It’s Just Fun To Root Against The Yankees

Why does this just feel so right?


by Alex “The Dors” Dorsky


When Jose Valverde punched out Alex Rodriguez Thursday night to send the Tigers to the ALCS and boot the Yankees to another disappointingly early exit, you could practically hear groans erupt out of the Big Apple and the cheers emanate from small markets all over the country. After all, the team with the $207+ million payroll failed to make it out of the first round! The vultures immediately set in and sports blogs began overflowing with “haters” piling on A-Rod and the Yankees in general.

Why so much vitriol?

At least Detroit gets something non-Eminem to cheer about

Maybe it is because the New York Yankees are arguably the most successful franchise in professional sports. With 27 World Series titles the Bronx Bombers easily outpace the St. Louis Cardinals and their 10 titles. In the NHL the Montreal Canadiens have won 23 Stanley Cups, but the Habs haven’t sniffed a title since 1993. The NBA has two equally big guns – the Celtics (17) and Lakers (16) –and the NFL has a roundtable filled by Steelers (6), 49ers (5), Cowboys (5), and Packers (4).

Personally, I’m neutral toward the Yankees – they are not a major rival of either of my favorite teams (Pirates/A’s) – and yet I have to admit I love to watch them lose. It’s basic human nature, there’s a great sense of schadenfreude when Goliath falls (as long as you’re not a fan or family member of Goliath, I suppose).

Every off-season the Yanks spend more money than any other team,  and love to throw inflated contracts at free agents like they’re Too-Big-To-Fail bailouts. Naturally, this type of spending leads to high expectations, so anything short of a World Series victory is considered a failure to those who care.

Since 1973 this storied franchise has been under the ownership of the Steinbrenners, the very definition of the term “blowhard.” George, and now Hank, had/have a penchant for speaking before thinking, hiring and firing (see Billy Martin et all) before thinking, and constantly interfering with day-to-day ball-club operations. This arrogance is easy to root against.

The Post has a way with words

And A-Rod is the icing on the cake. The highest paid player in the game was well liked in Seattle, tolerated in Texas, and is ridiculed in the Bronx. Sure, Yankee fans put up with him when he produces, but they’re quick to turn on him when he struggles. The fact that he’s the highest paid man in sports, and that he’s a Yank, means the rest of the country essentially jeers his every move. The negativity of his alleged PED use, widely publicized dating life, and invariable unfavorable comparisons to Derek Jeter far outweigh his positive contributions on the diamond. Again, very easy to root against.

So, once my teams are eliminated, my attention turns toward hoping the Yankees lose. I know its childish, but I see it more as respectful hope, if that makes any sense. The Yankees are, overall, a very classy organization. Excluding the Steinbrenner brusqueness (which is par for the course in NYC and therefore loved by fans) and A-Rod’s douchebaggery, the only thing this franchise is guilty of is trying its very hardest to win. They emphasize a team focus over individual achievement and expect their players to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner on and off the field.

That the Yankees spend more money than other teams doesn’t make them cheaters (as many people who post comments below online articles claim). In my book, it just makes it more fun when they go down in flames. The team is just playing the cards it has been dealt.

NFL vs. MLB primer: There is a HUGE disparity in the way the NFL and the MLB divide their loot. Of course there are many differences, but by far the most important is how TV money is split. The NFL negotiates as a league with the broadcasters and splits its revenue equally between all 32 teams, essentially creating the opportunity for parity. However, MLB allows teams to individually negotiate their own regular-season television contracts.

Not only do the Bronx Bombers have the advantage of simply being in the largest market, but they own more than a third of the YES Network, which broadcasts Yankee games and reportedly earned revenues of $417 million in 2009 alone. With this financial backing, the Yankees would be foolish NOT to spend the money they do.

The wrath of NY doesn't feel so good. Just ask the Green Goblin or Al Qaeda

An argument can even be made that they should actually spend more. Sure, there is a “luxury tax” that penalizes teams who spend above that year’s floating threshold, but the extra financial benefits of making the postseason are likely enough to offset any additional salaries or luxury tax.

What’s also particularly loathsome about the Yankees is that their fans are generally knowledgeable, dedicated fans. They’ll heckle opposing teams but will also boo their own players who lack effort or fail in the clutch. New Yorkers embrace winners fiercely, and don’t have time for losers.

Their team has a great pedigree and they expect to add to it every year.

Not sure if you noticed, but my Pittsburgh team doesn’t exactly reward me with the same commitment I give them.

I’m jealous, ok? Why couldn’t I be born in NY or just hop on the bandwagon like the others?

That’s why I like to root against the Yankees. If I can’t be the bully, I’m surely going to be the one to poke ’em in the belly…

Was this the original Moneyball poster?