A Yankee fan and I have been going at it on Chuck lately. His contention is that he's a bigger fan of the game of baseball in general because he is a better sport about the Red Sox, i.e., if we had won the ALCS, he would have congratulated us instead of being angry like I was. I do have to admit he has a point.
But I don't care.
Plus, I think he's wrong about being a bigger fan of the game in general because he can afford, with 26 rings to his team's credit, to be gracious about a single hypothetical loss.
Baseball, I've realized over the last few weeks, is like religion or politics: it's all about where you grew up, how you were raised, and often, what your father believes. So if I was a New Yorker, yes, I'd probably be a Yankees fan (although I hope I'd like the Mets instead).
But I grew up near Boston. In Boston, the Red Sox truly are a religion. I'm not trying to say Yankees fans are less passionate, but there is a difference in Boston.
Still, the fact of the matter is, you don't have to be a Boston fan to hate the Yankees, though Boston fans hate them the most. MOST people outside that little insular island hate the Yankees. As I have said before, the Yankees are ruining baseball for the rest of the league--not just the Red sSx. 26 world series rings is enough, boys. It's getting old. It's getting boring. It doesn't mean anything anymore.
Maybe this random faceless entity among the many I encounter on the Internet daily would congratulate Boston on being a damn good team had they won the ALCS. But if I don't show the same sportsmanship, where he and I have an inherent disagreement is that I think it's for justifiable reasons. Let's face it--us losing to New York, before the Marlins' win last night, felt like essentially handing them another ring and Steinbrenner another few million. That grates on us here in Boston, whether it makes us poor sports or not.
It's not just jealousy, is what i'm saying. It's a love of the game--and a desire for more true competition and meaningful victory in baseball, instead of another Yankees win that's worth not much more than a yawn.
So I think who's a bigger fan of baseball is subject to debate.
I personally can't wait till Steinbrenner releases his death grip on baseball--I think everything will change. Or, rather, I hope things will change. Or perhaps the powers that be will impose a salary cap like there is in football, and even the playing field for everyone--and by everyone, despite my bias, I don't mean just the Red Sox. Maybe Steinbrenner will be struck by lightning and realize while in a Scrooge-like trance state what a bastard he's been. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. But whatever happens, the Yankees dynasty has to go. My hatred of that franchise may be irrational, it may be a little too personal, but it is purposeful.
"You'll notice" my online antagonist wrote today, "That I'm not going around saying the Marlins suck because they beat my team." And you'll notice I'm not going around saying they suck because they won the World Series I so desperately wanted my team to be a part of. I would have loved to see the Sox go all the way this year, but in the end I don't really care who wins the series, as long as it's not the Pinstripes...again.
Besides, I kind of like the Marlins. There's a Welsh soccer T-shirt that says "Around here we cheer for two teams: the Welsh and whoever's playing the English." A similar T-shirt for Boston baseball fans would be highly appropriate (and probably more classy than the "Yankees Suck" kind), and certainly fits the current attitude toward the Florida team around here. We wish it had been us, Boston is saying, But good for you.
Does that sound like bad sportsmanship? Not to me. It sounds like we simply hate the Yankees, individually, personally, as a franchise, and it also seems to me that we'll never apologize for that, no matter what kind of taunts are thrown at us--because what Yankees fans don't want to admit is that we have a point, and we have good reason.
I'm happy the Bronx Bums lost this Series, but it's not enough. It's time for the Evil Empire to fall altogether. Anyone who says otherwise--as I've said before, and will continue to say whether people like it or not--likes bullies, and doesn't really love the game itself.