Monday, February 12, 2007

Shooting From The Misguided Lip

In this article, Mike Lupica tells me how much I loved the late-90s Dunbar Dynasty:
[Joe Torre] made it harder for Yankee haters to hate them than at any time in the history of the franchise.

Ehhh...NO, Peg. Seeing the Yankees win the World Series, at any time, makes me hate them at the highest possible level. When it involves Roger Clemens celebrating that victory, or Wade Boggs riding around Yankee Stadium on a horse, and when it's the first time I had to deal with the millions of Yankee fans that were surrounding me at the time as "World Champion Yankee fans," (I was only 2 and 3 in '77 and '78) well, that breaks the tie for "most hated Yankee teams of my life." I wouldn't have cared if Mother fucking Theresa had been their manager.

You know what manager made the Yankees less evil to me? Dallas Green. Torre's teams have made me want to puke way more, and I'd say "simply because they won," but there's so much more!

Who cares how nice a guy the manager is? It's not like Steinbrenner wasn't there for those four championships. Mike Pagliarulo was from Mass and even used to wear a shirt with both the Red Sox and Yanks' championship years under his jersey. But Jesus, I wasn't rooting for him! He was on the Yankees! There are going to be "nice guys" in every walk of life, but it doesn't mean you change your opinion about who they work for. "Oh, well, one of the 19 hijackers was truly a nice guy. Seriously. So I have to say I felt a little bit--just a little bit--happy for those guys when they succeeded in their mission." No! Terrible job!

I've always said this about Joe Torre: Hearing him get interviewed, compared to most sports personalities, is a breath of fresh air. He talks like a normal person--casual and without cliches. (Although things like him saying "I'm not sure how injured Schilling really was [in Game 6 of the '04 ALCS]" seem to get swept under the rug.) And, sure, I feel bad that he grew up in an abusive situation--and still cringes at loud noises because of it. When I was little, god forbid a balloon was about to pop, or the opening scream of Electric Company was about to come on. But still! Root for the Yankees because of it? Are you serious? And speaking of that terror attack--no, I didn't even think of rooting for the Yankees in the '01 World Series. Why in the world would I have? That had nothing to do with baseball. The Red Sox fans who died in those attacks surely are waiting in the afterlife for any Sox fans who rooted for the Yankees that year so they can kick their asses on a white, fluffy cloud.

Very well said Jere.

Rudy Giuliani said shortly after 9/11 that we had to get back to living as normally as possible. So for me, that was hating the Yankees.

God bless Luis Gonzalez.
Great call on "getting back to normal." I gotta remember that one.

Right after I moved to NYC, Chan and I were walking up 2nd Ave, and a limo pulls up, Luis Gonzalez gets out and quickly runs into a restaurant, zipping two feet in front of our faces. I still regret not giving him a "thanks, buddy."
I respect Torre a great deal but there's nothing I like better than watching his eyes get all narrow and his expression all pissy when the Yankees are losing against the Sox.

And why would I hate the Yankees less under Torre"? Anyone managing the team is doing so in hopes that they win. Thus, they are still a team of Yankees set on making the Sox lose.
Good post. I am always annoyed at the low standards set for sports figures. "Oh really? He didn't say people should maim the players on the team he just helped defeat? How gracious..." And I am often perplexed by how they figure out "storylines" for these guys. Especially the "Jeter is a class act" one...with a few exceptions it is hard to find many player who are less nice than he is.

