This morning, my day was immediately dampened (as it often is) by WCBS Radio. The first words I consciously heard–seriously, the first words–came from the sports update. The announcer (whose name escapes me, but I know it wasn’t the usual guy, Jared Max) says, “I guess the aura and mystique followed the Yankees over to the new stadium.” That’s when I ran off to the bathroom to vomit.
What mystique are we talking about? The mystique of being able to blow everyone else out of the water with their deals for CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira? Or the mystique of making a new stadium with short porches and wind streams, so high pop ups by Derek Jeter plop into the left field stands for home runs? Or the mystique of playing against an emotionally and physically drained opponent with less than 1/3 your payroll and who’s also missing their second best slugger?
Look, I don’t hate the Yankees. Honestly, I don’t. Not the team. It’s pointless to hate them. Living in New York, hating the Yankees is like hating pigeons. They’re everywhere and they ain’t going away, so deal with it or move.
What I do hate is the holier-than-thou bullshit the team wraps itself in–or which writers/commentators wrap them in when they can’t think of anything else to write about. As if spiritual superiority and unflagging patriotism is the key to their success, and having more cash than God squared has nothing to do with it.
I don’t begrudge the Yankees having so much dough. I do begrudge them perpetuating the myth that their success comes from The Land of The Great Baseball Beyond on a chariot led by Babe Ruth and Joltin’ Joe. And that they have their own channel which propagates this myth 24/7.
The fact that the Yankees are able to buy any free agent they want, and the fact that there’s not a true level playing field in baseball the way there is in other sports–that’s Bud Selig’s fault, not the Yankees’. They’re just taking advantage of a dysfunctional system. I have no right to bitch about that when the Mets have benefited from the same system (at least in the “signing players” department, if not the whole “winning games” thing).
So just own it. Yankees fans won’t care, and everyone else is going to dislike you anyway. And sportswriters, stop bending over backwards to shoehorn this mystical nonsense into your dumb pieces. Just say, “They’ve got a shitload of money and they spent it on awesome players.”
The “mystique” angle is especially galling when you consider that the Yankees just built a billion dollar monument to themselves and left The House that Ruth Built to rot across the street. You can’t have it both ways. Either you stay in the old Yankee Stadium and revel in history and tradition, or you move to the new one and get padded seats and your own steakhouse. Sorry, but you don’t get to invoke ghosts when you abandoned the place they used to play in. Unless you’re talking about the ghosts of the Hard Rock Cafe.
My decree is that any sportswriter who now mentions “ghosts”, “aura”, “mystique”, or any other variant thereof in connection with the new Yankee Stadium will be sentenced to covering the Washington Nationals from July through September.
I have spoken.