Like many of us, Larry Mehnken tends to personalize wins and losses. When the Yanks lose, it can keep him up at night, and when they win, everything is fine with the world. What separates Mehnken from most of us, is that he can live and die with his team, yet still be able to write about them in an even-handed fashion. It doesn't hurt that Mehnken is funny and insightful too. His coverage of the Sox-Yankee Serious has been excellent. Here are two recent pearls of wisdom which caught my eye:
These games are always magnified, and Yankees and Red Sox fans want to place more importance and significance on the result of one or two games than is really warranted. Anyone who thinks that the Red Sox, as great as their offense is, will score 20 runs versus David Wells and Roger Clemens on a regular basis is as foolish as someone who thinks that Andy Pettitte can regularly hold this offense down to a single run. None of these games has been fully representative of the true abilities of these teams, who are, in fact, very close to each other. Anyone who tries to use the result of one game or series to prove otherwise has an obvious agenda.
I think the defining trait of a Yankees fan, that separates them from fans of all other teams, is confidence. If you're a Yankees fan, you know your team is going to win. Not necessarily today, not necessarily this year, but eventually. The Yankees lost the Series in 2001, they lost to the Angels last year, but d any of us really think that it's the last time we'll see our team have a shot to win? If you're a Yankees fan, there is no sense of urgency to win now. The only frustration comes from the desire to win always.
Red Sox fans are different. Some are defeatist; they know that they're going to lose in the end, so they never get their hopes up. Some are ignorant or indifferent, and don't care about the last 85 years, and then there's the elitists, who take a special pride in being fans of a team that hasn't won since WWI. Most young fans are ignorant, most Primate Red Sox fans are indifferent, and most of the writers in New England are either defeatist or elitist. They all share an especial hatred of the Yankees.
And with good reason. It seems that whenever the Red Sox have a good team, the Yankees have a better team. I don't think they're really cursed, but it's gotta be annoying.