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Fair or Foul?
2006-03-31 05:18
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Does New York have some of the greatest fans in the world, or is this a city of fair weather bandwagon-riding chumps? From my experience, I'd have to say a little bit of both. (Hey, we're the city that has everything after all, right?) For a town that often crows about what tough, loyal fans we have, it's amazing how many native New Yorkers are quick to dump on the local teams in favor of, well, whatever team is currently winning. So weather it was the Bulls and then the Lakers or the Red Sox, there is always a visible portion of the New York population that gravitates to the National team of the moment. However, there are true-blue die-hards here just like there are in Philly and Boston and wherever else you want to mention. (There are Yankee fans who actually rooted for the team prior to 1995--many of whom frequent this blog--and will continue pulling for them when the team isn't winning division titles year after year.) Witness this article today in The New York Times about the Knick fans that have stuck it out through one of the organization's most dreadful seasons to date. These cats pay top dollar for their season tickets, but it will take more than losing and general mishegoss to keep them away.

Comments
2006-03-31 06:11:11
1.   Rob Gee
Ah and some of us are both fair-weather and diehard - depending on the sport.

I live and breathe Yanks, and have since I was four and watched as a particular Yankee fan torched a Red Sox pennant in the stands. He mustache and hard NY hat are similarly burned into my brain. I still have my Little League glove signed by Billy Martin after I threw my body on the dugout roof and reached out as I got knees in my back and elbows to my skull. I was seven.

The Knicks I rolled with in the Starks era but lost interest when I moved to Pittsburgh. Anybody but the Bulls was my mantra. Now it's just fun to watch the game.

And my Giant allegiance died in the same move. For the first time I saw a whole town that felt the same way about their team as I felt about my Yanks. A Steelers fan was born and hurt when they kept losing to the Pats. When they won the SB, I was happy, but more for the good folks of that city. The next day, I worried more about who would be on our bench than whether it was worth it to resign Randle-El.

Bottomline: The last eleven years as a Yankee fan have been unforgettable. These are the days and players I'll be telling my grandkids about. (Yoooou shouldva seen this Mo Rivera. He had this cut fastball...). Let's play some ball.

2006-03-31 06:35:10
2.   bp1
Yup, gotta agree. While I do not live in the city, I do count myself as a die-hard fan since the days when I listened to Messer, White, and Rizzuto on the radio at night going to bed before school. Remember the days of the Baseball Game of the Week? Watching those games on my folks big old console TV with the front door open and the warm summer breezes blowing in. Man - it seems like that was just yesterday.

I would imaging it is hard to be a die hard for multiple sports. I just couldn't keep up. It's pretty my Yankees for me, and then just general interest. I enjoy watching the other sports, understand the games, but I don't have a strong rooting interest for other teams. I just want to see a good game. But baseball? My skin is pinstriped.

BP

2006-03-31 06:37:00
3.   rsmith51
Agreed, Rob. I will never be anything but a Yankee and Packer fan in those sports, but I was a Bulls fan du jour during the day. In college, I went to a small school so don't have any allegience. I liked Indiana up to the mid-90's, but don't really care now.
2006-03-31 07:01:44
4.   Simone
One of my best friends is a devoted Knicks fan since she was a child. She can't afford season tickets, but she lives and dies with every game. Most of her mood swings were tied to the Knicks' wins and losses. I use to check the score to figure out if it was a good time to call her, but this season I don't even bother because despair has overtaken her as she watches the games. It's the Yankees and Cowboys for me through thick and thin, sick and sin so I totally relate to her pain.

I'm really for the first pitch. Let's go, Yankees!

2006-03-31 07:03:25
5.   Levy2020
I have the unusual experience of being a fair weather fan in every other sport — and a foul-weather Yankees fan. I followed the Yankees from about 1990-1995, and then became pretty disinterested in sports for a very long time.

And then what really spurred my interest was working on a losing Democratic Congressional campaign in New Hampshire as the Yankees were losing to the Red Sox. They are kind of linked defeats in my life.

2006-03-31 07:12:19
6.   mikeplugh
Here's my take on the Knicks' fandom, since you brought it up. I can't say I support the notion that a fan should go out and spend their money on a crap product.

Now, let's differentiate between a team that has hit hard times with the retirement of key players, injuries, or other similarly difficult circumstances and a team that is simply run like a circus by mediocre intellects and super sized egos.

That's where the Knicks are today. I want them to win every game. I want a championship banner to fly in Madison Square Garden in 2007, even if it means a lineup of Marbury, Francis, Rose, Frye, and Curry. It will never happen in any alternate reality, even Bizzaro World.

