I’m going to say something I never thought I would say: I feel sorry for the New York Yankees.
There, I said it and I’m glad.
Most people don’t think the Yankees need their pity. Most people think that because the Yankees’ payroll is higher than the national debt, they don’t deserve our pity. Most people figure that if Babe Ruth came back to life and was able to play like he did in 1928 and offered to play for any team that would pay him $1 trillion, the Yankees would take the deal in a heartbeat, and then go out and spend another trillion on Ty Cobb, just to make things interesting around the clubhouse.
This year, the Yankees won their division, and then they won the first round of the American League playoffs, but as I write this, they are currently down three games to the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs. For most teams, winning their division and making it to the playoffs would be considered a good thing. Most teams would be thrilled to still be playing this late in October. But, as we all know, the Yankees aren’t most teams. And Yankee fans aren’t most fans.
If you listen to Yankee fans — or worse, the New York sports media — you would think that this is the worst season in Yankee history. As I write this, the Yankees are getting ready to play Game 4. If they lose, their season is over, and the players will be forced to go back to New York and listen to angry fans and the even angrier sports media.
I don’t know if the Yankees will win their next game, and if they do win, I don’t know if they can manage to win three straight games against the Tigers. I do know that the odds appear to be against them. Star player Derek Jeter is hurt. Other star players, such as Alex Rodriguez, can’t seem to hit, and the Yankees manager was reduced, after an earlier game, to whining about an umpire’s call.
I always thought that when things sort of fell apart for the Yankees, I would be happy. But I’m not. I don’t like to watch a game simply to root against a team. I think that’s a negative way to watch a game. I might root for one team over another, but I seldom watch a game simply to root against a team. The one exception, I guess, would be the Oakland Raiders, but I don’t think that even counts. Everybody I know roots against the Raiders.
But not rooting against a team is not the same thing as liking a team, and over the past 20 years or so, I haven’t much liked the Yankees. I did root for the Yankees the year they won their first World Series for Torre because I always liked Joe. But several years ago, when the Yankees forced Joe out, I tried to put a curse on the Yankees. My curse worked for a couple of years, but eventually the Yankees won another World Series, so I called my curse off. You can do that, by the way. You can call off a curse.
So, no, I don’t like the Yankees, but I feel sorry for them all the same. Alex Rodriguez, right now, is the most despised person in New York City. Right now, folks in New York City would cheer for the Boston Red Sox before they would cheer for Alex. And it’s not as if Alex can go play for another team, what with him having five years and $114 million left on his contract. I know it’s hard to feel sorry for a guy making $22 million a year, but doggone it, I sort of feel sorry for Alex.
I hate this. I don’t want to feel sorry for Alex, and I don’t want to feel sorry for the Yankees. I want to go back to actively disliking them.
So I guess I have to root for them to win, but if they lose, I will root for them next year to have a good season.
So I can go back to disliking them.
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