As a young kid growing up in the Bronx, a lot of people find it strange that I am a New York Mets fan. I even joke with people that I moved to Queens because the Bronx didn’t want me anymore, as a result of my traitorous ways. And even as the Mets continue to struggle and don’t win one ring after another, Yankee fans are even more perplexed on why I haven’t followed them to the dark side. But with each Mets struggle, I continue to stand behind my team, while smiling at every recent mention of a Yankee player going down to injury. Sounds kind of heartless, but I think the Yankees and their fans deserve every bit of my hatred. Here’s why:
1. The Yankees don’t even care about New York and many Yankee fans don’t care about the Bronx. Yankee fans tout their New York pride whenever their team wins a World Series, but the Yankees could never care less about where they played, as long as they won those precious rings. Whenever George Steinbrenner felt he wasn’t getting what he wanted, he would threaten to take his team elsewhere – whether it was Florida or New Jersey – and he only stuck around when he was promised a new stadium, a great deal of which was paid with our taxpayer money. Do the Yankees then go out and spend money in the Bronx? Do they swing by the local stores and give back to the borough that calls them home? Nope. An idea to build a hotel in the Bronx was shot down when it was realized that none of the Yankees would even think of sticking around in the borough that welcomes them with open arms. Yankee fans are just as guilty. Many of them would never step foot into the Bronx, unless it was to watch their beloved team win. They mock the borough and the stigma attached to it and then go wild for the Bronx Bombers. Those people don’t deserve their season tickets.
2. The Yankees buy championships. Fans hate when you bring this up and it’s because there is a slight truth to it. Just like the Miami Heat went out and bought an NBA Championship, when it comes to winning games, the Yankees are not about strategy at all. They would rather throw money out there and sign the biggest names in baseball and hope that is enough to win a title. In baseball, it usually is, because chemistry is not always a factor on the diamond. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have to work together on the court, but whether or not the center fielder and third baseman like one another has little impact on a game that awards individual achievements more than team play. Whenever there is a free agent, Yankee fans are shocked if their team doesn’t snatch them up. They have been conditioned that way. The Yankees literally saw a bad economy as an opportunity to go shopping. When the Mets won in 1986, they put together a real team of scrappy players who went out and got the job done. The Yankees wouldn’t really know anything about that. My real question is – Would they have won so many World Series rings in recent years if there was a salary cap?
3. The Yankees spend money at our expense. How many Bronx residents get to see the Yankees play at the stadium each year? How many had good seats to the game? How many will be able to afford good seats to next year’s games? The Yankees are located in the Bronx, but they do nothing to meet the demands of Bronx residents who may want to catch the action and enjoy the game with their family. Tickets are overpriced. They pass the cost of signing the next big star on to the fans. It’s kind of disgusting, but for a team that would rather play in Florida, I guess it doesn’t matter if a Bronxite gets to come to Yankee Stadium and watch the game.
4. The Yankees forgot money doesn’t always win championships. Before A-Rod, I really enjoyed the Yankees. In 1996, when they had three ex-Mets help them win a championship, I cheered the Yankees. You had such an amazing team – Joe Girardi, Paul O’Neil, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jay Leyritz, Scott Brosius, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, David Cone, Charlie Hayes, Mariano Rivera and others like them. These were scrappy players who fit together so well, they were fun to watch and literally reminded me of the 1986 Mets. They weren’t overpaid. It was definitely not the team of All-Stars that the Yankees are now. These were guys who gutted it out and made the 1996 World Series one of the most exciting championships I have seen since the 1986 World Series. That’s the Yankee team I enjoyed rooting for. What the Yankees have become is a slap in the face to the notion that you can’t buy happiness; that money isn’t everything; that hard work pays off.