Every dollar you give to Dolan and Cablevision is a vote of confidence in the "plan" they are now following. The only thing these guys understand is a boycott of their box office. Then, they'll change course. THAT'S being a good fan to me.

Ugh. Don't get me started on the Garden...

2006-03-31 07:13:44
7.   mikeplugh
By the way, I just posted my AL East Preview over at Canyon of Heroes. It's not earth shatteringly insightful, but it's something else to read about baseball. ;)
2006-03-31 07:31:41
8.   Knuckles
Most of the people who know me (including my fiancee, God bless her) understand that die-hard might not be a strong enough word when it comes to the Yankees. I suffered through from the mid-80s to mid-90s as a kid, idolizing Donnie, Pags, Rags, Winfield, and Rickey.

Things that stick out most about that era:
- Being pissed off when the Mes won the World Series, because I was too stubborn (as a 3rd grader) to celebrate it. Though I was a huge Dr K fan, mainly because we share a birthday.
- Collecting Yankees cards, and having almost a whole 9x9 page of managers, different ones each year. We went from Bucky to Stump to Buck, so I assumed someone named Stumpy would be hired when Torre was.
- Being at the Stadium, watching Dan Pasqua win a game with a HR, then seeing him traded for Ken Phelps soon after.
- Growing up 30 miles from the Bronx, yet still understanding that I'd have been a Yankee fan even if we lived in Pittsburgh, because that's what my dad we were. Curiously, his teenage and young adult years also saw some Yankee futility as well, so say what you will about 26 championships, still lots of fans suffered through some bad times, which seem all the longer at certain stages of your life.
- Channel 11 WPIX was for Tom & Jerry and the Yankees.

I am so sick to death of taking sh1t from people for being a Yankee fan. What am I supposed to do, choose a new team because the one I grew up with happens to win a lot and spend tons of money? The people who say this are also the a-holes that claim to be 'over' a music group once they hit the pop radio airwaves, because it's always better to like someone when it's not cool to. Whatever.

As for the Knicks, now they just piss me off. I loved them as a kid and through high school. Listening to Clyde talking about jukin' and dukin', hivin' and jivin' on the radio was the best. So was packing all my buddies into my folks (unfinished) basement around a 20in TV to watch the playoffs every year. Ewing missing that finger roll in the playoffs was a killer. But at least they were IN the playoffs. I grew out of the NBA at some point during college, and now I don't watch much pro hoops but I still root for the Knicks, though not with the same fervor. The NBA is also the only sport where I feel guilty because I have also rooted for the Nets a bit- their ascendancy in the early 2000s coming in lockstep with the fact that my old company had sweet corporate seats which not many New Yorkers wanted to use. This found me at the Meadowlands often in 1999 and 2000. Now, I think the idea of the Knicks franchise (my dad's Reed/Clyde/Bradley Knicks of the 70's, Ewing and Co, etc) sucking pains me more than seeing their actual place in the standings.

2006-03-31 07:32:26
9.   debris
Mike,

A couple of comments re: your Sox preview.

1. Crisp put up better numbers than Damon last year. You say his numbers will spike in Fenway. You say he won't put up the same kind of numbers Damon leaves behind. Please explain this apparent contradiction.

2. You say Schilling's ankle hasn't improved. Not true. His ankle is fine. If he doesn't put up his 2004 numbers, it won't be the ankle. It will be a couple of miles on his fastball and, possibly, his command.

3. You say that it's over if Foulke doesn't bounce back. Let's not forget Papelbon and Hansen.

4. You're more optimistic about Lowell than I am, though the bench depth is impressive if he fails.

5. Gonzalez - "Can you say Womack?" The problem with Womack was that he gave the Yanks nothing, offensively or defensively. Anything the Sox get from Gonzalez bat will be gravy.

2006-03-31 07:36:26
10.   Shaun P
I can't imagine being a fair-weather/bandwagon jumping Yankees fan, though I've known plenty. In 1998, when EVERYONE suddenly became a Yankees fan, if I suspected a bandwagoner I'd ask something like, "Remeber the big free agent signings in the winter of '91-'92?" One time, I got this gem in response - "Yeah, that's when they got Cone and Strawberry, right?" (This person had claimed to have watched the Yankees religiously since 1984. It turned out he didn't know who Bill White or Frank Messer were, either.)

I really hated bandwagoners back then - I felt like people shouldn't be able to share in the joy of that magical season without having gone through the suffering of the 80s and early 90s. Now I don't really care about bandwagoners. Let them jump on - I'll still be here when they get off.

2006-03-31 07:37:09
11.   DarrenF
I've always enjoyed the presence of fair weather fans.

(1) It means the weather is fair.

