Why I Don't Cry For Yankee Fans

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I was going to write this on Karen's blog, but I figured i'd just post it here for all to see:

As a long suffering fan of another team, The Philadelphia Eagles, I feel your pain for being villified as a fan.

Two very different teams, with two very different reasons for hating, but we still have to bear the burden of rooting for the team we love.

I won't get into a Philadelphia rant here about how a few bad apples make the 99% of the normal fans look like idiots, I will get into a semi-rant about why, I hate the Yankees and don't cry for their fans.

First, I don't hate the Yankee fans. I think your passion is great.

Second, I have no hatred towards the organization itself, I think Steinbrenner is simply doing everything in his power to make your team contenders.

I don't like the baseball system, and no salary cap. Yes, we can go into the adage "You can't buy championships". Once again, it was proven this year by the Yankees.

Yes, we have had seen certain teams rise to win Championships (Marlins, Diamondbacks) - but how many can keep that together with the current system? When a small-market team raises a great player from their farm system, they can never keep those players due to the big payday lure of larger-market teams, like the Yankees.

How can you blame the Marlins for having "cheap" owners? Do you really compare the earning potentional of small market teams to the Yankees? Do you think that in a city like Miami, which has a population of about 1 million people that can even generate the same revenue as New York City? We are talking about millions and millions of fans and the money that they pay to watch their favorite team.

No, I know, it isn't your fault. I know you are going to say "We didn't make the rules!"

But you know why I like football better? Because of the salary cap. My Eagles have done a fantastic job of finding good talent (ok, lets not talk about TO), diamonds in the rough, and cobbling together a couple of "A" players surrounded by a decent amount of "B" players.

I think the same would make baseball a great sport of, instead of one or two powerhouse All-Star teams, you were to spread that talent out amongst the other teams.

Really you have a two tier system in baseball right now. You have certain teams that most years will field a good competitive team that will be in a *position* to make it to the post season.

Again, is that the fault of the Yankees, their fans, or the players?

No.

I think its an extremely poor arguement to use the tired "But when the Yankees come to town ticket sales go up!"

Of course the sales go up. The Yankees basically have an all-star team. From top to bottom, they have an incredible amount of talent. Of course people want to see that, much like people in the world want to see Team USA basketball get knocked off by another country. Much like we savored beating the Soviet Union hockey team in 1980.

It's a classic case of trying to beat the bullies.

Look, I feel for you as a fan, but most Yankee fans don't see the big picture of baseball. To them they just point at dollar signs and attendance when the rest of us simply want a fair system, much like the NFL.

The system works great for the NFL. Players get paid, owners get money, fans get to see bottom barrel teams rise to the top (Bengals, anyone?). If a organization plays their cards right you can find your team in the mix of a playoff race every year, barring major injuries or player squabbles (Eagles). Or you can also be an NFL team that keeps trying to buy championships and failing (Redskins, Raiders).

I'm a Phillies fan. It's been 26 years since we had a championship, so I can't say we are "long suffering". I certainly can't say it's the fault of anyone but the organization for our woes. Fortunately in the last 4 years I do like the direction our team is headed, and being able to identify young talent (Utley, Rollins, Howard) and shedding expensive players of questionable team value to salary ratio (Abreu, Thome).

I have heard the responses plenty of times from my other Yankee fans. The say the same things "It isn't our fault" or "Baseball is making money, why change it?"

Again, not looking at the "big picture" of why fans like myself hate the Yankees. They simply represent everything that is wrong with baseball, from those fans who are continually disappointed with their own teams. One way, in our minds, to fix that would simply be spreading the talent out by creating a salary cap. Seems like it would be fair to everyone, to get the good players on multiple teams, rather than just a few "haves" and many, many "have-nots".

Case in point: Where do you think Zito will be playing next year? My guess is in pinstripes.