5. The Yankees are cheaters. What do Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and Jose Canseco have in common? They are three of the highest profile users of performance enhancement drugs and they all played for the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers don’t care how you win, just as long as you do win. In the case of Alex Rodriguez, he didn’t even need performance enhancing drugs to be a cheater. From shouting out “Boo!” to get a player to drop a pop up or trying to knock a ball out of a player’s hand as the Yankees self destructed many years ago against the Boston Red Sox, A-Rod is a cheater and a poster boy for what it means to be a New York Yankee. Throw bats at players, inject needles into your body – if that’s how you want to play the game, so be it, but I don’t have to cheer for you.
6. The Yankees don’t have any loyalty. When they got rid of one of the greatest managers to ever don a Yankee uniform, it signified that the Bronx Bombers didn’t care about their players or their managers. They want to win at all costs. Torre led them to something like 11 straight playoffs and 4 World Series rings. He didn’t win a World Series since 2000 and so they got rid of him. They went on to win a World Series with Joe Girardi as manager, but not before buying every major contract up to ensure their new manager would win and the Joe Torre situation would go away. The fact that the Yankees wanted to diminish the legacy of Joe Torre in the manner they did, just shows the character of the team. And if that isn’t enough, look at what they wanted to do to Derek Jeter. They didn’t want to sign him for too much money, because they wanted to use that money on new players they could pilfer from other teams. Jeter, the one Yankee I respect, deserved a bigger contract. He had been a loyal player and had led his team to victory for so many years and the Yankees acted like he was an aging horse they were considering putting to sleep. The worst thing is, it played out in the media, and the Yankees had little choice, but to sign the beloved shortstop. He went on to get his 3,000th career hit and the Yankees celebrated as if the whole contract issue never happened. Typical.
7. The Yankees are cheaters – Part II. And audit by the New York City Comptroller, a few years ago, found that The Yankees owed New York more than $11 Million. They buy players, but need to be reminded to pay their taxes. they even tried to negotiate that fee. A team that makes that much money doesn’t need to negotiate their debt away. Just pay what you owe. Consider New York, itself, a star player you covet and drop millions on them.
8. Yankee fans are so obnoxious Part I – Got Rings?! This is the cry of the Yankees – what they use to mock others who do not agree with their belief that the Yankees are the best team in baseball. The Yankees are the only team I know that would put out a Got Rings shirt. The Montreal Canadians don’t have a Got Cups shirt, as far as I know. But what really boggles my mind is how these Yankee fans feel they have won 27 World Championships. Half these people are younger than me and I am only 36. How can a 25 year old tout 27 World Championships when they were around for only 5 of them? Yankee fans live in a past that they weren’t even alive to see.
9. Yankee fans are so obnoxious Part II – Bandwagon jumpers. They joined the bandwagon the day they were born. They chose the Yankees because they had 22 World Championships. If the Mets had 22 World Championships in 1976, those same Yankee fans would have been Mets fans. Funny enough, Yankee fans push this 27 World Championships on Met fans when the Mets were not even around until 1962 and had no chance to win that many titles. Yankees live off their legacy, which allows them to be a better team than the Mets. Had they been created at the same time, you could make a comparison, but there are too many factors involved to even do so. The Yankees were created first and had players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and so many others. Players want to play for the team with the legends. The Yankees also had time to build up the war chest they use to pay for the talent they have. The Mets do not have that luxury. It’s ridiculous to compare, but Yankee fans are smug, obnoxious, self-absorbed people…and so that’s what they do.
10. The Yankees’ roots are not even in New York. Yankee fans do not even know their own history. They cheer the Yankees and remember to say “Got Rings” whenever they are confronted with a legitimate argument that the Yankees don’t deserve our applause, but did you know the New York Yankees were once known as the New York Highlanders and prior to that, they were known as The Baltimore Orioles. Yep, the Yankees were originally a team from Baltimore. I’d rather root for the a team whose roots are true to New York. You can keep shouting #27. I’m happy with the 2 World Titles the Mets won. A good underdog, blue-collar team worth cheering. And they were born in New York. Go Mets!!!