(2) Baseball geeks shouldn't criticize those who aren't baseball geeks. I was at an '03 WS game in FLA and surrounded by Yankee fans who couldn't identify Chris Hammond when he came out of the bullpen. As long as they're not writing sports columns for the Daily News, I applaud their relative ignorance. It's just baseball and maybe I should get a life.

The only problem with all the fair weather fans is that it's a lot tougher to get bleacher seats nowadays.

2006-03-31 07:47:55
12.   mikeplugh
1. Johnny Damon walked more, stole more bases, and scored more runs last year than Coco Crisp. He has a long track record of producing in those areas, and I don't want to suggest that he can't have the same kind of success, but let's see him do it first. Damon is a tough act to follow. Aside from Ortiz, there was no Red Sox player I hated to see in a big situation than Captain Caveman.

2. You say Curt Schilling's ankle is fine. The Red Sox people say it's fine. He says it's fine. Let's see how a 40 year old pitcher with serious ankle surgery lasts an entire season. I think he can show the old Curt Schilling and he can dominate, but can that ankle survive the marathon? Maybe the sprint, but he has a Citgo sign sized question mark hanging over his head to me.

3. Again....let's see Paplebon and Hansen get out A-Rod, Vlad Guerrero, and Paul Konerko in a big spot. Not that they can't, but how do you know what they're made of. No track record, and therefore huge question mark.

4. Lowell is a gifted player. You won't notice him at 3rd and he'll drive in a few runs. No need for a huge star there if your big names produce.

5. Yup. Gravy if Gonzales hits, but a .291 career OBP is basically a pitcher in that spot. You gotta do better in the AL.

2006-03-31 08:05:43
13.   alsep73
I'm with Mike when it comes to the Knicks. It's one thing to root for a team that has bad luck, or is in transition from one era to the next, etc., but it's quite another to support a team that's so blindly, arrogantly incompetent as this one. I'd feel the same if I were a Royals fan, or an Arizona Cardinals fan, etc. If management at the Garden changes, I'll come back. Until then, I'll just watch the occasional basketball game without rooting for anything but a good game.

And I suffered through those Yankee teams of the '80s, too -- first the teases of the Rickey/Donnie/Dave teams, then the abject horror that was Andy Hawkins and company. I was also younger than, so it made me more willing to be miserable, but I've been so passionate about the Yankees for so long that, unless they fire Cashman and replace him with Chuck LaMar, I'm sticking even when this current team gets too old to compete and has to be blown up. I'm fine with a rebuilding movement as long as it's a realistic one (as opposed to the Isiah Thomas philosophy of rebuilding while trading away all your lottery picks).

2006-03-31 08:11:06
14.   Rob Gee
9 debris -

Bench depth at 3b? You mean the greek god? Then that means Choi or Snow starts everyday at 1B?

That's a BIG stretch of the meaning of 'depth'.

