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October 26, 2009

Go Yankees

The Yankees are in the World Series for the first time in six years. I have mentioned before how difficult it should be for me to root for the Yankees since it’s sort of like being in high school and cheering for the most popular kids to become more popular. And yet, I cannot help myself.

As a New Yorker, every fiber on my being wants to be a Mets fan. I want to love them because they are New York’s perennial scrappy underdogs, the misfits who can never seem to catch a break. I want to love them the way I would a crippled kid. But I can’t. Because they suck. And when I am honest with myself, I find it impossible to throw my lot in with a sucky sports team. I prefer winners, which I suspect is yet another deep and horrible character flaw.

I mean, what’s the point of rooting for something that’s preordained? The Yankees are obviously going to win. Maybe not every year, but often enough that being their fan seems pointless; it’s like praying for Kanye West to do something stupid. We already know its going to happen so why waste time and energy hoping for it?

Sure, it’s fun to back a winner. But aren’t sports supposed to teach us lessons that extend beyond the fleeting satisfaction of winning a stupid game? Isn’t it ultimately more satisfying, more enriching, to adopt the broke-down, the wheezing, the flailing and the buffoonish? To stick with a team through its lean years, to cry with them when they inevitably self-destruct, to mutter black thoughts about into your beer after another disappointing season? To proclaim to the world that they may be bums, but they’re your bums? Isn’t that what dedication to a sports team is all about? In a word, no.

No, losing sucks. Losing is bad enough when it happens to you on a daily basis through circumstances of which you have little to no control: the car dies, you get fired for being “inebriated,” etc. These are things that happen out of the blue. But when you root for a sports team that you know is terrible, that you know is going to disappoint you, that you know is going to find a way to screw up the sure thing, and leave you with a keen desire to strangle/stab/asphyxiate each individual member of said team, then you have nobody to blame but yourself. What good comes from being a Baltimore Orioles fan? A Cincinnati Reds fan? A Pittsburgh Pirates fan? You enter the season knowing your team doesn’t stand a chance and leave the season knowing the next season will be no better. Where is the joy? The relationship is totally one-sided. You give them your heart. They give you nothing but pain and suffering and then skip town. It’s like being in a relationship with Charlie Sheen.

With the Yankees, I know what I’m going to get. Winners. Over-priced, corporatized, mechanized winners. Winning machines. Guys who wake up winning, win all day long, and then go to bed still winning. They win at sleeping, these Yankees. They win at everything they do. They even take longer, stinkier shits than everybody else. Then they sell them as collectibles that only rise in value over time. They win because that’s what they were made to do. Each individual Yankee was poured from the same molds used by the Franklin Mint, the highest standard of quality on earth.

I understand why people hate winners. I hate winners. But I love the Yankees. Because, for me, the Yankees aren’t just a team. They are an aspiration. Whereas a lot of baseball teams represent the daily struggles and shortcomings of their cities and their fans, the Yankees represent something different; they represent possibility, the aura of doing something well year in and year out. The represent the majestic. Sure, that’s easy to resent, but it’s far easier to resent than to achieve. When kids dream, they dream of being baseball players. When baseball teams dream, they dream of being the Yankees.

In every other aspect of my life, I will continue to identify with the misfits and losers. As people they are more interesting and fun to hang out with. I mean, I love Derek Jeter, but I wouldn’t choose him as my Scattergories partner, the stiff. But I have one small place in my life where I am the guy with the brightest teeth. That place is my love for the Yankees. May they destroy those scrappy, fucking underdog Phillies.

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Darren

I once asked a high school teacher of mine, "How could you be Yankees fan? All they do is win. You can't appreciate success, until you experience failure." And that's why I didn't start college until I was 20. Mets 2010!

cass

goddammit! i'll admit--i laughed, i cried, it was better than cats... but i can't stick with you on this one! sorry michael, GO PHILLS!

Reen

Hot dog, that's a hot blog! You make me giggle and snort and tear up.

I left baseball up to my older brother
& Dad. One liked the Cubs, the other the Sox, but I liked them both equally because I can't make up my mind about anything. I also strive for peace in the world. Besides, everyone knows that baseball is for boys. Only the cheering part and the shorty shorty skirts are for girls (who don't care about showing their undies)!

My Beatles are your Yankees. The Yankees are your "sure thing". (John Cusack only wishes for that sure thing)

A person should be allowed to worship a well oiled machine.

!!! Seems kind of... !!!!! Doesn't it? !!!!!!

John

Yeah? I'm a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. So.......

