Originally published at www.uwritesports.com by Ron Sen (6-21-2004)
Spankees and Our GangHow much do I hate the Yankees? I’ve already violated my first rule, i.e., I shall always refer to them as the ‘hated Yankees.’ Hating the hated Yankees doesn’t obsess me. I detest okra, artichoke (artichoke ‘ya), and have negative feelings about Egg foo yung, ABC (American Born Chinese) heritage or not.
Yes, I’ve sat in the bleachers at the House That Ruth Built, without the smallest desire to join the legions of New Yawkers celebrating the laundry adorned by NY.Among the greatest hated Yankees ever, yea the greatest ballplayers ever, I recognize Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, Berra, Ford, Rivera, and others. The apotheosis of the Murcers, Munsons, Kubeks, and Richardsons I can’t accept. Hated Yankee devotees fawn over memories of ‘Donnie Baseball.’ Mattingly had the textbook swing and the golden glove, but his career stands as much for playing with injuries as it does for his accomplishments. Mattingly to Cooperstown? As a paying customer, yes, as an enshrined member, no.
Last season, Alfonso Soriano epitomized the ‘Pride of the Yankees.’ Soriano, a terrific young all-star, blessed with speed and power. Enter A-Rod, surely at the top of his game. Exit Soriano, who needs him, he’s got holes, isn’t a great defender, strikes out too much.
Not just on the field, the hated Yankee mystique extends into the broadcast booth, where more Homers reside than on the Simpsons. “Yankeeeees, win, Yankeeee win!” trumpet the hated Yankee broadcast crew, surely replacing syrup of ipecac as the most powerful emetic agents in Red Sox Nation.
On the field, the Bombers reportedly have a bunch of ‘great guys.’ Paul O’Neill, my second favorite. O’Neill played in nineteen postseason series, for five Series champs, batted .288 for his career, homered 281 times, and holds the major league records for water coolers dismembered and objections to third strike calls. He fanned legitimately on called third strikes fewer times than Rick Barry committed fouls during his entire NBA career, which excepting technicals, was none.
The hated Yankees have ‘ruined my summahs’ all too many times. I can’t recall exactly when the suffering began, but the lowlights burn in our corporate memory far brighter than any evanescent comets streak upon the heavens. The collapse of 1978 and late-season revival allowed the nefarious New Yorkers the chance to inflict maximal damage via Banjo Bat Bucky Dent. 1978 paled in comparison to last season’s Apple Pan Grady when the Sox skipper turned Chicken Little in allowing Pedro Martinez too much roasting time in the eighth inning. Aaron Boone’s dramatic game-winning homer did allow us a measure of ‘schadenfreude’ after all, however, when the Marlins trumped the hated Yanks in the Series.
1918. The number that Spankee fans tattoo on their ample backsides or foreheads, next to the ‘666’. More than a number, 1918 represents the tradition, the obligation, and literally the psychopathology of despising the hated Yankees. Peter Gammons’ father allegedly promised on his deathbed a series victory for Our Gang in our lifetimes. I gotta go take my vitamins.