2006-03-31 08:43:32
15.   Simone
When your team is run by incompetents, it is test of devotion and sanity. If you aren't willing to give up, then all you can do is hang onto past glories and hope for better times which is what my friend is doing with the Knicks now and what I have had to do with the Cowboys. I never went through this with the Yankees because they started win a few years after I became a fan. However, I had to live through the Cowboys THREE successive 5-11 seasons and no playoffs in 8 years. There were points where I thought Jerry Jones was going to give me a nervous breakdown. Let me tell you, it was hell, especially in football where every game means so much. My hopes were rewarded when Jerry finally had enough and hired Parcells. I have such hopes for the Knicks in order to save my friend's mental stability.
2006-03-31 08:51:07
16.   bloodyank78
Living out here in Orange County, I get harrassed by Angel fans all the time for being a fair weather Yankee fan. Most don't know me or where I am from, but that doesn't stop them from spewing it out anyway. I don't feel the need to justify it to them, that I was born in New Rochelle, 25 minutes from Yankee Stadium, or that both my grandfathers and my father were, and are fans. There's a real nasty anti-Yankee vibe out here but at least it is tempered w/some good East Coast transplants that show up in droves when the Yanks are in town. Either way I keep a lamenated photo of my little brother and I at 3 and 6 in 1984 in all our Yankee gear. My brother has sinced passed so it means a lot to me. Him and I were steadfast through the tough 80's and early 90's. So occasionaly, when some prick, either at a game or in a bar while the Yanks are playing, starts in with the "so how long you been a fan, since '96?", bit, I might show him the picture and ask him if he remembers how well the Yankees were doing in 1984.
2006-03-31 08:56:58
17.   Southern Yankee
I'm definitely an "if you can't beat'em then join'em" Yankee fan. An avid Brooklyn Dodger fan of the '40s and 50's, I hated (but respected) the DiMaggio/Henrich/Rizzouto Yanks and then suffered through the glorious Stengel era with the Mick,Yogi,Kubek,et al. I watched (WPIX then) Yankee games as well as Dodger and Giant games. Alas, da bums went to LA and I grew up, married and moved around. First the miserable Mets, then D.C and Gil Hodges Senators, Chicago with Duroucher,Philadelphia and the early Mike Schmidt and eventually back to NJ where WPIX still brought me lots of bad Yankee games. By then my alliegance to the Yanks was solid, even guys like Horace Clark could'nt shake me. Took my kids to the stadium a coulpe of times a year (Shea too). When I moved to Westchester I was in prime position but the Yanks weren't. The Gooden/Strawberry Mets had my major interest but I always watched the pinstripes out of the corner of my eye. Billy Buckner made me a believer in Yogi's "it aint over until it's over". WFAN, Mike and Maddog, and Suzynn's reports kept me aware of the Yanks in the early to mid 90's. Jeter's arrival really stirred my interest and the great years followed. The disappointments over the last 5 years don't even scratch the scar tissue built up by the 47 - 56 Dodgers (even with the '55 win). I gave the Red Sox their just due in 2004 and have gone on from there. That year and 2005 were perhaps the most intense for me. Now over 70 and retired I sit in the Tampa area with Legends Field spring training within reach, MLB Extra Innings at my finger tips and a HDTV coming in the near future. I used to be in awe of my Uncle Mike who would tell us of Ruth, Gehrig and guys like Walter Johnson, etc. Now I look back on Snider,Mays,Mantle,Musial, Aaron and of course Ted Williams. I saw them all!!"Holy cow, you huckleberries", " How about that!!!"
2006-03-31 09:12:47
18.   Start Spreading the News
8 Knuckles, Pasqua was traded for pitchers Rich Dotson and Scott Nielsen to the Chi Sox. Jay Buhner was traded for Ken Phelps. This trade was brought up in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes. George Steinbrenner thinks that Constanza assumes that Constanza is dead. So he rushes over to Constanza's house to tell them in person. He breaks the news gently to the parents. The mother wails in agony. The father says nothing for a few seconds and then says: "Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps!!! What were you thinking???"

Awesome.

I became a Yankee fan when I emigrated to this country and lived in Yonkers. The proximity to the Yanks left me with little choice. Plus it was 1978 and the Yanks had just won the Series. But since I was a little kid and my parents didn't care about baseball, my interest grew only because kids in schools were fans as well.

WPIX had every game. So I could watch sometimes after I did my homework. Eventually in high school, when homework got too long to have finished by 7pm, I just listened to the games on the radio. It became my routine to do schoolwork while listening to the Scooter. This radio tradition carried thru in college as well when I didn't have a TV.

Fortunately, baseball can be enjoyed thru the radio. There really is enough time between pitches to paint a complete picture. Try listening to a basketball game on radio. It sucks.

My first baseball game was in 1991. I went to see the Yanks and Angels when Winfield was with them. I paid $10 to sit near 3rd base and then moved up even closer. I saw a home run get called back. I saw people get ejected. It started out as slugfest. Then it settled into a pitcher's duel as it went to 12 innings and the Yanks lost at 1:30am. I was one of 200 people still there. So the Yanks gave a free ticket to another game for the ones still there.

My second game ended at 1:30am as well and another free ticket.

First ten dollars ever spent on Yankee tickets got me 31 innings of baseball!

2006-03-31 09:14:40
19.   Felix Heredia
It'll be difficult to root for the Knicks until Mini-Dolan is gone or realizes he's an incompetent idiot (don't hold your breath).

By the way, that "weather" was a good pun.

2006-03-31 09:14:44
20.   timsnull
Growing up in Buffalo New York and listening to Yankees games as a kid has always been my biggest thrill. I've been a yankees fan since I was 7 years old. At 44 and living in Oregon because of work I'm still a big New York Fan. I miss the City and the State. I proudly wear and showcase my Yankees, Sabres, Rangers, Bills, Knicks and Mets clothing and flags out here on the West coast. I'm not a bandwagon fan at all. I stick with my teams whether they are winning or loosing. Take the Knicks for instance. Worst season that I can remember but I still watch them. I bought a sattelite dish so I can get the YES network and MSG. Yankees and mariners will be coming up soon and I will be at the games proudly wearing my Yankees clothing. Go NEW YORK
2006-03-31 09:37:06
21.   Knuckles
SSTN,
Doh! You are correct sir. I had a brain fart and got my young OF's screwed up. I do remember Buhner for Phelps now, of course, but at the time I was more angry about Pasqua being shipped out, mainly because of that HR. How cool is retrosheet, by the way?
http://tinyurl.com/n5ock
Pasqua walk-off HR off Bud Black on a Saturday in 1986, also Pags homered. I don't seem to remember Saberhagen leaving the game after 1.6 innings, he must have been hurt.