One thing though...comparing 9/11 hijackers to yankee coaches...a tad hyperbolic? I get the metaphor, but it is sort of a sledgehammer where a hammer would have worked equally well.
Thanks. I like to sledgehammer the point home, though. And I'm glad I thought of it because it brought me nicely into the next thought.
Ha! Fair enough, this site is at its best when uses the heavy construction equipment anyway.
I agree, the 9/11 analogy really made me cringe as well.
Torre does not make it harder to hate the Yankees; what he does do, though, is make it easier (on a scale that measures to the kajillionth of a point) to respect them. Did they use a 9/11-joke-sized sledgehammer of a payroll to cripple the will of everyone else in baseball? Yes, no question. But, there were a few guys on those teams, and I'm sure I'll get banned for saying this, that weren't entirely unlikable, apart from simply finishing in first place all the time. Brosius, Bernie, Cone, Tino, yes, God forbid, even Derek, at least those guys played the game hard, relatively fundamentally sound, and with a passion that made it easier to hate them, but also easier to like them, just one tiny fraction of a little bit. I guess I'm just less hard-hearted about things, but when three good friends of mine, Yanks fans all, lost family on 9/11, well, an infinitesimally small part of me was rooting for the Yankees to win, because you know what? It would have cheered those three people up, and they're my friends, and their happiness trumps a meaningless baseball rivalry any day. But yeah, other than that, Lupica's a dick.
But what if those people were Sox families?? Or what if some were Yankee people and some were Red Sox people? Or if one was a HUGE Diamondback fan family? That's why I'm saying that had nothing to do with baseball.

I had two Yankee fan friends die way too young during the 2004 season. End of story. No rooting for the Yanks necessary. They knew me and I knew them, and they would never expect me or want me to root for the Yankees.

David Cone--the bullpen masturbator? Likeable? Anyway, yeah, some guys are nice guys. Plenty of Yankee backups and players who never saw the playoffs and therefore never saw the national spotlight were probably totally awesome guys. For me, it doesn't change anything.

9/11 is something that I realize the magnitude of. I watched the whole thing that day on TV, and remember every second of it like it was this morning. I think about it every day, minimum. I've watched hundreds of hours of coverage of that from every possible source. In fact, last night after Ryan had commented, but before I read his comment, I was watching an old tape (which contained what would've gone up here last night if my YouTube account hadn't got suspended) from '03, which had the PBS documentary about NYC, specifically the 9/11 episode. And I watched, and said to myself, I still can't believe it. I can't believe everything really happened. I always try to get across to non NY-area people just how tall those buildings were. It's surreal that they just don't exist anymore. The absolute most incredible, amazing, horrifying day of my life, probably never to be topped.

But I'm not going to ignore it or pretend it never happened. I wasn't making a "joke" about it, just mentioning it in a way to show that rooting for something I'm completely against just doesn't happen, no matter what. This isn't a joke. Trotman, if an analogy involving a tragic event makes you cringe, just don't read my stuff, because I make those analogies sometimes. And if I did want to make a "joke" about 9/11, I'd do that, too. A sense of humor is an important thing. Maybe for some, baseball made it easier to deal with a tragedy. For a percentage way greater than that, it was laughter.

You know what makes me cringe? People selling flags and twin towers windshield decals and bumper stickers. Those people are making money off the dead. Doing exactly what people hate America for, and why they want to destroy it. Under the guise of "patriotism," note. I would never do something as disgusting as that.
"But what if those people were Sox families?? Or what if some were Yankee people and some were Red Sox people? Or if one was a HUGE Diamondback fan family? That's why I'm saying that had nothing to do with baseball."

What's your point? After it happened, a lot of people- including some Red Sox fans- felt like rooting for the Yankees to win would do a lot of good for the city. YOu didn't. Great.

It's hardly an indefensible idea though, and as I recall from the time, I wasn't really focused on the strength of my hatred for the Yankees at that time, so while I remember not caring who won that Series, I could see rooting for them, especially in a case like Matty's.

Also, I've met David Cone on about four occasions, and he is, without a doubt, one of the coolest, funniest, nicest guys I've ever met. I've always been a huge Coney fan. That game he pitched for us- against Mussina when he almost had a pefect game at Fenway- was all heart. He was awesome in that game, which gets forgotten for obvious reasons.
Hey, the Mets are in New York, too! So are a thousand minor league, high school, and little league teams of all sports! The media told everybody to root for the Yanks, and you fucking fell for it. And missed out on the now second greatest Yankee choke because of it. Seriously, did you root for the Mets the rest of that September? What about all the people who couldn't give a shit about sports who were suddenly told "Oh, well you feel better now because of these guys with bats and balls"? Let alone half of the city's baseball fans who fucking hate the Yankees.

