Sunday, May 26, 2013

Those Damn Yankees

How do the Yankees do it? Seriously, year after year the seemingly ageless New York Yankees continue to be at the top of the division. This year has been the worst of it. The lineup is essentially spare parts and Robinson Cano. Lyle Overbay routinely bats clean-up. The rusted behemoth Travis Hafner sits behind him and then it is a collection of backups and stopgaps as the normal travelling all-stars nurse various and sundry injuries. This was supposed to be the year that the Yankees’ age and dollars catch up to them. It was not a n uncommon belief to think that the Yankees might even finish at the bottom of the AL East. And, yet again, here we all are looking at the Yankees with 30 wins before June.

As a Baltimore fan watching the Yankees do this year after year causes me a special kind of pain. My first game of the year was the contest against the Yankees this past Monday. I was given a remarkable ticket by a colleague of mine. Sitting in section 42, which is a grandly significant number for those of us who always know where our towel is at, I noticed immediately that I was, of course, surrounded by fans of the hated pinstripes.

Maybe it is something about the uniform that makes the Yankees just be. I know that there are only a few things that I see that cause me such a visceral reaction of disgust: seeing those symbols elicits a physical reaction of dread and revulsion. The point of that little meander is this: the Yankee uniform carries with it the game’s greatest histories and the souls of its greatest players. The interlocking NY, as much as it makes me want to wretch every time I see it, carries with it a certain power. And the players know that. How else do you explain a guy like Vernon Wells?

Wells was left for dead in Los Angeles. He comes to New York and suddenly he is playing like he did five years ago. Same can be said for Hafner. Or how about players like Francisco Cervelli, who should never be as good as he is, or Lance Nyx, or Melky Cabrera for that matter? Players that on any other team you know would be also-rans and benchwarmers come to New York, are thrust into the spotlight while wearing that uniform and they suddenly succeed.  I know for a fact that I am not the only non-Yankee fan in the world that is repulsed by the sight of the team when they come to town. And the team knows it to, I am sure the hatred fuels this team on some level. Why else would they be called the Evil Empire?

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