Let’s get this out of the way right now: I am not a sportswriter. This article will be my first foray into writing about sports since I tried to get my play about the 1984 NCAA Basketball Championships published in my middle school’s literary magazine.
So forgive me if I have the shakes.
Oh, wait, there’s something else we have to get out of the way, too: The New York Yankees are the greatest team ever assembled. Any sport, any year. They’re the Jack Nicholson of baseball.
And they’re fun to watch, too. They’re not like the Dallas Cowboys or anything — a masterful squad funded by Satan himself, so good that it’s not even worth watching their games or guessing the spread.
Moreover, the Yankees are great guys. Bernie Williams? What a sweetheart! He’ll wash your car if you ask nice. Paul O’Neill? Nicer than your grandmother. Better right fielder than your grandmother, too. Scott Brosius? Call me. Please?
And yet, as I sit in the Pierson College buttery watching the World Series, all I hear are the asinine cheers of “West COAST!” and bloody roars every time the Yanks strike out. I didn’t have the gall at the time to point out that Arizona was not on the West Coast, but, in my bathrobe and Yankees cap, I registered disgust nonetheless. And hid behind my grilled cheese.
Why does everybody hate the Yankees? Because they’re too good?
My roommate Matt says the Yankees are soulless. He’s from Berkeley, Calif., where apparently the Diamondbacks are very big, and where soul is everything. Flipping off Derek Jeter’s regular season stats, he adds, “They suck.”
Well that’s just wrong, Matt. God — WHY did I ever pick you to be my roommate?! You’re so incredibly terrible!
You can say many things about any team you do not like. Watch. I’ll do it right now. The Montreal Expos cheat on their wives. There. See, I said it? It’s true, too.
You can say many things about the Yankees if you hate them, but you must respect them. They are the best team ever. On the whole planet. Probably even on other planets. And they most certainly do not suck.
Nietzsche would have a field day with the Yankees. But he’s dead. If he were still alive, however, and very, very old, he would surely speak of the “slave mentality” which has developed into this sort of desire to be “the perpetual underdog.” When you’re the underdog, Friedrich would say through his long white beard (because he’s so old, you see) the stakes are higher. You’ve got nothing to lose. The game is more fun, and if you win, the feeling of satisfaction is amplified.
Smart guy, that Nietzsche. Although “Beyond Good and Evil” should be retitled “Beyond Crappiness … The Crappiness of This Book, That Is. This Book Is So Crappy.”
Americans love being the underdogs. We love the Cinderella story. We love Rocky Balboa. We love the Die Hard series. We love “fighting our way back.” We thrive on the numbers being down, and beating unbeatable odds. We love being in the position we are in right now; we can wave our flags and bomb the insides out of a country so technologically advanced that it has managed to lay 18 (count ’em, 18) miles of train track. And we can do it with a smile, because we’re fighting BACK. We’re the underdogs all over again.
We’re Rocky, and even though the Taliban could never be compared to an Apollo Creed figure, we make ourselves believe that it is.
Guess what, America. You want a surprise ending to this “war”? Well, there isn’t one. We’re going to win it, just like we win every war. We’re going to smoke the evil one out of his cave. A shutout. Don’t call it a comeback.
So Matt hates the Yankees because they’ve become too powerful. And all America wants to do is tear down its champions so they can build new ones in their remains. New juggernauts. We secretly desire to destroy everything great, just to get the thrill of seeing the underdog win again.
America was the underdog, once: when England was an empire, and we were the oppressed. Today, we are the empire. That’s why people like Osama bin Laden hate us. And England is tabloid headlines.
We like America right now. Heck, it rocks. Why does it rock? Because its goal is clear, says the president, chewing tobacco in the Texas Rangers’ dugout: “WIN the war.”
You want it in SAT terms? The Yankees are to baseball what America is to the world. But all the Yankees want to do is play ball. Just to win a game. They’re just a bunch of nice, talented guys. And their goal has always been clear. Don’t hate them for that goal.
The Yankees are righteous, even when the culture that gave birth to baseball is not.
Say what you will. Root against the Yankees. This is America. When your e-mails aren’t being monitored by the now limitlessly empowered executive branch, it’s a free country. So go ahead, damn the Yankees to hell, where they’ll shine their championship rings with the Cowboys. Take baseball seriously if you must. George W. Bush ’68 certainly did. It was his job up until a couple years ago.
Say what you will.
But don’t say that the Yankees suck.
Because then it is truly you who sucks … Matt. You suck.
Greg Yolen is a sophomore in Pierson College. His going rate is $5 an hour, plus fridge access.