One day I should gather as many Yankee ticket stubs as I can find from way back, and print out the retrosheet for each one- put it in a book for my dad and/or kids some day.

2006-03-31 09:59:38
22.   KJC
// I am so sick to death of taking sh1t from people for being a Yankee fan. What am I supposed to do, choose a new team because the one I grew up with happens to win a lot and spend tons of money? //

Absolutely not. What drives me nuts are people like my brother's (ex) girlfriend: she was a big Twins fan from Minnesota, then moved to Brooklyn for work. (This was in the mid-90s when NY started their reign and the Twins sucked.) When she got there, she quickly switched her allegiance to the Yanks, giving up on the Twins altogether. Pissed me off, giving up on her original team to take what I believed to be the easy way out.

2006-03-31 10:08:27
23.   Marcus
Yankee fans always get shit for liking the Yankees (and being supposed fairweather fans), but for me, I started really getting into the Yanks when my family finally got cable and I could watch games every day. Before I got cable, I didn't even realize there were channels like MSG and WPIX where you could watch every single game! I would sit in the recliner with my homework and watch Mel Hall, Kevin Maas and the rest of those mediocre teams suck it up in the early 90's, and I would love it. Same for the Knicks. I remember seeing Anthony Mason for the first time on TV and my jaw just dropped at how huge that guy was. I even got into the Rangers even though I was never much of a hockey fan, but that '94 season was pretty exciting.

But now that I live in the Bay Area, I find myself more and more interested in the A's because I can go to the games and watch them on TV. Thank God for MLB Gameday and Yankee blogs! I'm more tuned in to baseball than ever really, and I love it.

[Just an aside: Hey debris! Since when is it proper protocol to comment about a dude's blog entry on a different blog?! Meanwhile mike's entry on Canyon of Heroes has zero comments, and Bronx Banter has another nerdy comment from debris cluttering the page. Seriously, you make it sound like being a Red Sox fan requires a set of pointy ears and a bowl cut.]

2006-03-31 10:13:12
24.   Start Spreading the News
Worst fair weather fan: Someone I know who grew up in Long Island in the 80's and became a Met Fan. Moved to Manhattan in 2000 and switched to being a Yankee fan. In 2004, started dating a guy from Boston and switched to the Red Sox. Watching the ALCS with her was excruciating. A friend who didn't know about the change in allegiance took her to game 7 and was shocked and pissed when she started rooting for the Sox.
2006-03-31 10:26:43
25.   deadteddy8
Fandom is odd. As a native San Franciscan, I grew up with the Giants, and I've pointed out to people that I've probably loved the Giants longer than anything or anyone other than my parents. On the other hand, I had a bit of sports culture shock when I went to school in New York because, out here, we don't hate the A's. In fact, if a family member or a friend ends up an A's fan, it's only disappointing because that's something we can't fully share. I still go to A's games, and I want them to do well, even though they're not my team, because I'm proud when my region produces good baseball. One of my close friends in New York is a Yankees fan, and is the kind of guy that wore his Alfonso Soriano jersey to our fantasy draft. He was utterly distraught that his sister might allow her husband to decide their kid should be a Mets fan. Distraught. I completely understand the Red Sox thing, but, as Yankees fans, why the animosity for the Mets? They're not in the same league, so who cares? When the tides changed, in the mid80s, the Mets attendance increased, and the Yankees' decreased, probably due to fair weather fans. Or, in other words, there's probably tons of overlap, no?
2006-03-31 11:05:35
26.   Zack
Speaking of reasons to love the Yanks, does anyone have espn insider and feel like posting or summarizing gammon's article on Mo being the most dominant player of our generation? I know thats prob. illegal or something, but if you just give the jist and some highlights, I'd love it!
2006-03-31 11:09:54
27.   Zack
deadteddy8,
For me, growing up in the 80's, it was always about the Mets. Everyone is school was a Mets fan cause they were not only good, but had attitude to boot. On top of that, NY has always really been a National league town, so of course media coverage slanted towards the Mets as well. So while the Yanks sucked, I suffered with being constant ly outnumbered. Something to prepare me for going to school in New England I guess. But I never really resented the Mets, nor would I be totally upset if someone rooted for them, perhaps it would lower my opinion of them for choosing such a fate, but that's about it.

