I’m spoiled. I know this. If I’ve said it already, let me repeat myself: I was born into pinstripes and I’m a Yankee thrice over. Once by being an American (to my fellow Yanks that are clueless, in a worldly fashion, all Americans are Yankees to most other nations), twice by living in the North (at least as far as Southerners are concerned), and third because I was born into Yankees pinstripes. Not that I’m complaining about that – by living in Connecticut, the closest thing we have to a pro team is the Wolfpack or Sound Tigers and the Ravens, so you have to sign your allegiance to either New York or Boston. It just that I’m spoiled.
Having lived through the circus of the 70’s as a Yankees fan, I got used to a lot of hoopla and “winning”. The 80’s were a dark time, but you could always take pride in certain players, like Winnie or Donnie Baseball. They were highlights in the dark days and ballplayers of the highest caliber to be sure. The 90’s brought 4 World Series and 5 AL Championships and 7 Post Season appearances – that is if my math is right. The 98 season with 125 wins total is one that was pure magic and unlike any other that I think I’ll see. Granted the Mariners may have broken the most games won, but by not taking the World Series, it’s a hollow victory.
Anyway, this weekend I went a Yankees-Mets game… it’s a text book case for interleague play, right up there with the A’s and Giants, Cubs and White Sox – even the Red Sox and Mets, given their history together. What I find amusing are the Mets fans themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for team pride. I’m all for fan excitement – Yankee Stadium wouldn’t be the same without. However, when you go to the opposing teams’ home field, you need to show some restraint and expect to take some shit. Take for example, the kid sitting next to me this weekend. Every strike against the Yankees and he was on his feet applauding. That’s a bit much. Home runs? Sure. End of the inning? Of course. Big play? Absolutely! Every strike? Erf.
Maybe it’s just me. I mean I’m more concerned with where the Yankees are in the standing and how the team is performing. The Mets fans were more concerned about whether or not The Rocket would get drilled by their pitcher in NL-hosted, interleague play. They are also concerned about whether or not their players are picking up dime bags of pot. They even had a player that had to have a press conference to confirm is sexual orientation because he used to live with Sam Champion (some NY weather guy that might be gay). So maybe when their team is up against the AL leader in a crosstown match-up, they finally realize what baseball is about: the game!
I have it easy. Steinbrenner spends a shit load of cash every year to put together a winning team. The man expects to win 162 games a season and only need to play 11 post season games before he gets another Ring. He’s always been that way and he’ll always will be – call it the Mystique of George. So there’s always quality. What I find ironic is that the Mets fans are one of the first people to whine about the lack of a salary cap or about the millions Georgie spends… well DUH. Why else do you play if not to win, and if the guy can afford it, who’s to say otherwise? The commissioner of MLB doesn’t obviously, b/c there’s no salary cap – if that changes, than so be it, but that’s not how it is right now. Besides, the last few years, the Mets were only a few million less than the Yankees in salary. They just don’t bring home the Rings!
The Mets have their uses… they got that Atari looking logo on their arms this year – something about being 40 years old, but unless you’re up close, it looks like a mold growth on their arms. They also got that round like an ashtray, eyesore in Dodger’s blue and Giant’s orange stadium in Queens; it lets you know you’re about to hit the airport on the GCP. They also got to wear those futuristic uniforms in 1999 – that was neat. And they beat the Red Sox in 1986, prolonging the Bambino-curse another year, even if it was mostly due to the Red Sox choking. They help us to remember the rivalry of the New York boroughs, even if they can’t always rival their cross-river rivals.
There just always something to pick on. Even if the Yankees lost this past Saturday, they were still in 1st place by a game, while the Mets were 9 1/2 games back. Or the pot thing; even Strawberry waited until after the season to get caught by being stupid. I mean, while they might have stolen home on Castillo, which was a personal first for me to see live… even so… at least he didn’t need a press conference to get a proclaim himself straight!