it was passed down from your Dad’s generation to do so. Go ahead and hate a team because you hate some of their ball players. Go ahead and hate a team because their fans are arrogant and annoying. Go ahead and hate a team because every time they play you, they clobber you. Go ahead and hate a team because you hate the way their stupid uniform looks. Go ahead and hate a team because their loud-mouthed second baseman pisses you off (primarily because he backs up his smack talk). Go ahead and hate a team for any number of reasons, but don’t start in with money.

Believe me, in the world of professional football, I despise the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins for reasons that have nothing to do with money.

So, congratulations to the New York Yankees for another championship. If you are a Yankees fan, go out and enjoy the parade, buy your “World Champions!” gear, rub it in the face of every Mets fan who is still trying to figure out why Carlos Beltran didn’t at least swing the bat once in that final at bat in 2006, and wave your “We’re Number One!” banners proudly.

You deserve it.

And I shan’t mention any of this again.

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