And even the Sox never meant anything until a) I went to school up there and everyone decided I was fair game, even though the Yanks were dominating by that time, and b) the Sox fandom became so intense and aggressive that I had no choice but to defend my team in an us vs. them manner. Prior to that it was just a sort of fun thing that really had more to do with the Munson/Fisk days than anything else...

2006-03-31 11:12:04
28.   Zack
And one more thing: debris or another Sox fan, why was Hanson sent to AA?
2006-03-31 11:37:06
29.   Shaun P
deadteddy8 25, I'm from upstate NY, and most people up there have absolutely zero animosity towards the Mets. Come to think of it, there are almost no Mets fans in upstate NY . . .

I really think the hatred is an intra-NYC phenomena. Just a guess, but maybe its the remnants of the old Yankee vs Dodger/Giants thing, with the Mets having taken the Dodgers/Giants' place. But I'll defer to the NYC Banterites on this one.

And Zack, your words on 'the rivalry' in 27 are dead on. I've had the exact same experience, and its clouded my view of a lot of Red Sox Nation.

2006-03-31 11:40:17
30.   fgasparini
I did not grow up a Yankee fan or even a baseball fan. I played soccer and rooted for the Buffalo Bills...which is why I can't stand pro football any more.

In the summers of 90-91-92 I didn't work much. I've always been freelance and those were my post college years, so I just lay on the couch a lot, drinking 40s of Midnight Dragon and watching the Yanks on TV. I was too poor for cable, but you got a lot of games on free TV then. I became a baseball and Yankee fan watching Melido Perez, Randy Velarde, Pat Kelly, etc. Having fallen in love with bad baseball, I feel pretty justified in being a rabid Yankee fan now that they're great...

I went to see the WBC game between the US and Korea in Anaheim. (Rooted for Korea the whole way.) I saw more Yankees gear than Angels, and it was kind of cool walking around and just giving a nod to all the people wearing Yankee colors.

Only one guy gave me grief, an Angel fan who yelled "Yankees suck!" I was so flummoxed I just shrugged. You don't have to get mad when you're being slandered by a guy whose team employs Darin Erstad.

2006-03-31 11:52:35
31.   Shaun P
Zack re 26 - I'll bite. What are they going to do, make me stop paying them money to get the Mag and the Insider account?

Gammons starts out with:
"In what is too often a slothful sports world, Rivera is the essence of elegance, like Sandy Koufax. He is always accountable. Modest. And, most of all, the model of reliability in a position that is the most difficult in terms of remaining reliable."

He builds on the last point by going through every other reliever expected to close in '06 (literally), and finds them all lacking when compared to Mo. Basically, he reminds us that no other reliever has been as consistently dominant as Rivera. And, oh yeah, Mo has pitched in 11 straight postseasons too.

He closes with:
"Rivera is the definition of reliability in an unreliable role, the model of stability in a volatile era, the picture of modest distinction in an exhibitionist era and the most important player on the dominant team of the era.

He, not Bonds or any other slugger, deserves serious consideration as the poster boy of this era."

I'll drink to that!

2006-03-31 11:59:53
32.   rbj
I first became a Yankees fan in the Summer of '69 (cue Bryan Adams song). I was four, and was in a drugstore with my mom. All the team logos were up, and I looked around at them. The Yankee one stood out for me (I was a patriotic little kid) and said "I'm a Yankees fan." I was dimly aware of baseball and knew nothing of the history of the Yankees or what bad shape they were in. I do enjoy going to see other teams play (got to see Unit & Junior play in the Kingdome in '93, what a horrible ballpark. Ugh) but will never switch that allegiance. Funny, I can root for other football teams if the Giants are out, but really can't do the same for other baseball teams -- though I can root for their minor league teams if I happen to be living in that city.
2006-03-31 12:04:04
33.   Alex Belth
It's funny, I get that sometimes, "You are a Yankee fan?" As if I'm an alien or something. But you've got to be amused by people who think there is something defective with you to root for the Yanks.

Emily and I were in Mexico last weekend for her sister's wedding and we had to pass through Dallas on our way. On our return trip we were going through customs a guy says to me, "You root for the Yankees?" (I was wearinga Yankee cap?) As if I had three heads?

I go, "Yeah, man, I'm from New York. Whatta ya root for the Cowboys or something like that?"

Jagoff. lol.

2006-03-31 12:09:07
34.   standuptriple
Carl Pavano is hurt again. After Pavano threw one inning in a Double-A game yesterday, Joe Torre said he wasn't sure when the $40 million investment would pitch again due to a bruised rear end the pitcher suffered when he fell covering first base Tuesday night. -- New York Post

Wow. Color me surprised. I guess it's fitting for Pavano to feel some pain in the ass as he's provided that service for us for quite some time now.

Thank you, I'll be here all season.

2006-03-31 12:30:35
35.   Start Spreading the News
It seems that a lot of got hooked on baseball watching it on free TV. Does that fact that it is on cable affect its popularity? Or is cable so ubiquitous that it doesn't affect viewership?

What do you think? Of course I ask as one of the few that doesn't have cable...

2006-03-31 12:37:51
36.   Knuckles
I sniggered a bit at the end of that Mexico post.
Jagoff with a 'g' is such and underrated word; I rarely hear it down in the DC area.
2006-03-31 12:42:05
37.   bp1
29

I grew up outside Utica and Mets fans were few and far between, and mostly girls who had a thing for Lee Mazilli. Apparently he was the anti Bucky Dent at the time. I don't remember much us-vs-them between Yankees and Mets. In my sandlot games, the us-vs-them was always Yankees and Red Sox. Big time. The weird thing is - the clean cut kids with the fresh new helmets and stuff were the Red Sox fans. We scrubs were the Yankees. And yeah - plenty of fights broke out, but we showed up to play every day anyway.

Man - those were the days.

BP

2006-03-31 12:49:22
38.   murphy
grew up in jersey.

it's always been about the yankees.

dan pasqua is my fave player EVER!

i collected every star ledger sports section the year (1990?) lee gutterman LED THE TEAM with ELEVEN wins.

i remember oscar azocar.

i remember watching roberto kelly's firt major league at-bat (HR) on WPIX.

i can't remember a harder week than in 1986 (9 yrs old) having to choose wheter i should root for the sawx or the mets.

2006-03-31 13:26:32
39.   rbj
1986 was no problem. Mets all the way. Anybody but Boston, even a Tommy Lasorda managed Dodger team (hell, even a Bobby Valentine managed any team).

SSTN, I think cable is so ubiquitous these days. Still, nothing was better in the 1980s than sitting in my beanbag chair eating popcorn and listening to Rizzuto and White.

2006-03-31 13:43:46
40.   Shaun P
BP - I could tell (almost) the same story as yours 37 except that I grew up in Utica itself, and I don't remember many Sox fans as kids. Most everyone wanted to be a Yankee; a lot of people seemed to like the Dodgers and Giants, too, IIRC.

rbj re 39 - I would pay good money to hear some of those old Rizzuto-White broadcasts. A lot of fond childhood memories are tied up with "Hello everybody, I'm Bill White, alongside the Scooter Phil Rizzuto . . ."

Like BP said, those were the days.

2006-03-31 14:09:49
41.   BklynBomber
For me the NBA, let alone the Knicks, has been unwatchable in recent years. I go back to the Holzman, Reed, Dollar Bill and Clyde days, when as kids, we'd buy tickets up in the blue seats for $3.50 and work our way down to courtside by the fourth quarter. Hawthorne Wingo up close and personal! Now, those were the days!

This is first season where I didn't catch a single game, saved $159. on the Season Pass package, and reach for the remote when the highlights air on SportsCenter. I will scan the NY Post's 'Team Titanic' reports for the same reason most folks slow down to gawk at a car wreck. I didn't leave the NBA, it left me. I suppose if a future Knick team goes 75-7, I'll be tuning for old times sakes. Besides, the Yanks and Football Giants take up enough of my time to begin with. I've been more productive since being NBA-less, too.

Back to baseball: Pavano. Bud Selig. George Mitchell. Uffh. What a way to end the week!

2006-03-31 14:20:49
42.   wsporter
I was born into a home and family of Yankee fans. I had no realistic choice nor did I want one. My Grandfather took me to my first game in 1963. From that time on I was a Pinstripe patsy; I fell in love in 1963 with the Stadium, the smell of the Bronx, the trips to the Zoo, the long car ride down and the long nap on the way home. It's the way I still remember it 40 plus years later. When its part of your DNA what can you do?

We've had long periods when we just plain sucked. We've never in my life had anything like this 11 or 12 year run (f'n strike). Through it all how could I be anything other than what I am? It's the one long beautiful constant in life that I can always turn to and remember where I was and what I was doing and how things were going.

The Knicks, Giants and Rangers are all teams I root for. Even after they traded Eddie Giacomin and Brad Park and everyone else. Even after they shipped Clyde to freak'n Cleveland and even after Herm Edwards' little jaunt to the end zone. But only the Yankees are MY TEAM. Top of the world Ma, top of the world.

2006-03-31 14:56:00
43.   jayd
I think Schilling is going to have a good season this year, along with Clemens and Johnson, he is in a class by himself. Thank god he doesn't pitch for us, though.

