Yes, Virginia, it's 2012 and the Yankees Still Suck
Are any sports fans as blinkered as Yankees fans? Is any major publication more willing to print their obtuse thoughts than The New York Times?
Yesterday in the Times, in a kinda sorta baseball-preview sports page, obit columnist Bruce Weber reflected on entering his second half-century of Yankees fandom with a bit of a ho-hum. He certainly likes the current team's “gallant old stars,” such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and never liked George Steinbrenner, whom he calls “egregiously self-aggrandizing and vulgar,” but he admits the Yankees in the post-Steinbrenner era are a little dull.
Then he makes the kind of vast presumption only a Yankees fan could make:
It’s no longer possible, as it was in Steinbrenner’s heyday, to rail against the Yankees as the evil empire that dominates the game because of its financial advantage.
Weber reminds us there are several other wealthy teams (Red Sox, Phillies, Angels) who regularly write big paychecks to stars. He reminds us that the team to vastly overpay A-Rod the first time wasn't the Yankees—they did it in 2007—but the Texas Rangers in 2000. He adds:
So if I’m not having as much fun rooting for the Yankees as I used to, I imagine it can’t be as much fun to disdain them as it once was, either.
No, Mr. Weber, it's still fun. And I still seethe.
True, last season, the Yankees' $30 million advantage in payroll over the second spendiest team, the Philadelphia Phillies ($202m to $172m), was, for a change, actually less than the entire payroll of the least spendiest team in baseball, the Kansas City Royals, which had a $36 milliion payroll. This hasn't happened since 2002. Check out the chart below. The second column is the Yankees' payroll advantage over whomever the No. 2 team is. The third column represents how many teams' payrolls this difference is greater than:
|Year||> No. 2 Team||> MLB Payrolls|
Look at 2004-06. There were years when the difference between the Yankees' payroll and the second-largest payroll was greater than the overall payrolls of more than half the teams in Major League Baseball. You think that's forgotten and forgiven, Mr. Weber, just because the Yanks in 2011 had a mere $30 million advantage over the next spendiest team?
You think because they haven't won the World Series since way back in 2009 that all is forgotten and forgiven?
You think 27/40 is forgotten and forgiven?
You think we've forgotten Jeffrey Maier and A-Rod's slap and Jeter's “hit by pitch” and GMS patches and Steinbrenner monuments and Wade Boggs on a horse and Paul McCartney in a Yankees cap and “fat pussy toad” and “He'll look good in pinstripes”? You think Twins fans have forgotten 2009, 2008, 2004 and 2003, and Mariners fans have forgiven 2001 and 2000, and Rangers fans have forgiven 1999, 1998 and 1996, and Royals fans have forgiven 1978, 1977 and 1976, and Dodgers fans have forgiven 1978, 1977, 1956, 1953, 1952, 1949, 1947 and 1941?
You think our hatred knows bounds?
Looking forward to a little more of this in 2012.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard