Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Growing up in New York, I just rooted for the Yankees, unaware of the angry rivalries with other teams in the American League. I had admired the other teams. Kansas City used to have some awesome players -- George Brett, Willie Wilson and the Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky. And the Red Sox, of course. As a kid, I was a big fan of Carlton Fisk, Yaz, and still think Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame.

But once I got out in the world, I began to see how much everyone hated the Yanks. It was understandable to want to defeat the dynasty, but I was a bit taken aback if it got mean-spirited. Some people wouldn’t just root for their team, they’d pepper their praise with a nasty comparison to New York. And that kind of negativity breeds more negativity. But I try not to give in.

I try to simply enjoy knowing the Yankees are going to the playoffs again. And not relish the fact that even though they haven’t won a championship since 2000, each team that has won the World Series… where are they now? Struggling as an also-ran. Maybe their fans and team owners should stop griping about the Yanks’ inflated payroll, and try to put some money into their roster, too, so they won’t be a flash-in-the-pan each decade instead of being a contender every October…

No, no. Be nice, Mikey.

I’ll be starting my job next week, where I’ll see Gene, the Red Sox fan. Even though he laughed at Johnny Damon’s struggles early in the year, and taunted me when the Yanks fell a bit behind the Sox, I won’t remind him that Boston ended up around ten games out of the wild card race.

And Wilson, the lead editor, was even worse, gloating about his defending champion White Sox. You couldn’t even talk baseball to that guy. Sometimes I’d get him to stop bitching about unfair profit-sharing and how Steinbrenner is Satan. But then, instead of just bragging about the HRs and RBIs of Chicago’s Jim Thome or Jermaine Dye, he’d always point out how much better their stats were compared to the overpaid Jason Giambi or Alex Rodriguez. Still, I won’t mention to him that the Chisox were statistically elimated from postseason contention last night. Why rub it in?

I’m gonna be the bigger man here. Not gonna say a word about sports. Just show up to work with a warm smile on my face, and a new wool cap to keep me even warmer.


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