I seriously can't see that whole thing as anything but media-driven. When you were watching the buildings collapse, were you thinking, "Oh my god, I really hope that when this is all over, one of the two New York professional baseball teams goes far and wins to make everything alright"? I can see saying, "If they win, and it makes a family of a victim feel better, fine." But to actually root for them? You have to be TALKED into that.

The ban is really going in effect now, Trotman, and you know what the official reason is? You just called David Cone "Coney."
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I gotta get some work done. So I put the moderation on. I love censorship and I don't support freedom of speech. Go Ivan Drago!
I had no problem WHATSOEVER rooting for the D-backs that year. I guess if the Yankees didn't already have 25 World Championships, the circumstances would have been a lot different.

It would be easier for me to pretend that the game of baseball doesn't exist than cheer for the Yankees at any given time.

Jere, you and I agree on the censorship thing! :-)

And the 9/11 issue. I don't think you wrote anything cringe-worthy.

I've been saying for a while the same things. There are Mets fans in New York, Red Sox fans died on September 11th...doesn't make what happened on 9/11 unimportant, but it never once made me want to root for New York either.

I cried tears of happiness when Luis Gonzalez hit that blooper. And if I ever saw him in person, he'd get a hug almost as big as Dave Roberts would from me!
I can't speak for all of the people affected on 9/11, whether they were baseball fans or not...had I actually known a Mets fan affected by the tragedy, then yeah, sure, go Mets, as well. Did 9/11 have anything to do w/ baseball? Of course not, except that, for those who still remember from time to time that sports can be a great escape and a hell of a lot of fun, baseball (or football or pee-wee soccer or whatever) was something that put a smile on the faces of some folks without much to smile about. Did it help everyone? Of course not. Did the Saints' success cure all the ills of New Orleans? No, but I'll bet it sure cheered up a hell of a lot of people. Nobody "told" people that they felt better because of baseball. Some people just did. Was a part of me happy when Luis G. blooped that ball into center? Hell yeah, but that wasn't as important as how happy the Yankees made my friends that October. Some things are bigger than baseball.

To say that some of us just "fell" for what the media "told us" is a fucking insult. You're not the only one with the ability to process what he sees and hears and to form his own unique opinions. Just because some of us hated the Yankees less than a rigid, pious zealot did does not mean we did so because the media told us to. Some of us, for whatever personal reasons we had, got swept up in a breeze that also carried people we didn't, and still don't, always agree with. It wasn't because we were told to, or because we're thoughtless automatons lacking the ability to think and speak for ourselves. It was because it made people we care deeply about happy. Perhaps from the high upon the mountaintop it's a little hard to understand that loving the friend of one's enemy is not the same as loving one's enemy. Especially when the friend of one's enemy is your friend as well.
Yankee fans die every day. So do fans of every other sports team. Sports can be bigger than life, but my personal hatred of the Yanks happens to be bigger than sports. Maybe that doesn't make sense.

I rooted for the Saints a little bit in the playoffs. But I wouldn't think the fan of whoever their rival is would root for them.

And I'm seriously not trying to be facetious when I say things like, "What if a person you were close to who died on 9/11 had written a note in their diary saying "I'm denouncing the Yankees. Rooting against them is the most important thing in my life." And then after you rooted for the Yanks, you discover the diary.

So would you root for the Colts if Indianapolis was attacked and you had a Colts fan friend who died there? Over the Pats in the AFC Championship? Or would you have rooted for the Yanks in 2001 in the ALCS had it been the Sox they were playing? Knowing that that plane came from Boston and was carrying Red Sox fans who died? And what if you knew one of those people?

My point about the media was that, as usual, they were telling us what we were all thinking, that "everyone's" a New Yorker and all that crap. (And I chose to live here afterward!) And worse, that we all love the Yanks. When some of us didn't. At all.
I believe that sloppy sentimentality is a pathetic way to avoid facing the truth. Perhaps the surgeon I know who lost his second home on Lake Ponchartrain during Katrina maybe felt a little boost in spirit when the Saints played well, but I bet the woman who had to put her kids on a plank in chest-deep water to safetly though it meant abandoning her grandmother who refused to leave and who would surely drown didn't give a flying fuck about the Saints.

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