Kelly Hagg

I agree with the philosophy here even as a small Beantown tear makes its way down my cheek. . It's actually why I root for Kanye West as the high priest of baffoonery...day in day out...perfect baffoonery - worth rooting for. I think there is some sublime to be found in rooting for the ultimate baffoons or ultimate losers...it brings you closer to the guy sitting in the bleachers next to you, "Goddamn, we are going to lose this thing but let's share a few headbutts in the process and yack on each others shoes". Camaraderie has value and martyrdom can be sublimely rewarding.

thecitychicken

Almost done reading "My Custom Van." My fave essay so far? The one about the Socratic method proving what it would take for you to eat dog poop for the rest of your life. It was the best love letter to a wife I could ever imagine!

MB

Go Yankees! We're gonna sweep the Phils. Hey MIB, great minds think alike. I don't mean me. Someone else with a better mind besides mine that also loves the Yankees.

E.A.

God Bless America!! Staaaaaand beside herrrrrr....and guide herrrrrr....through the duhh with the duhhhh and the duhhhhhh..

Kat

Hi Michael
It's good to read another Great blog from you again. I look forward to your blogs... honesty I do. Though your 'sports/yankees blog was interesting,to be 'Frank' with you (though my name is kat) I don't really like sports. Unless I'm playing it or sitting in a room with a bunch of guys & girls who know how to party and have a fun time.. that would be appealing. But, talking about this subject..'Teach me'?
lol

A

Your last few posts have made me love you and identify with you more than I could ever imagine. You really are fantastic.

The Naked Redhead

Is baseball always on in October?

Michele

Oh Michael, Michael. Why are the Phillies "scrappy"?, because they don't have Arod or Jeter? They're still the reinging champs whether you like it or not. They proved themselves again to be the best team in the NL. They took 2 out of 3 games from them earlier in the season, in New York. The Phils clinched last week while the Yanks couldn't close until a couple days ago. The Phils have the edge here dude.

Camille

I can't even pretend to care about baseball but I still enjoyed the blog. No pressure, but were you going to get around to “How to Laser Etch the Statue of Liberty Into Your Pubes,” soon? I have a date this weekend and he IS a big NY fan.

Oh wow, I feel really,really dirty now.

always home and uncool

But you'd take whatever hot piece Jeter was dating as a Scattagories partner, right?

Reen

Wow Cam. You ok? You have a swine flu of a fever? Ha! More like a lovey bug.

Hey Cam! Guess what? Www.overthetop just called. They want their editor back!

(Aw yeah. Uh-huh.)

Camille

Thish iz Cameel's kat. Sorry, sotymes cannt hep mysef. Iz in heet.

Hannah N

Can;t wait to see you tomorrow nite! Drove five hours to see you and showalter!

Donkey Jaw-Bone

The Phils managed to beat a bumbling bunch of idiots whose ability to make it to the NLCS was based almost solely on the success of "The White Towel" confusion and the Yanks took ONE game more to beat an actual team so the Phils have the upper hand?? Hmmm....

Anyway, good post I guess Michael. Although, I have been waiting for you to make this blog candy corn flavored and YOU HAVE YET TO DELIVER. Thusly, you suck. |. You can't tell because it wasn't very well thought out, but that's a middle finger to you.

lawrence

The Yankees are a collection of white jerks. Look at their players- Derek Jeter- oh he's black, kinda. Then there's A-Rod, he's so Dominican that in 2006 the Dominican Republic refused to let him represent their nation in the WBC. Liar, liar pants on fire.

Who are you kidding Michael,the fightin's are the team to cheer on. Shane Victorino is the crazy balls to the wall guy and he's from Hawaii. Jimmy Rollins is from Okland, he's the new Rickey Henderson.
and Ryan Howard, look at him- he looks like he black incarnate of Babe Ruth. Are you really gonna root against "the Black Babe" Michael Black? For what? For a bunch of dumb-ass, stupid, white steroid taking jocks that would still beat the shit out of you today if they could get away with it?
Seriously - Grow up and accept it- The Phillies rule.

ram

These are good moments for all the fans and the team of Yankees.I wish that they win this series.

kat

Michael what are you going to be for holloween?

voter

Go Purple Kangaroo!!!

Michele

How are the Phillies the underdogs? Michael, I love you, but if you actually watched baseball and compared the 2 teams, they're actually pretty evenly matched. And plenty of commentators have pointed that out. Also, the Phillies are the reigning champions, so doesn't that make the OTHER team the underdog? And why was your Philly show postponed???!

Bella

I get confused about sports, but I hope that "The World Series" involves some sort of mathematical infinite sequential shuffleboard competition between all of the world's nations.

Katelyn

Ha! Phils are winning this one baby!!!! Yanks can keep dreaming. You should go with the first feeling you had.... forget the Yanks!

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