It is cold and now dark in New York but there is plenty of heat being generated by the afternoon news that Mark Teixeira has agreed to an eight-year deal with the Yankees. My friend Rich Lederer, an Angels fan, called me from the golf course in California. He was not happy. He practically yelled on the phone he was so irritated.
How can you root for a team that has such an uneven financial advantage? How is that fun? Where’s the competition in that?
“I hope they lose every single game,” Pat Jordan said to me when I called with the news a few hours later. Both men, incidentally, are Republican, but they are also both rebellious, outsiders, self-made men. They aren’t the kind that get off rooting for US Steel.
Yet here I am, a New York Liberal, and yet US Steel, that’s my team. I used to have guilt about it, for years it worried me. Then I grew up. What’s the use feeling guilty? You have accept what is. Professional baseball isn’t a game. The Yankees are out to win, every year, forever. Isn’t that why Ban Johnson created the Highlanders in the first place? They will spend whatever it they have to spend. They pay a big luxury tax in return. They might offend everything you stand for. So be it. I get it.
I like being a Yankee fan. If Yankee fans are cursed by anthing, it is the teams’ ruthless ambition and unyielding arrogance. The curse for a rational-minded Yankee fan is that you are rooting for the front-runner, the bullies. And if you are overly neurotic you will question what that says about your moral fiber. So, we listen to other fans ridicule our team as something less-than-wholesome, something corrupt.
As far as curses go, it’s not so bad. After all, being a Yankee fan also means knowing, feeling in your bones, that you’ll see your team win again, and probably some time soon. Which is not to say that it will happen, but Yankee fans feel as if it should, and, inevitably, that it will happen. Being a Yankee fan also means wishing for, and often getting, big, fat, expensive Christmas presents like a CC or a Teixeira. Sometimes, the toy doesn’t make it out the box before it breaks–Don Gullet, Jose Contreras, Carl Pavano.
But you can’t predict the future and for the moment, all you can say is that you feel pretty warm in a cold, hard world.