8 Comments

Not asking you to cry for me. Not asking you to accept the sad reality of the small market vs. big market that is baseball (which, just because I am a Yankee fan, it doesn't mean I don't see it -- please don't assume that). I just want people to accept the fact that I can love my team as much as they can love theirs, that just becuase I grew up in the NYC metro area and that my father is a fan and instilled it in me from birth, that just because the Yankees make a boatload of money every year and spend it (I'd really rather George spend it on his team than line his pockets wiith whatever he gets, unlike, say, the Kansas City ownership, who uses their revenue sharing money for anything other than the team, according to some reports. If you ask me what is one of things wrong with baseball right now, it's that there's no rule saying revenue sharing money has to go back into the team. Huh?) without always being put in a position to defend the money thing (and the bandwagon thing -- which is what that post really was about). Yes the Yankees have it. Yes they spend it stupidly sometimes. But Jesus, they're my team as much as the Eagles are your team, and I love them as such. Sometimes, I'd just like to be able to focus on that instead of the whole "Your team spends too much money/is all that is evil in the game."

I know this will never be the case and it comes with the territory and such is life. But every now and then, it'd be nice if people could be like "Hey, what do you think of x/y/z baseball thing" instead of "Your team is evil. EVIL. Oh yeah, and YANKEES SUCK." (That was another post all together, too, though).

As for Zito joining the Yankees and it being an example of how Yankee spending is bad for baseball: the Yankees put together an extremely talented, highly paid lineup this year...and it did jack for them come playoff time. They are one of eight teams to make the playoffs, five of which weren't even in the Top 10 of payroll. My point is, spending money doesn't guarantee that the Yankees are going to be some impossible juggernaut to get past. And getting rid of a player like Zito doesn't mean a small-market team like the A's won't be able to compete. They've lost several big-time players over the years, yet have stayed competitive. Why? Because their ownership/general manager are smart baseball and business people who can make a small amount of money work for them. If more teams followed their example and many ownerships were less corrupt, I think we'd see less of the "haves and have nots."

A salary cap could work in baseball...if the owners were a trustworthy group and the players' union wasn't so damn strong. The fact that a former owner is commissioner of the game is one huge, glaringly obvious wrong thing about the sport. Much of the problems start here, and much of the reason they don't get fixed is because of the same thing. The fact that the players have had to have such a strong, stubborn defensive unit going to bat for them also speaks loudly of how much they trust ownership.

To me, THAT is what needs straightening out. Maybe then you get the salary stuff fixed. But blaming the Yankees for spending the money they have when there are no laws against spending in the sport? It's like the Wild West. Until the law comes to town, teams have to adjust accordingly. If they don't like it, they should start looking into MLB's farce of ownership and commissioner and start with going after the problem, not the symptom.

And please, if you read my blog, you know there are many real-deal Yankee fans who aren't "continually disappointed in the team." Those are the bandwagoners which you speak of, and we don't deserve to be dumped in with that lot.

My bad -- I think you were referring to other fans being disappointed with their teams, not Yankee fans. This is what happens as a Yankee fan -- you get ultra defensive right off the bat.

I'm done now. I promise.

Right, we Phillies fans have had many, many bad years with a glimmer of hope in 1993. Then many more bad years. I'm 34, my years growing up are watching the "Sillies" deteriorate from a 1980 Championship team into a joke. Philadelphia can't even complain about being a small-market town, they simply had owners who couldn't (or wouldn't) invest a tremendous amount of money into their team.

Good point about Kansas City - but think about it. The city has a population of 589,000 (counting the Kansas & Missouri sides). New York has 8 million (the 5 boroughs and not counting fans in NJ or NY state).

I haven't seen the reports of the profit sharing, but a few thoughts about how teams generate revenue.

One way is selling out their stadiums each season. With the Yankees having 8 million people in New York this will be much more likely (and easier) than, say, Kansas City, who have about 553,000 residents.

Another way is merchandise. I'm sure the hefty Yankee payroll isn't from ticket sales at the stadium, but the trillions of jerseys and hats sold each year. I wonder how many Royals jerseys are sold each year.

A third factor is TV deals. I'm sure the Yankees, having their own TV station, makes a tremendous amount of revenue with 8 million fans in the 5 boroughs.

How can KC compete? It can't.

I know. The Wild West analogy is apt. Until baseball is fixed you will have people like myself who don't like the outlaws (Yankees). We see you as the bad guys, because it simply isn't a fair system. It is like old England where you have Lords and Ladies (Yankees) and the rest of us are the "rabble". "Let us eat cake" the frontrunner Yankee fan will cry when we complain.

