DAMN YANKEES OUT OF POST SEASON: REST IN PIECES
By Victor Lana
Since I am a lifelong New York Mets fan, I couldn’t have been happier than when Hideki Matsui grounded out to end the miserable season of the team with the most expensive payroll ($220 million) in baseball history. The California Angels (a team with great players, motivation, and moxie) out maneuvered Joe (Beady Eyes) Torre and his bunch of whining, aging, and unlikable stinkers.
Being a Mets fan in New York for so long, I’ve learned quite a few things about NOT being a Yankee fan. One of the most important has been the insufferable and incessant arrogance of Yankee fans. Not only do they expect to be in the playoffs and ultimately the World Series every year, but they think that any other possibility is sacrilege. Since Torre’s team has been on this fortunate (and very lucky) run since 1995, October has been simply the cruelest month for Mets fans (most especially October 2000 when the Yankees bested the Mets in the World Series).
One thing I have as Mets fan is humility. Even when we are winning, the thought of losing is never far from mind. The Mets have an extremely loyal fan base. Many of us wear orange and blue despite losses, players who’ve been traded and gone on to be superstars elsewhere, and a stadium that is ready to sink into Flushing Bay. Yet, despite our mostly inglorious history, Mets fans cling to the brightest of moments: 1969, 1973, 1986, and even 2000. In fact, we all know that the Yankees got very lucky in 2000. A few bad breaks pushed the series their way.
The thing that Yankees fans ultimately deserve is to lose. How fitting that the heavenly LA Angels beat the damn Yankees, sending them off to a winter of suffering in the purgatory known as George Steinbrenner’s doghouse. We can imagine the blustery owner of the Yankees, huffing and puffing all the way back to New York with thoughts of trades and free agents dancing in his head.
George, supposedly the guardian of Yankee tradition, has lost sight of the thing that made the old Yankees teams great. All he cares about is winning, thus he brings a big (and I mean very big) baby of a starter like Randy Johnson to the Bronx, just the kind of guy other teams love to hate. For all the money George is paying Alex (K-Rod) Rodriguez, the third baseman went 2-15 in the playoff games and grounded into a double play in the ninth inning last night. And others, despite good numbers during the season, also failed here: Gary (don’t trade me or you die) Sheffield, Jason (I don’t do steroids anymore) Giambi, Bernie (I know I’m a goner) Williams, and the rest of the cast either forgot their lines or fumbled them as they came on stage.
So, nothing can make a Mets fan happier than seeing the Yankees go home as expensive losers. There will be lots of articles written now, defenses of Joe Torre and his coaches, and Yankee fans struggling to make some sense of this warped universe that allowed their team to be losers. They will be an unhappy lot to be sure, but they won’t lose their arrogance. They will demand that George spend even more money, to bloat his team even further, in a quest for another World Series win. This will go on until opening day in April 2006, and then the whole thing will start over anew.
I said “Hello” to a friend who is a Yankee fan this morning, and he said he couldn’t take it because of the Yankees losing last night. I tried to be positive (even though I was gloating inside) and said, “Well, wait until next year.” He responded with a gruff, “It’s easy for you Mets fans; you’re used to losing.” Of course, you can see why the Yankees and their fans inspire so much love.
The good news for Mets fans (and very bad news for Yankees fans) is that the Mets were pretty good this year. They are a player, relief pitcher, and a power hitter away from 1st place. Willie Randolph, long under Torre’s shadow and now in the spotlight, shined as a fine major league manager. He’s a winner, this Brooklyn kid, who is the kind of manager Mets fans just love because he knows the neighborhood. In knowing the turf he understands that the big team across the river is going to make a lot of noise, but like a chained up dog it has lost its bite.
Mets fans have always lived with “next year” and were even teased with the slogan “next year is now” from the 2005 Mets. The thing is, in 2006, the Yankees and their fans will find out that next year is what they’ll be thinking about as the Mets take over the town once again.
Rest in pieces, 2005 Yankees (and their fans), and have a nice winter.
Copyright © Victor Lana 2005