Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Yankees are Un-American?

"I went off for like twenty minutes! It was amazing! I totally popped...I talked for like twenty minutes about how the traffic system sucks, and that we should only have yellow lights, because then we could be very cautious, but not get stuck in traffic."
-Mac (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, October 4, 2007)

I haven't reflected upon the closing of Yankee stadium, and honestly, did not intend too. I did not get the opportunity to take in a game at The House that Ruth Built, nor do I feel specifically disappointed that I did not. While I am certain the atmosphere at a perpetually sold out ballpark of 50,000+ is a pleasure. October electricity in May and June is something I know little about.

Allegedly the ballpark's early 70's facelift changed it from a ballpark to a stadium, and unlike historic Wrigley and Fenway park, was reconstructed to suit the desires of the fan at that time. Since then, many ballparks have been built, and essentially each one of them have strayed from this and reverted to the 'traditional' ballpark feel. Pilot Field (now Dunn Tire Park in Buffalo) was the first of this transition, with Camden Yards being the first big league ballpark to turn back the clock. Having taken in ballgames in Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, and Boston, as well as in Toronto, my desire to sit in a 'stadium' has diminished.

However, that did not stop me from watching a historic moment in Major League Baseball history. Despite the Yankees and the 'Evil Empire' stigma, I sat down and watched parts of the Sunday Night telecast. I did not mind that ESPN made it sound as if baseball was coming to an end. I did not think twice about the curtain call that Yankee Captain Derek Jeter received while being pulled out in the ninth inning. I thought it was perfect that a catcher hit the final home run, just like at the Polo Grounds. Mariano Rivera throwing the last pitch was absolutely fitting.

None of those moments 'moved' me. Not once during the game did I think that baseball in New York would never be the same. Quite the contrary. This game reminded me of the continuity of baseball, unlike other sports. While Yankee Stadium will be taken down, the New Yankee Stadium will continue to capture historic moments of baseballs most storied franchise. A franchise, that loves and needs to win-apparently there is something wrong with that?

One of SportsBlog Nation's websites Let's Go Tribe has one of the most pathetically hilarious 'blog' entries I have ever read. In fact, it might be even more unsightly in my eyes, as a fellow Indians fan. That aside, the article is the equivalent of the FOX Networks 'new hit series' Hole in the Wall:

Really, I won't waste anyone's time going through the entire article-although I don't really encourage anyone into reading it them self. Rather, I want to point out one of the laughable comments written by 'Jay'.

According to the author,
and in the decades since, the Yankees have become something awful: the most corrupt, cowardly, and even un-American force in sports. They are now, in fact, the antithesis of legitimate, competitive sports.
In case you missed that, Jay calls the Yankees and the Yankee ownership and management, 'un-American'. Really?

The author points to George Steinbrenner's free spending ways, specifically how Steinbrenner went out and 'bought' championships, starting with the signing of free agent Reggie Jackson. Correct me if I am wrong, but did every Major League franchise not have the opportunity to purchase Jackson? While being the team in the city certainly gives the Yankees a leg up on the competition, if another team truly wanted Jackson, he was available.

Some may argue that Jackson signing the largest free agent contract at that time is evidence of the Yankees eventual take-over, but Jackson entered Free Agency as the AL's leading slugger after the 1976 season-seems legitimate to me.

But even if Steinbrenner drove the prices up in order to 'buy' the best team possible, how is this 'un-American'? Does this not sound entirely like capitalism-which by definition is the American Way?

That is, capitalism is defined by the individual, not the market. Capitalism is said to be an 'unfair distribution of wealth'. Thus, is it 'un-American' that Wal-Mart, America's company, continues to build and strengthen it's empire while leaving the 'Ma and Pa' stores to waste? I'd gather that Jay does not have an issue saving $0.33 on a stick of deodorant, yet the Yankees are in the wrong for spending to win?

Additionally, this has not 'ruined' the competitive balance of baseball, this has simply changed the way teams operate. No longer can the small market clubs make major mistakes. The clubs need to concentrate on development rather then purchases.

The author states,
In just seven years, the Yankees took the highest payroll in the sport and tripled it, shattering any illusions of a level playing field and turning the sport into a competitive joke.
However fails to acknowledge that despite this apparent 'un-level' playing field, the Yanks are on the verge of missing the playoffs. Despite this 'un-level' playing field, the Yanks have not won a World Series since 2000. How is this 'un-level'? Wouldn't one classify a dynasty as involving an 'un-level' playing field?

Lastly, the author claims that the Yankees have become the definition of entitlement. I feel this is slightly off base. Are Yankee fans arrogant? Certainly. But wouldn't you be if you were the fan of the sports best and most historic franchise? Wouldn't you be if you were from America's anointed center of the universe?

This is not an issue with the Yankees, or being a Yankee fan, rather, this is an issue of America.

How is this for comparison Jay? Anytime you boo Derek Jeter, or call him out for being overrated, you are invariably being the same as the very Yankee fans that you loath. Do you believe that Jeter went door to door asking New Yorkers to fall in love with him?

Much will continue to be written about Old Yankee Stadium. People will continue to cry out for a return to the 'good old days'. The New York Yankees will forever be hated because they have done what no other ballclub has. Yankee fans will forever be hated, because they are the fan of a team everyone is jealous of, and from a city, everyone wishes they could live in. The fact remains, that the New Yankee Stadium, despite allegedly being reminiscent of the pre-facelift Old Yankee Stadium will never be the venue of historic accomplishments. It will be new, and it will be beautiful, but it won't be the same-something people loath, why else would Steinbrenner be such a public enemy?
I'm gonna rise up, I'm gonna kick a little ass, I'm gonna kick some ass in the U.S.A.
I'm gonna climb a mountain, I'm gonna sew a flag, I'm gonna fly on an eagle.
I'm gonna kick some butt, I'm gonna drive big trucks, I'm gonna rule this world.
I'm gonna kick some ass, I'm gonna rise up, Gonna kick a little ass, Rock on flyin' eagle!
Charlie (It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, August 10, 2006)

BallHype: hype it up!

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