Remember: Money can't buy Championships, but it absolutely, positively HELPS your team be in a position to win one.

Baseball will never bee like the NFL. You say in your post that "Players get paid, owners get money, fans get to see bottom barrel teams rise to the top."

That is only partially true. NFL contracts are not garanteed. The only money a player will is sure to see is teh singing bonus and a game check if he's still no the team. The minute they don't think you can play, you get cut, and you don't get paid.

The MLBPA will NEVER in a million years agree to something like that. That is why baseball is so tough to change. The players are in control.

One thing I do like about the NFL, is that the majority of a team has to be owned by a person, not a corporation. You'll never see FOX, Turner, Red Bull, etc. own a football team. To a company, the team is a line item. More often than not, to a person a team means something.

I agree with Furey... however let me add:

I grew up in PA. Growing up, I hated the Cowboys and the Braves. I didn't care about any other teams my Eagles or Phillies played, I just really really hated the Cowboys and the Braves. If during the 93 NL Championship game I could have chopped off the arms of every single Braves fan I would have. And the Cowgirls - oh how I hated them, smug little toadies, each and ever one. America's team my FOOT!

That all being said, I moved to the NYC metro area, aka Hoboken, 3 years ago. My passions have changed a bit:
1. I hate the Cowboys
2. I hate the Yankees
3. I hate the Giants
4. I hate the Braves
5. I hate the Sox

I blame you, the fans, for this. Yes, some Eagles fans are obnoxious, and I'm sure I can be at times, but I don't walk around with the "26" chant, or the entitlement issues that so many Yankee fans (that are out in bars anyway) have.

Sox fans are no better... "Pity us, poor Boston, we never win. Those big baaaaaad Yankees always steal it from us." Then they win and you'd think that they had won 26 World Series. And let's face it, whenever the Yankees & Sox play each other, being out at any bar just sucks. Whether it's pre-season or regular season, these two fan bases can't grasp it's NOT game 7 of the series, and really, if your team loses, you CAN make it up tomorrow! But no, you people have to be as loud and obnoxious as possible because "you're really big fans." Anyone else in the bar be damned.

Giants fans - oh god they're the worst-- "How many super bowls have the Eagles won?" It's like, jeez louise, in the last 3 seasons, the Eagles were better than the Giants more often than not. Shut the hell up. Yea, we have never won a big game. Okay-that sucks. But it's not like the Giants have been a dynasty in recent years. You'd think they were sporting a record like the Yankees. Pride without talent is dumb.

Well as a Philadelphian who got transplanted to New York many years ago... I happen to like the Yankees. Before you start calling me a fair weather fan, you have to understand this was before the Yankees were any good. Think early 90s, Don Mattingly and a bunch of scrubs.

Before satellite TV, and live scores via the internet, the only way to follow your out of town teams was picking up the USA Today sports section. As a big sports fan, I loved everything Philadelphia... Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers. So coming to NY to go to school, I could either wait for the far too few NY v Philly games to cheer for a team, or get into another team in NY.

Giants, Mets, Rangers and Knicks were the archenemies. Couldnt even think about them in a positive light. Islanders and Jets werent archrivals, but they played Flyers and Eagles once in a while. The Yankees were the only safe team.

Before interleague play, you could cheer for the Yankees all year and only have a problem should they get to the World Series against the Phillies. At which point, you would obviously shed your pin stripes.

So I went to many a Yankee game in the early 90s, the stadium was awesome. I mean having grew up watching baseball at the Vet, you couldnt help but be impressed by the history of the place, and the fact that it was a baseball stadium, not some transforming arena. Games were cheap. Yankees at the time sucked, but I became a fan.

Cheering for them now, its hard not to feel like you are cheering on the bully to beat up the nerd in the schoolyard. However, I get surprised when I hear Philly fans against the Yanks, when the Yankees fans are the only fans in the area that you dont have to cheer against on the playing field.

Geko, you must have forgotten the Islanders beating the Flyers in the stanely cup (cause of a a bad call). Damn islanders!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on October 9, 2006 11:49 PM.

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