Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What's Done Is Dunbar

A comment I got today:

"As a yankee fan i check out your blog from time to time to see your take on what's going on in redsox nation because i respect your knowledge of the sox. Unfortunately, you talk about the yanks 60% of the time. Get a life and worry about the team you love. It is pathetic that you live vicariously through your hatred of the yanks rather than your love of the sox. i love the yanks and have for 24 years, and i'm not one of those yankee fans you talk about all the time. i spent the 1980's in little league loving a team that sucked. That's ok though the yanks give me as much joy as they do you misery."

First, I'd like to thank this particular anonymous commenter for using, for the most part, proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling, and for refraining from use of exclamation points and caps. And I'm glad that he or she doesn't consider him- or herself a "bad" yankee fan.

I know I don't need to explain myself. But I want to. Even if I am repeating myself. It is a somewhat unique situation, and maybe explaining it will help some of my new readers understand where I'm coming from.

Upon exiting the womb, I was immediately taught to love the Red Sox and hate the yankees. (Note, the Mr. Dunbar nickname won't be used in this post, for purposes of clarity. It will start up again in the next post.) Growing up in bottom-left Connecticut, though, it was hard to follow my favorite team. Had the Sox not been such an important part of both sides of my family's history, I may have taken the easy way out, and become a yankee fan. That way, I could have seen my team on TV every night, and as a bonus, bragged about all those championships. But it really had nothing to do with any of that. I was a Red Sox fan and I was going to have to deal with it.

I watched the yankees growing up. Every night, they played against my "other" favorite team. It was fun to root against them, just like it is now. We'd get an occasional Red Sox game, on Channel 30, which would pick up Channel 38's telecasts on Fridays and Sundays. Outside of those, the Game of the Week, and the rare post-season appearance, the only times I saw the Red Sox were when I went to a game, or when they played the yanks.

So I've always paid close attention to the yankees. But I assure you, every time they were on our TV, we had the Red Sox on 1080 WTIC-AM radio out of Hartford at the same time.

Most all my friends were yankee fans. Basically any kid in my elementary school picked the yanks, regardless of whether they knew anything about baseball. (Except for that Mets craze in '86.) Then, as I got older, and people actually did know the game, there was Mike, Jim, Jon, Chris, Gumby, our friend Chan, all yankee fans, and me and Pat, the only actual true Red Sox fans in the entire high school.

I took a lot of crap. Most of the time from people who couldn't pick Mickey Mantle out of a lineup consisting of three Chinese women and Mickey Mantle, let alone tell the difference between Don Mattingly and Don Slaught.

You see, part of our hatred of the yankees comes from the people who latch onto them, instantaneously changing themselves from "some dude" into "a champion." And a "classy" one at that. If you are currently a yankee fan for any other reason than that, I tip my cap to you, as I do to my dear friends. Except for Gumby, who just started liking them in '96. And Jon, who's a Twins fan when the yanks aren't winning. And Chris, who just couldn't bear to be on the wrong side of four championships in five years. See where I'm going with this? It's hard to find a yankee fan who isn't just somebody who happened to be a yankee fan all along.

I hand it to you, too, if you're a yankee fan who lived through the eighties, like our commenter, but seriously, come on. You know you always had the history to fall back on. And the Mets. (Also note that during the 80s the yanks had a better record than any other team in the league. Some drought.)

If your team hadn't won in decades, and you lived in the area of your team's rival, who beat you over and over again through the years, in heart-wrenching fashion, or even if you lived in your own team's city, for that matter, wouldn't you unashamedly "hate" your rival? I don't understand what's wrong with this. Don't tell me how much I should care about which teams. If I want to be a San Diego Padres fan and write about how much I hate the old Seattle Pilots, 60, or even 100 per cent of the time, that's my right and if you don't like it, just don't read it. Or, tell me why you wouldn't do that, but not why I shouldn't. How would you like if I told you that you shouldn't root for a team that has an unfair advantage over all the other teams since their payroll is astronomical?

I've just always lived near New York, now living directly in it, by choice. So the yanks have always been rather unavoidable.

I know there are Red Sox fans, too, who think I worry about the yanks too much.* Again, this is their opinion and I'm not going to suddenly change because A. I can't; and B. I wouldn't want to if I could.

But especially now, I don't see how we couldn't think about the yanks. This is the team that we fight with from the offseason through the fall every year. It's a well-known fact that the two front offices base much of their moves on the other's. Of course I, as a die-hard Red Sox fan, am going to keep tabs on the team that my team is constantly battling. I promise you, if the pennant race comes down to the Red Sox and Orioles this season, I'll be talking a lot about the Orioles.

But I also promise you that regardless of where the yankees are in the standings, I'll still talk smack about them because I hate them and I am really, really proud of that. Hating the yankees is the finest thing a person can do, I think. You know, sports-wise. Along with hating Notre Dame, and any other team with a thousand championships and a faux-classy past.

