It's still good to be a Yankee fan.
Better than being a Phillies fan or a Red Sox fan
MUCH better, a billion times better, than being a Mets fan or Cubs fan.
Very interesting article. Interested in the take of Yankee fans.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz29ToqO7p0Is it still fun to be a Yankees fan?
There were plenty of empty seats at Yankee Stadium last weekend and even more unhappy fans after New York fell behind Detroit 2-games-to-0. The Yankees trail the Tigers 2-games-to-0 in the American League Championship Series, and Detroit's Game 3 starter is the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander. This is when Yankee fans would normally seek divine intervention, but alas, He just broke His ankle. Derek Jeter is out.
Four teams are still standing. The Giants, Cardinals and Tigers have already guaranteed themselves, and their fans, a successful season. The fourth one is the Yankees, who are two losses away from a failed season.
This is the way the Yankees have viewed the world, starting with the last decade of George Steinbrenner's ownership.
As team president Randy Levine told ESPN last year: "We are the Yankees. That is the way The Boss set it up. When you don't win the World Series, it is a bitter disappointment and not a successful year."
When you don't win the World Series, it is a bitter disappointment. No doubt, many Yankee fans feel the same way.
And this makes me wonder: Is it fun to be a Yankees fan?
* * *
Here is the problem with being a Yankees fan: You're cheering for Goldman Sachs. Like the folks at Goldman Sachs, the Yankees go through two cycles: They are either obscenely rich and extremely successful, or extremely rich and not quite as successful as they planned, forcing them to hold a conference call with reporters in which they apologize for "not meeting expectations," and then they resume being obscenely rich and successful.
There are benefits to cheering for Goldman Sachs. You don't feel embarrassed like Clippers fans or hopeless like Pirates fans. But it's a lot harder to fall in love. Whenever the Yankees win, they were supposed to win; they're the Yankees. And when they lose, they were supposed to win.
The Yankees have the highest payroll in the major leagues this year, as they always do. Other teams are creeping up on them, but still, the Yankees are tops, and this is a big reason why, since 1996, they have made the playoffs every year but one. Yankees fans must stick with their team through good times and better times. There is no enjoying the journey. At times, there isn't a journey at all.
This isn't like cheering for the San Antonio Spurs or New England Patriots -- those teams lucked into all-time greats (Tim Duncan, Tom Brady) and their fans are riding the success as long as they can, because they know it will end. With the Yankees, there is no end in sight.
I understand why people cheer for the Yankees. (The usual reasons: They grew up in New York, their parents did, they love the uniforms, etc.) I understand why the Yankees spend so much money. (They have it, and they want to win.)
I just don't understand how anybody gets joy out of it anymore.
And I don't think they are.
Yankees fans are incredibly passionate, but passion is not the same as joy. The difference is best illustrated in their treatment of Alex Rodriguez.
In his nine years with the Yankees, A-Rod has hit .292 with a .387 on-base percentage, .538 slugging percentage, 302 home runs, 960 RBIs, two Most Valuable Player Awards and seven All-Star appearances.
A-Rod's postseason numbers with the Yankees are not as great, of course. But until this season, they certainly weren't bad either, by any reasonable standard. He had a .388 on-base percentage and a .480 slugging percentage. Comparison time: In Derek Jeter's True Yankee postseason career, he has a .374 on-base percentage and a .465 slugging percentage.
And yet: Yankee fans are booing A-Rod like crazy this postseason. The immediate reason is that, as sabermetricians will tell you, he has led all postseason players in sucking. I'm starting to wonder if he goes home at night and measures his good strikeouts against his bad strikeouts. But the sucking is not the only reason they are booing him.
Ever since A-Rod got to New York, Yankees fans have been itching to boo the guy. This started when the Red Sox had the gall to win the World Series in his first season, and A-Rod has given people plenty of reasons to boo him, because let's face it: He can be a thoroughly unlikeable human. He admitted he took steroids. He squeezes outrageous contracts out of owners. He seems like the kind of guy who would make a big show of ordering $500 bottles of champagne, then leave without paying and have his lawyers fight the bill.
But fans of every other major league team would gladly take A-Rod's flaws in exchange for the numbers he has put up as a Yankee. Boston fans embraced Manny Ramirez. San Franciscans revered Barry Bonds.
Yankee fans can't love A-Rod because he isn't there to be loved. They are paying him almost $30 million a year to roll over on command and jump through hoops with a torch in his mouth, and dammit, they don't want to hear that the torch is hot.
It is hard to creep inside the subconscious of millions of people, but it gets easier if you're a sportswriter, so here goes: I think Yankee fans boo A-Rod largely because they just want to feel.
