Psst. You there. Yeah, you in the Twins hat and Joe Mauer shirsey. Put down that plush TC bear, I have a secret that I can't hold in any longer. This is very hard for me to say. I've been thinking about it for a long time and I've felt this way even longer. I can't hold it in; I need to confess to someone. I'm trusting you to keep my secret, but it won't be easy. Are you ready?
I don't hate the Yankees.
There, I said it. I don't hate them. I don't loathe them. I don't detest them. I don't even simply dislike them. In reality, I admire them. I respect them. I marvel at them. I like them. I like the way they play baseball. I like the way they reward their fans on the field. I like their history. I like their players. I even like their uniforms.
I like the way they go about their business. Business might be the key word. The Yankees play baseball like a business. For many, a business-like approach to a professional sport is boring or even abhorrent. For someone like me, a person who demands efficiency and order, the Yankees are like an Excel Spreadsheet on a baseball diamond. I know exactly what they want to do within the game: take a lot of pitches, mash the mistakes, pitch methodically and wear out the other team. Above all else: win. It's all so well organized, sometimes I feel I can conditionally format them while I watch them play.
I'm in awe of their history. As a Twins fan, I fondly remember both World Series titles, I remember all the playoff "runs" from the 2000s and I have heard wonderful stories from their successful 60s and 70s teams. However, the Yankee fan history is a completely different animal. Their fans can discuss which of their 27 World Series winners is the best. Twenty seven! They miss the playoffs about once in a generation. Only four franchises have made the playoffs as frequently as the Yankees have won the World Series. My goodness, to have their history.
Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth... I could go on. The sheer number of superstar, Hall of Fame players is staggering. The Yankees can boast an all-time player, at any given point in their history. Whenever you watch the Yankees, you are watching greatness. Eventually, the Yankees are going to have to start issuing fractional or triple-digit uniform numbers, as they have retired a vast number of whole numbers. If you do hate their players, it can only be because you secretly wish they wore the Minnesota Twins uniform.
I am jealous of their fans. I'm not happy to feel jealousy, but I can't help but wish that my favorite team went into each season with a realistic chance to win the World Series. While the fan experience has certainly diminished since the construction of New Yankee Stadium, you cannot discount the experience of watching the Yankees play baseball each and every year. In the average fan's lifetime, the Yankees are likely to win multiple championships. Is there another fan base who can make that claim?
I even like their look. The pinstripes are timeless. They are the closest thing to a nice, designer suit that you'll find on the field. Somehow, their uniforms look even better when they get sullied. The dirt really accentuates the gray. Their hats are classic too. In fact, you could make the argument that the Twins borrowed their TC logo from the Yankee's NY logo. I like that they make their players shave stupid beards. I can't grow a beard, no one else should be allowed to either!
As the Twins head toward a series with the Yankees, I know that many Twins fans will be looking forward to rooting against the Yankees almost as much as they look forward to rooting for the Twins. Not me. I'll root for the Twins, but I won't root against the Yankees any more than I would root against any given opponent. I might even secretly hope that Mariano Rivera gets into a game, just to see him in person one last time. The Yankees may be the evil empire, but they certainly play some great baseball.
I apologize once more, but I can't change the way I feel. I don't hate the Yankees. I can't muster up the energy to try. In fact, when the Yankees aren't playing the Twins, I enjoy them. If you have to hate me as a result, I understand. This was not easy for me to confess. I've carried this secret like a lush gift basket given to a lucky lady after a chance encounter with the great Derek Jeter. I can't get rid of it, but I also don't really want to admit to having it. Does this make me a bad Twins fan? Maybe it does. I just don't know anymore. I feel so conflicted.
Alas, it isn't all bad. I do hate Alex Rodriguez. He's a dolt.