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There's this episode of "Friends" when Phoebe takes a job as some kind of telemarketer, and they give her a handbook that provides a scripted answer for anything a call-ee might throw your way. There should really be stuff like this for every aspect of life. I have to write them as part of my day job for pharmaceutical sales reps. And in college, I wrote more than a couple for friends who were "cold-calling" a guy they met out.

(Which, as a side note, typically worked brilliantly until the time when my friend never even made it to the meat of phone-call-flow-chart, because when she called and asked for "Matt" the guy who picked up the phone asked, "Which Matt?" Best laid plans, etc...)

Regardless, there absolutely needs to be an objection handler created for Yankee fans who are forced to field ridiculous haterade attacks from loser fans. Or at the very least, an objection handler that should serve as the final dismissal of all possible complaints and contentions.

Here's my initial draft for said manuscript:

I. "Spoiled Fans"

Objection: "Ugh, I'm so sick of you fans acting like you waited soooo long for this. It's been NINE YEARS. There are teams who have been waiting for much longer, stop acting like it's a big deal when you guys JUST WON IT in 2000."

Response: My sister had the best analogy for this..."If you have strep throat or mono or the flu or something, are you not allowed to complain about it because somewhere in the world there's someone who's suffering more than you?"

I mean, if you stub your toe, you're definitely subject to hearing the "give me a break, there's people out there who have no toes." But is it our fault that other teams don't win as much? Are we not allowed to celebrate and be excited about it just because your team isn't as talented? I'm gonna pull a page from Boogie Nights with this one. That is a definite case of YP, not MP.

II. "Overestimation of fan contribution"

Objection: "Whatever, Yankee fans celebrate like they had something to do with this, when they had NOTHING to do with it. THEY didn't win anything, the f'n Yankees did. Stop acting like you had some role in the championship."

Response: This is just ridiculous. Are there actually fans who are thinking, "Yeah, Tex is good and all, but let's be honest, the Yankees would NEVER be where they are were it not for the fact I splurged for season tickets." No. No one's thinking that. The majority of us are just happy that the team that we've invested our heart and soul into won. One commenter on one of my columns put it best when he wrote:

How many times did THE TEAM talk about the best fans in the world? I feel this championship right along with them. Fans all suffer the attacks from people like you season after season, but this year...they mean nothing. I don't know who your team is/was, but if you are anyone that had a team other than the Phillies and then rooted for the Phillies, that just makes you twice the loser this morning than you were 24 hours ago. Envy is an ugly emotion.

Excellently put. The fans definitely have a big role in the team. I can't take an iota of credit for any clutch hitting or otherwordly fielding or any other physical display of athletic immortality. But fans are what make "home field advantage."

Is it any coincidence that Pedro Martinez can go from pitching 5 shut-out innings against one of the best teams in the getting shelled when he pitches in Yankee Stadium? Is it a coincidence that AJ Burnett is incapable of getting out of the 3rd inning when he's on the road...but can limit the best bats outside of NY to 4 hits and 1 run when he's in Yankee Stadium?

Is it a coincidence that teams with the least attendance this year finished in the bottom of their division? The argument can be made, of course, that fans have no interest in their team if they're not doing well, but if that is the case, perhaps the finger should be pointed to this fairweather epidemic. Despite the exorbitantly high ticket prices in Yankee Stadium, and despite the fact it has the 2nd highest seating capacity, it still manages to rank in the top 10 every year for attendance percentage.

The Yankees' rampant fandom pays itself off hand over fist. If we didn't have so many people clamoring to the stadium, shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for tickets and basically anything that has a Yankee logo on it, the Yanks wouldn't be able to afford the players that they have. So excuse us for taking some joy in seeing where our emotional AND financial investment has succeeded.

Maybe we didn't have any direct role in their championship. But find me a team who says that they'd play a lot better if they didn't have so many screaming fans tripping over themselves to support them.

On the flip side, let's take a look at fans like "Fenway Faithfuls" who are so wrapped up in themselves, that they actually believe that being "faithful" is something worth commending. After the Sox won in 2004, almost everything that was written about the World Series was tethered to some degree to a sentiment of "always believing" etc.

