I've talked about this on my show, Dimland Radio - Saturday nights at 11 Central at www.ztalkradio.com, last year (6-1-13), but I thought I'd blog about here since it is World Series time again. I hate the New York Yankees and, in the summer of 2013, I discovered a clear reason for my animosity.
There are many reasons to hate the Yankees:
Being a Minnesota Twins fan, in recent years when they weren't the losers they've been lately, each time my club would make the postseason, they would face the Hated Yankees right away and lose.
The envy I feel for the market New York provides the Yankees, so they are always rolling in money. Money the owners are willing to spend.
There's the media attention. Oh, the media attention. It sometimes seems the only team in baseball is the Hated Yankees. (Yes, I know. More envy.)
And then there's the fact that the Hated Yankees have won 27 World Series. Twenty goddamn seven!! The next closest team, the St. Louis Cardinals, has won eleven. I agree there is something to admire about that kind of success, but... goddamn.
And, since 9/11, this forced tradition imposed by the Hated Yankees (ok, maybe not them specifically, it does seem to be a media driven thing) of adding the singing of 'God Bless America' to the seventh inning stretch has my curmudgeonly self grumbling every time. I could be wrong but my thinking is if that terrorist attack had happened in St. Louis or Chicago we wouldn't be subjected to that horned in tradition every postseason. There's already a fine tradition that takes place as part of the seventh inning stretch, folks.
But, I discovered a reason that seemed to cut right to the heart of my hatred...
Stephen Jay Gould and the 1960 World Series.
|Stephen Jay Gould - New York Times|
Last summer, I was rewatching Ken Burns' Baseball documentary for I don't how many-ith time, when I got to the 8th "inning" it struck me. This is why I hate the Yankees.
It was the 1960 World Series, the Hated Yankees would be taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates, who, at that time, hadn't won a World Series since 1925. The Yankees were clearly the better team and the games they won in that series were blowouts. But the Pirates were able to force a seventh game in Pittsburgh.
It all came down to the bottom of the ninth when Bill Mazeroski broke a 9-9 tie by hitting the game and series winning home run. The better team lost.
|Mazeroski's Home Run|
So, in the documentary, we hear the tale told by Billy Crystal, Mickey Mantle, and Stephen Jay Gould. Crystal usually annoys me, so I pretty much just shrugged off his comments. Mantle was on that Yankee team, so his disappointment is understandable. Gould, however...
I like Stephen Jay Gould. He was a good scientist and science communicator and, as far as I can tell, a good guy. He died way too soon. He was a baseball fan and his team was you know who.
The revelation of the source of my hatred came when Gould stated that 30 plus years after the fact his friends and family know never to mention Mazeroski's home run. That's when it hit me.
Why the hell would you give a damn?! Pittsburgh hadn't won a World Series in 35 years! For the Hated Yankees it had been since 1958. And it's not like Yankees fans didn't have many champions to celebrate. In a young Stephen Jay Gould's lifetime the Hated Yankees won in '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '56, and '58. They would go on to win again in '61 and '62. In all, the Hated Yankees have won 27 World Championships.
And Gould still carried ill feelings about losing what would have been their 19th championship? What the hell? Let it go. It's just one your team didn't win.
I swear the attitude is - It's the postseason, the Yankees are in it, just give them the trophy.
So, maybe it's more accurate to say I hate the Yankees fan. Maybe I shouldn't hold it against the team. Maybe I should admire a team with such a winning tradition. Maybe I should just stop calling them the Hated Yankees.