JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Yankees

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Based on the nonstop angry e-mail off of my recent Yankee post, I’d like to sorta smack myself across the face.

Being serious—I really didn’t mean to imply that idiots root for the Yankees. I certainly understand the passion and the intensity and the joy that Yankee Baseball brings to people. I’ve seen it up-close; have covered some of the absolutely great Yankee Stadium games of the last, oh, 15 years.

What I meant to say, with all respect, is that I find it hard to understand how baseball fans of any big market club can muster up the excitement and juice when their teams are playing ballclubs with 1/3 or 1/4 or 1/10 the payroll. It’s like watching a college basketball game between, say, North Carolina and Delaware. If you’re a Tar Heel, you can certainly yell and scream and root against the Blue Hens to score. But is it possible to actually feel anything real? To build up animosity—one of sport’s greatest tools?

Obviously, one would rather root for the Yankees than, say, the Pirates. Hell, being a Pirates fan must suck. You have no hope, your management team is terrible, your players know they have no shot. But, come day’s end, wouldn’t the Yankee fan (or Red Sox fan? Or Dodgers fan?) prefer an equal playing field, where everyone has a relatively similar chance of success? It seems true bragging rights come with a level playing field. If you win in the NFL or NBA, it’s because you out-thought, out-drafted and out-maneuvered the other organizations. In baseball, while all those apply, it’s often also based on, simply, out-spending. Not entirely (Exhibit A: 2009 New York Mets). But largely.

Anyhow, that’s what I was trying to say. And, in all sincerity, I apologize for blogging while mentally drunk. It was a dumb post.