It's like heroin. I could take heroin, and all my problems would magically disappear. Or I could face those problems. I choose B. (Old English-style.) Mr. Dunbar: Opiate of them asses. (You didn't really think I could leave ol' Dunbag out of this, did you?)

Another thing I've noticed is that a lot of yankee fans don't realize that everybody else hates their team. I mean, there's a play called "Damn Yankees" for god's sake. I remember going to Wrigley Field while on vacation in Chicago with my friend Mike, the lifelong yankee fan. We were on the el platform, when a Cubs fan gave Mike shit about his yanks jersey. Mike turned to the rest of us and said, "What does he care about the yanks? There's no rivalry there." My eyes rolled. "Dude, if you're not a yankee fan, you hate the yankees."

All of this is why I just want to say to the commenter, "You just don't get it."

Which would have been much shorter.

Finally, his last line shows the fact that yankee fans truly have erased 2004 from their memories. This line: "That's ok though the yanks give me as much joy as they do you misery." What? This was a comment on a post where I talked about how happy I am that yanks haven't won in five years. There was misery, but there isn't right now. I'm psyched about my team this year, and confident that the yanks will not win it all for a sixth consecutive year.

Hope this helped.

*I'm still confused about the whole anti-"yankees suck" movement. Bostondirtdogs and other Boston media-types feel we should "show some class" and not chant this. Let me get this straight: Between getting wasted off the ten beers we just guzzled, annoying everyone around us in the process, and yelling lewd comments about the boobs of every female that walks by, Red Sox fans should not show how much we don't like the rival team? Because that wouldn't be classy? Is that correct?

It took me about 9 hours to read, but it was well worth it. Good job defending our right.
Red Sox fans will continue to hate the Yankees and everything associated with them, and Yankees fans will continue to taunt Red Sox fans with anything they can. It's what makes the rivalry what it is, because the players really don't give a damn.
Oh yeah, and someone tell ol' purple lips to leave his purse in the dugout from now on.
I appreciate your long response. I wasn't aware of your history w/ the sox and your family. My paternal grandfather was a son of irish immigrants who was born in Hell's Kitchen in 1909. My maternal grandfather was a 3 year old italian immigrant who came here in 1918. As boys they loved the yanks. Combs, Gehrig, Lazzeiri, and Ruth were their heroes. This love was passed on to my father, uncles, cousins and eventually to me. So yes, I fell back on the history. When I witnessed the '96 win it was special, just as the '04 win was to you. But that is where our experience differs. I'm sorry the sox have been on the losing end of most of this rivalry, but that is the way history made it. History also gave yankee fans their first taste of real pain since Bill Mazeroski made the Mick cry. I told every sox fan I knew congrats when the 2004 sox whipped us beyond belief. But now history moves on. Johnny D was always feared by me as a yankee fan because he is a fierce competitor. So for all the "noodle arm", "in decline",and "he's not that good of a lead off hitter anyway" sour grapes shit of a lot sox fans spout, it is bogus, because they are all forgetting what really made him good. So let the the 2006 season start. We'll see what happens. Just know this is not coming from some bandwagoner, piece of shit, "I live in Manhattan so I guess I'll root for the yanks" fan. Pinstripe pride is in my blood. I still respect the tradition of the rivalry. That's why I have large framed picture of Ted Williams and Dimaggio standing together above my fireplace. To remind me of history.... and to remind me of who had the rings of the two and who did not. The sox have a lot of work to do, may the best team win. -Tim
It still isn't clear to me how posting comments on a blog you don't like is less "get a life"-worthy than actually writing the blog in question. I have always considered ARSFIPT simply a unique perspective on the sox, from someone on field reconnaissance behind enemy lines. It isn't like you're pretending to be something you're not; sox-yanks fan interaction in NY is a big part of your schtick. Not to mention the general suckiness and arrogance of the NY fan base when veiwed at close range. Well done.
Except for the RI=Question Mark thing...
Man, I love the Seattle Pilots. What'd they give the world in their one year of existance? A new high water mark in hideous uniforms and Jim Bouton's failed comeback attempt, which led to his first book and the amphetamines scandal and congressional hearings.
I mean, sure, their miserable losing season made them cheap enough that Selig could buy a baseball team and move them to Milwaukee, but I really don't hold that against the team.
Jere, believe it or not, I got my links up, with the help from my nephew, who I am now convinced posseses super speed as he was whipping around the keyboard. And were you able to reach Reb by email? Thanks.
Thought your readers might like my poem on the subject: "My Prayer Goes Out to the Red Sox Fan". Good post!!
And when a pic of Chan is taken, I see that his image DOES show up in the end. That's good to know.
What amazes me is just how many NY Yankees Cap-Posers, have dared to make the trip to The Bronx? They wouldn't know the difference between Yogi Berra & Yogurt.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States