If you’ve been reading this series, you knew this one was coming. Well, you didn’t, because I still can’t track down an actual Astros fan to do theirs, but anyway, that’s beside the point. Who can possibly argue for the Yankees, you might say? Well, we have the person, and that person is none other than Bradford W. Davis, editorial assistant for HBO and co-runner of the sports newsletter Foul and Fair and an overall wickedly smart with a very fine sartorial sense. If anyone can impress upon you a
love like mild regard for the Yankees, it’s Bradford. He’s also a great Twitter follow, and you can find links to his work there.
My friend Kate asked me to tell you why you should root for the New York Yankees tonight, and every night they remain in the title chase. The question is inherently condescending, in that in answering it demands that I condescend the Yankees to the the level of the other 29 teams, as if rooting for the Yankees need a positive argument in their favor. Riddle me this, do you “cheer” for the sun to rise?
But I’ve already made a lot of inroads with the Lookout Landing family (inroads I might be rapidly destroying with every snide comment, I’m sure), so here’s me, keeping the peace, in spite of the slanderous implications about my pinstriped people made by some other guest bloggers.
I think purist baseball fans, the kind that read team sites like your own, struggle to cheer for the Yankees for two reasons:
1) The Yankees are too good so they don’t deserve to win
2) The Yankees are jerks and so are their fans.
I’d imagine this first is especially resonant for Mariners fans, who have suffered mightily since losing in the 2000 and 2001 ALCS to…a baseball team. And I’ll probably prove #2. But hey, tu quoques be damned, I’d like to try and convince you not to let either truth hold you back.
The Yankees are really good this year, but in a fun way. The last four years, they’ve been just aight, a consistent mid-to-high 80’s win team, in the race, but rarely a serious threat, propped up by older, expensive and fading talent. (All traits I’m sure you’re unfamiliar with.) If you believe in triangle science, the Yankees exuded the strengths typically found in a 100-win team. My team has stars, star power, and straight-up power. Didi Gregorius has done an admirable job subbing in for Miami Marlins owner and Players Tribune Editor In Chief, Derek Jeter, approaching All-Star level play at shortstop. And Didi’s emoji game is royal. Matchless. Gary Sanchez has hit 53 home runs over his brief 177 game career and he’s not even close to the most dangerous power hitter on the team.
That honor goes to the Largest of all Adult Sons, 6’8” 275lb Aaron Judge. My big beautiful beige boy will undoubtedly run away with the American League Rookie of the Year vote, and may even win the Most Valuable Player award. Will it be American League MVP or World Series MVP? Guess we’ll find out!
MLB’s Statcast loves Judge’s exit velocities, but I won’t bore you with the nerd trash. What you need to understand is that when he hits the ball, he hits it as hard as we’ve ever seen or been able to measure. (Which, I suppose, we know thanks to Statcast. OK, fine, whatever. You win, nerds.) Then, Luis Severino, the young, fireballing ace has emerged into a dominant force. He’ll be defending home field against the Twins tonight, pumping 98 mile per hour fastballs, harder than any starter in either league.
You get the sense that this team could be the last one standing if they come out of this coin flip intact.
What I’m saying is, this team is not only excellent, their best players are exciting, and if you can’t vibe with watching young greats performing at their best, why even watch?
Yes, because we suck as people, but stay with me.
I’ve heard it said that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for US Steel. Well, do you root against your 401K?
Besides, the same city that gave us the Mariners gave us Macklemore, so we’re at least even.
In all seriousness, I can’t and won’t defend what the Yankees do off the field. But I am convinced that the uneasy truth about being a sports fan — the one you and I must accept — is we cannot delineate between the morally good or poor teams. There are no problematic faves because when it comes to enjoying a sports team, all faves are problematic. When aligning with one of 30 for-profit franchises constituting a legal monopoly managed by a consortium of billionaires, can one really also require that sports team to be “woke”? For example, finding a stadium that wasn’t financed with tax dollars at the expense of poor, majority black and brown communities is like acquiring a quality number two starter to slot behind James Paxton. Possible, sure, but supremely unlikely.
I don’t mean to sound fatalistic. The present is not destiny. The way it is isn’t the way it has to be. In fact, I urge you to agitate for change in whatever capacity available to you. Please live your sports fandom out for the good of others. Don’t sit still when your team, local, bandwagon, or otherwise, tries to leech off the poor or finance the rapid desecration of everything worth preserving in our sorry farce of a republic. Give them hell for it. On the other hand, support initiatives like Women in Baseball nights, and seek the inclusion of people of all shades, shapes, abilities and orientations.
I am confident that hinging your righteousness by your New Era fitted* — even the bandwagon ones — won’t cleanse your soul; in fact, it may leave you feeling as filthy as usual. Place your hope in something better. There’s freedom in knowing that the most problematic of faves
/tilts mirror in direction of audience
So, instead of finding a team that gives you the closest approximation of being a Mariners fan, maybe try something else. Like a team on the rise, with a real chance of winning** it all.
*with one notable exception — if you have a Cleveland Indians cap, that Wahoo mascot shit belongs at the bottom of an ash tray.
** god I hope we win tonight