I see Pavano, Wright, and Moose in and out off and on ,combining for 36 wins. Chacon will be the #2 and will challenge Johnson for most wins on Yanks. The season really seems to depend upon Wang. If he is our solid #3, then this could be a blow out year, over 115 wins. This lineup is so hugely productive. Starting pitcher can give up 4 or 5 runs and still win.

The real bust this year for the RSox is Mike Lowell. One week from opening day and he looks so clueless and lost at the plate, they should send him out there in drag, a blonde wig and one of those long flowing Hawaiian Muu Muu dresses to try to capture his mood. What happened to the guy? Luckily the single A team plays in Lowell MA so he might find his eponymous spot in the organization. I see him gone by mid-May after Francoma rides his horse dead. Then its on to JT Snow and that no name OBP chump.

Ditto Wily Mo -- looks like a .240 hitter with AWESOME power, I can see him launching some solo shot on the losing side of a 12-2 score. Wily Mo, Coco Crisp: this is the year of cartoon characters flexing their non-existent credits. Don't you love these numbers guys who claim the sox are pushing up roses in centerfield this year. Almost like they are better off without Damon? Must be something in the water here...

The Sox needed Arroyo for all the problems they will have in their pitching staff -- how they convinced themselves they had a "surplus" of starting pitching is a case of such stunning stupidity -- as a Yankee fan I can't stop giggling.

Where are those Theo Genius guys? Log in occasionally, let us know you are still alive...

We need to find the guy who invented that phrase "a surplus of starting pitching" and give him some kind of award...Bless you my good man...

2006-03-31 15:30:33
44.   Rob
great post, love reading all the memories.

been a yankees fan all my life. grew up in queens, moved to manhattan, then out to california.

first game i remember going to was last day of the season 1984, yanks vs. detroit. it was the head to head battle between Winfield and Mattingly. I remember my dad scalping tickets from an off duty cop who had to work that day. funny stuff.
we sat right off the first base side and cheered like crazy when Dave and Don came up. I think Mattingly went 3-5 and Dave 1-4 or something like that.

Been a devoted fan ever since.

2006-03-31 15:54:01
45.   Start Spreading the News
43 jayd,

Wow. 115 wins! That's what spring training is for. If you can't be hopeful then, when can you? Hey, even the Royals are tied for first now...

If Pavano, Wright and Moose add up 36 wins + 60 wins for Johnson and Chacon and Wang, that still only takes up 96 wins. That's still 19 short of the 115. The bullpen last year accounted for 20 wins. But that was with the starters getting knocked out early and Yanks offense saving the day.

My guess:
Johnson 18 wins
Chacon 15
Wang 15
Moose 15
Pavano 12
Small/Wright 7

Bullpen: 13 wins

Yanks: 95 wins.

2006-03-31 18:35:10
46.   mikeplugh
#33

Yeah Alex. Texas is a pain in the ass. You had it easy though. On our way back from Mexico, my wife(then my fiancee) got stopped by immigration in Houston. She's Japanese and therefore to the people at George H.W. Bush International Airport a threat to national security. (Remember Bush, Sr. was shot down by the Japanese in WW2)

They whisked her away to a room somewhere in the airport and wouldn't tell me what was going on. They told me that unless she was my wife, I had to wait.

I was panicked because we had a connecting flight to catch, and because I didn't want them putting their hands on her. She came out after 20 minutes, and told me that she sat alone in a room the whole time and then they came to let her go.

Maybe they intended to ask her, "Whatta ya root for Ichiro or sumthin'?"

2006-03-31 21:44:25
47.   mikeplugh
Wow! Y'know I kind of glossed over that 115 wins prediction. Start Spreadin' the Kool Aid, baby.

I love the enthusiasm, but less caffeine may be a good idea. ;)

There are more question marks hanging over the Yankee pitching than Frank Gorshin could collect. I predicted 97 wins, but I'm holding my breath. Johnson has to be good. Mussina has to hold up. Chacon has to do it for a full year. Wang has to hold up and prove it wasn't a fluke last season. Wright and Pavano have to appear in a Major League game.

I picked the Yankees to win it all this year, but I fought my good sense a bit while I was deciding between the home team and the seemingly improved White Sox...if you can believe that. Jim Thome is going off!!!

2006-04-01 08:08:54
48.   wsporter
This from Tyler Kepner's article this morning:

"Reliever Scott Proctor left the Yankees to be with his newborn daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who was hospitalized Wednesday in Miami. General Manager Brian Cashman said the baby's condition was serious."

There is nothing worse than the worry that man is feeling now. I hope we can all find it in our hearts to think of him and his family and offer what ever kind wishes and prayers we can for his little girl.

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