Cheering for him to do really well is not fun; they are paying him too much to settle for really well. So they alternate between booing him and setting ridiculous high standards -- for A-Rod to wow Yankee fans, he has to be even better than he has been, and he has been one of the best players in the history of the game.
(I can see those smug grins in Boston right now, and on behalf of America, let me just say: Get over yourselves. The Red Sox are only an underdog in the context of their rivalry with the Yankees. For most of the last decade the Red Sox have spent wildly, won consistently and set a standard of World Series-or-bust. At this point, Boston fans are just New York fans with slightly larger apartments. This is why the Bobby Valentine disaster, while painful, was actually good for Red Sox fans. They needed to suffer again.)
It wasn't always this way. When the Yankees won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000, they were still largely homegrown, or assembled through shrewd front-office moves. Some Yankees fans argue that those teams were special -- tougher, grittier, hungrier than the current group. Maybe, maybe not. But I think the main thing that has changed is the fans. In 1996, the franchise had not won the World Series since 1978, so fans of those teams had really waited a generation for success.
This is why Jeter is so beloved. He did something that A-Rod and Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira never could: He brought the Yankees back to the top.
Let's face it: Investing your soul in a group of professional athletes you have never met can seem a bit silly. But it is worthwhile if it makes you feel loyal, or gives you a sense of community, and makes you angry and sad and euphoric. These days, the Yankees can't make their fans angry or even really sad.
Now every Yankees playoff appearance just feels like gluttony. "Wait till next year" is not a lonely wish in the night for them; it is trash talk. They will come back because they always do.
The old Yankee Stadium was kind of a dump -- after the 1970s renovation it lost much of its charm. But the dumpiness was part of its appeal. It felt like New York: a little dirty, with some visible cracks, but as big and loud and alive as anything anywhere.
The Yankees could have gone in a hundred directions with the new Stadium. They could have built it without luxury suites and still made a fortune. They could have put everybody as close to the field as possible.
Instead, they built the world's largest Automated Teller Machine: Every corner is designed to pull cash out of customers' wallets. The final, distasteful tough was that enormous plaque for George Steinbrenner in Monument Park, as though Steinbrenner was a more important historical figure than Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. This Yankees era is more about bigness than greatness.
Attendance for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series was 47,082, below capacity of 50,291. I'm sure there were a variety of explanations: high ticket prices, NFL Sunday, Jeter's injury Saturday night. But the fact is that an ALCS game in the Bronx feels routine now. I guess that is a sign of success. But those 3,000 seats are not the only thing in Yankee Stadium that feels empty.
It's still good to be a Yankee fan.
Better than being a Phillies fan or a Red Sox fan
MUCH better, a billion times better, than being a Mets fan or Cubs fan.
I dont think empty seats are a reflection on the Yankees.
You see it everywhere. People are just getting bored with baseball, and the home viewing experience is so improved these days.
Shorten the season, speed up the game, more asses in seats, simple.
Very simple; They beat Verlander tonight, Hughes shows some gumption....
Will I ever feel the same way I did in '77? No.
96 was close.... after that...diminishing returns.
Would I ever trade places with a Met fan who is relegated to pinching Yankee fans arses to "feel alive"?
Yankees baseball wasn't just a team, it was a sport. It was the first sport I ever knew. DJ and Mo will forever be my sports heroes growing up.
To answer the question, yes...it will always be fun to be a Yankees fan.
However, this was a very well written article, and brought up alot of great points for the Yankee non-faithful.
I think Ruby brings up the best point of all though. Baseball, all together, is becoming irrelevant.
The seat issue is just ridiculous.
Oakland had their whole upper deck ENTIRELY EMPTY for the playoffs. San Fran had a huge chunk again empty in upper left last night. Atlanta never sells out, you could go on and on.
Not to mention the fact that there were two NY teams playing football at or near the same exact time as game two. I think I can forgive fans for not going when they have already seen 5 WS championships in the past 16 years.
The author should write an article, "Is it still fun to be a pirate/marlin/royal fan"
Last edited by Ruby2; 10-16-2012 at 04:14 PM.
Obviously it is still fun to be a Yankee fan. Anyone who truly complains about a perennial playoff team and a team that is playing in the ALCS has a few screws loose.
Have we loved all the players that have come and gone over the last 10 or so years? Of course not. But for every Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and A-Rod Yankee fans also get good stories like Aaron Small in 2005, Hideki Matsui, and Raul Ibanez.
Empty seats are all over sports. MLB NFL are both suffering from a sluggish economy and a pricey product. To take your family to a pro game costs most people vacation type money. When the experience at home is almost just as good. I'd much rather watch the Jets at home then drop $300+ at MetLife.
The ballpark experience just isn't an upgrade anymore. It a novelty. I'll be sure to take my son to a Yankee game when he is older but more times than not we will probably just go see the Ducks.