That was how fans identified this. As a reward to their faith. But when the Yankees win? Faith has absolutely NOTHING to do with it, I guess, because our fans are useless nonentities.

III. "Bandwagon fans!"

Objection: "Yankee fans suck because they're all bandwagon fans."

Response: Let the record show I don't have much of a problem with bandwagon fans, because I'd rather people root for the Yanks than against them. I'm not gonna quibble with when they started rooting for them. Bring on the comrades! The more the merrier!

Here's the thing: there's an unlimited pool of fandom to go around. Someone liking the Yanks doesn't take away from your own fandom, so who cares if they want to root for your team as of 2 minutes ago? Just be happy they're not rooting against them.

It's not a competition to see who can be the most hardcore fan, despite what some of the right field Bleacher Creatures might lead you to believe.

I can see why opposing fans take issue with bandwagon fans, because they have to deal with the trash talking and arrogance of someone who just found out who Mickey Mantle is. But I think New York is a little bit of an exception to the rule.

1.) If the rule is that you can't start liking a team when they're good, lest you be classified as a bandwagon fan, it's nearly impossible to find an appropriate year to get into the Yankees. You either start liking them in the 80's or you're screwed. Because God forbid someone announces their allegiance to the Yanks anytime after the mid-90s.

2.) I can understand why being a diehard fan of, say, Tampa Bay is suspect. But New York City is one of the biggest cities in the country (not geographically, but you get the point). Even people who chant how much NY sucks, don't have much of a case when THEY MOVED TO MANHATTAN. If your hometown is so much better, then go back there!

The point is, what do you do if you were never one for baseball, then moved to a city and adopted that city's baseball allegiance? My friend Kyle became a Cubs fan when he moved out to Chicago, my buddy Ben became a Rockies fan when he moved there. But for some reason, you're not allowed to move to NY and support the Yanks. Because then you're BANDWAGON.

If you consider the statistics and probabilities around the series of events that needs to occur to NOT be a bandwagon fan, then you're looking at, like, a 14 day window of opportunity or something.

IV. "Cheaters"

Objection: "Yankees suck, they cheated their way to a championship."

Response: How? Does anyone actually think Pettitte and A-Rod, after being caught red-handed doing steroids, and after being subjected to thick scores of legal proceedings, are actually still juicing? Give me a break. And don't even get me started on the Mo spitball thing. MLB INVESTIGATED IT, and cleared him of all "charges" (though he should have sued the accuser for libel, in my opinion). And Rob Neyer put it best, I think, when he wrote:

A spitball is a funny pitch. A real spitball behaves something like a knuckleball, diving and twisting when the batter least expects it. But nobody throws spitballs anymore. It's too easy to detect, what with half a dozen cameras staring at the pitcher throughout his preparation for each pitch. And it's not really necessary, not with the circle ... Read Morechangeup and the splitter available to any pitcher who needs a little wrinkle. And Rivera famously doesn't need a wrinkle, as he throws one of the single most devastating pitches that's ever been thrown. This is a silly little "story" that's done little but waste the time of some busy people at Major League Baseball.

You know how pathetic and desperate Yankee haters have become when they've decided to actually attack the classiest and best there is. To this, I say to you anti-fans: Go to hell.

And as I wrote yesterday, the only way the Yankees could have cheated, is if you consider cheating to be paying your players to win the game.


Objection: "Looks like the Yanks bought themselves another ring. Obviously they were going to win if they're going to buy up all the talent."

Response: Oooh boy. Where to start, really. I've written too much on this topic to even begin to rehash old points. From a piece I wrote on the MLB Communist Manifesto:

There's no salary cap. And until there is, the Yankees can max out their corporate card every day of the week and twice on Sunday. They have the money, they fill their seats every year, they sell hot dogs at $8 a pop, they cater to consumer idiots like myself who need their team logo on everything from a ski cap to a stapler. And it pays off.

Whether or not these blockbuster acquistions will indeed lead the Yanks to the playoffs is a moot point. What IS relevant is that if the Yankees wanted to spend their multimillions in revenues on foam cowboy hats, beer, and pinwheels, then go live the dream.

Unfortunately for them, their legal, rule-abiding, and sound investments have exposed them as the Anti-Christ. Less affluent teams are crying it's not fair, their fans spitting vitriol at the vile Evil Empire for--God forbid--subscribing to capitalist tenets of amassing personal wealth. They can hate on New York for a lot of things, but this ain't one of them, because the New York Yankees are under no obligation whatsoever to pander to poorer teams.

Major League Baseball is a business. It's not Little League. It's not pick-up ball in Central Park. It's a corporate empire that millions of people enthusiastically endorse because we love the game. And it's naive to bemoan the way our pasttime's been marred by greed, because it is impossible to put a cap on competitive spirit. It's the impetus driving the game itself, and it's the impetus fueling the economic market.
From a piece on Pinstripe Alley that explains even more eloquently:

First and foremost, money obviously does not buy championships. If it did, every year the playoffs would consistently feature only the big-market, cash-rich teams -- which obviously is not the case. This year, the AL and NL Division Series featured teams with 2009 payroll rankings from 1 (NYY) to 23 (MIN). 3 of those teams were in the bottom half of that list, including the Rockies (18) and the Cards (17).

Go back to 2008's World Series and you have to obviously talk about the $49 million dollar Rays, who were next to last. The Phillies spent $113 million -- where was the talk about the obvious disparity there?

The purists, with eyes agog at the spending of teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox cry unto heaven for a salary cap. There are two reasons why the owners refuse to implement one: First, it hampers the ability of owners to run their business as they see fit. Second, the small market teams (and those teams with bad management) are loathe to give up the revenue sharing money they get from the higher payroll teams.

If you're the owner of the Marlins, say, why give up all that money? If you did, you might have to field a better team consistently to turn a profit. What did the Marlins do after they won the World Series? Pocketed all the cash and dismantled the team, selling off their higher-priced talent.

In fact, when you look at the history of the Marlins and how badly they have been managed since then, you are rightfully surprised when they are in contention for the postseason; the amount of talent that they let get away since then due to cost is staggering. Meanwhile, the Yankees paid about 10% of their salary figure in a luxury tax in 2009; how much of that went into the pockets of the ownership of the Marlins?

Finally, here's the one question that none of those who decry the Yankees payroll can seem to answer: Since George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees, they have won the World Series 7 times.

Who bought the other 20?

Now for some more basic points of interest:

The Yankees are criticized for buying their talent, with A-Rod's salary seeming to be so old and worn-out and used, that I'm surprised it's not Old English.

Here's the rub, though, haters: For the past 5 years, you guys claimed A-Rod was the reason we'd never win a championship.

Now? He's giving us an unfair advantage? Well...which one is it?

Our World Series MVP was a Yankee original. Our pitcher who closed out all 3 series was a farm-system boy. Jeter. Posada. Mariano. Don't go near those guys, because you know they're our core 4. And you also know they contributed mightily to this season's success.

As for our store bought much laughing did the rest of the world do when we signed Swisher?

And, Boston, you could have had Tex if you spent as much time considering his value as you do considering your Twitter activity.

Cano, Melky, Gardner, Cervelli, Ramiro Pena...all farm. All single-handedly won games for the Yanks at some point during the season.

Our no-name bullpen? Joba, Hughes, Coke, Robertson. Became the best in the league thanks to Girardi's insane micromanaging.

So when you talk about "buying" our team, I'm assuming you mean CC and Burnett. Two guys whose combined game appearances make up less than half of the total number of games.

The Yankees won because they had chemistry this year. They looked and played like a championship team, so much so that anyone who followed them knew from early on that this team was going to be the one to go all the way.

So when you speak of the Yankees, speak of them as they are...

"Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak
Of one that [played] not wisely but too well."
--Shakespeare, "Othello"

Speak of them as champions.

And while you're at it, GET OVER IT, whiny bitches.

1 Comment:

  1. Wei said...
    Can not agree more!

    The whine you often hear about from some Random baseball groupie is how Yankees 'bought' their championship. Oh well, don't blame Steinbrenner of being one hell of good owner, blame your team owner of being a f***ing cheapie who doesn't wanna win!

    You think Salary cap is gonna change anything at all is that the good teams won't be giving as much money to the cheap teams, and your cheap owners actually need to _INVEST_ in your cheap teams, instead of leeching off Yankees.

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