This article would make much more sense if it were the late 80s early 90s when the Yankees spent and spent and never made the playoffs. Until they begin another decline like that there is minimal downside to being a Yankee fan.
Something MLB needs to do is not schedule playoff games on Sunday's.No one watches.The NFL is just too popular.
I agree with your other comment about making the season shorter.I would knock 30 games off.But I feel that way about the NBA and NHL as well
MLB had it's best attendance since 2008, it generates something like $7 billion in revenue each year, yet people are bored with the sport and it's becoming irrelevant you say?
Better than the TMZ and page six articles you post, but still wondering why your Yankees : Mets post ratio is 100 to... 0?
Last edited by Carlton; 10-16-2012 at 08:28 PM.
The Yankees ticket problem right now is 100% about their stadium and the economy. They chose to build a crappy new ballpark that reduced the best seats/value in baseball (the old Yankee upper deck) and replaced those seats with significantly more expensive seats that cost a lot more. In a single stroke they eliminated the very essence of playing in Yankee Stadium (the fans being right on top of you and the noise) and replaced it with a mall for suits. End of discussion...
Pretty dumb article. Might carry more weight when writing what it is like to be Yankee fan if you actually were one. This guy is unsurprisingly way off the mark IMO.
As a Yankee fan I get to enjoy top caliber baseball all year every year. I'll take their "failures" over those of any other franchise in sports, because of the successes they so frequently get. Yankee dominance really is the only foil to being a Jets fan as an added bonus.
The seats are empty when the bandwagon fans fall off. That's not a shot at the Yankees, the few good years with the Mets that I have experienced, winning always brings out bandwagoners. Especially in these new stadiums, the "real" baseball fan is gone. Speaking as a Mets fan again, the difference between Shea and Citi from a crowd standpoint is staggering. The baseball IQ, the knowledge of the team's history and their players, both former and current. The real fan was buried under the rubble of Shea and Yankee Stadium.
The real fans are at home watching. The bandwagoners are at the stadium.
Although...96 for me was special. So long out of the playoffs. We beat Atlanta which is huge in NC. Watching Pettite in game 5 was incredible.
I was at the 77 game when Reggie hit the 3 HRs. I was in the 10th grade.
To the OP.... Should you not Be in WCOs SUCK IT thread?
I hear ya, 32....the '96 vintage Yanks were a special collection of players that built a dynasty. But as a baseball fan, I'd much rather root for the type of franchise Sandy Alderson and the Mets are trying to build now. The Mets are hamstrung by serious money issues, the result of the biggest financial fraud in history. Prior to that, the Wilpon's spent a helluva lot of money...just not very smartly. Although they came close in '06, they became professional choke artists bc Minaya never built a strong culture around the team. The Mets of the past 2 years have been fun to watch, and they're getting better...despite the records.
The 2012 Yankees are the most gutless baseball team i've ever witnessed. Beating up on teams in the regular season in a band box stadium with a bunch of 3 run homers...they're not built for playoff baseball- and the irony is that they're actually pitching well! They couldn't manufacture a run if their playoff lives depended on it....and it does.
2013 Mets Optimism
We won in 2009 for phuck's sake. The past couple of years have been frustrating in the playoffs. But we still made the playoffs 17 of 18 years. Many fans take that for granted.
We have owners who are willing to spend money. Just look across town.
Yes, this team has become a "bully team" and has gotten old. But I have faith that changes will be made in the off season and this team will be back in the playoffs next year.
It sucks watching these stars come up small in the post season, but we are in the ALCS.
That said, it is moments like this where I miss George Steinbrenner. And the Yankees miss him too. Just being in the ALCS isn't good enough. Winning is the most important thing . . . after breathing.
I couldn't care less how a team is built as long as the right pieces are in place.
It doesn't really matter to me if the team has guys who came up in the organization or if the organization used prospects to acquire good veterans.
Winning is all I really care about because there are no moral victories for .500 seasons, even if they're achieved "the right way"
The Yankees right now have a collection of under-achievers and they're built for the home run. Unfortunately for them, we've seen the past few years that you can't count on the HR as a main source of production in October. Baseball today is different than it was in 2001. The HR numbers are WAY down and pitching is back.
I think the Yankees finally understand this and they will make some changes this year.
One thing I never expected to see from this team is the quality of the pitching they put out every single night. The starters and relievers have been excellent -- that's a huge positive to take into next year if they can't overcome the impossible deficit facing them now.
Last edited by TheMikeIsHot; 10-17-2012 at 09:33 AM.
It's still good. The only issue is they are over paying for older and slower players. Sound familiar?
I will say this, it isn't fun watching this series....