Fanhood Chronicles – New York Yankees
Double G Fans; I’m starting a new blog series that I hope will catch on with not only you loyal readers but also some of our contributors. Fanhood Chronicles is a chance for us to let our hair down and speak with a complete bias on how we became a fan, what keeps us coming back, and the good and bad times that come with being a sports fan.
I’m going to start my Fanhood Chronicles with the team that won my heart first; The New York Yankees. Baseball was always my first love and from three year old tee ball to the state championship my senior year of high school there was nothing better than just playing some ball. Some people may say it’s boring to watch, but to me there’s nothing better than watching a baseball game at the beginning of spring. What’s even better is tossing on the game with the windows open driving down the highway. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman may have lost a step, but there’s still nothing better than the warmth of the sun radiating your body while you hear the crisp crack of a bat on the radio.
How I became a fan
How I became a Yankee fan is less about me and more about how my dad became a fan. He was born when the Yankees were the only show in town and by the time the Mets came around in ’62 his mind was already made up. It’s crazy because the Yankees were actually pretty bad when my dad was growing up. He remembers skipping school some days to buy bleacher seats for a nickel. He watched a washed up Mickey Mantle play in the mid 60’s and he wouldn’t see much success from the Yankees until the Bronx Zoo era of the late 70’s.
From the day I was born I was meant to be a Yankee fan. There was something very special about those dynasty teams and I have to admit I am extremely spoiled considering how much crap other fan bases have gone through. It hasn’t always been good, but considering my fanhood has spanned 26 years and I’ve seen five championships it isn’t so bad. I became a fan because my dad was a Yankees fan and I idolized Derek Jeter. Was there a better role model in sports?
The high point
Well, in all honestly being a Yankee fan in itself is a high point. Unlike our poor cross-town rival Mets, there has never been this “here we go again” attitude from Yankee fans. It’s very arrogant to say as a fan, but I expect to make it deep in the playoffs every single year. The Yankees are the most profitable franchise in the world and there are expectations that come with being the most recognizable and successful franchise in sports.
The real high point as a Yankees fan, which really not many fans will EVER see in their lifetime, is the dynasty that they formed between 1996-2003. In that time span, the Yankees won four World Series and made six, losing one to the Arizona Diamondbacks and one to the then Florida Marlins. I was too young to remember the ’96 team but apparently that team was very similar to the Yankees team last year that surprised everyone. My favorite championship year was probably the 2000 team, just because they got to stick it to the Mets and show who was still king of New York.
The low point
Like I said before, I thank the lord every day for making me a Yankees’ fan. There have been very few low points in my time as a fan. Hell, there were very few years the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs. I understand that Yankee fans are in a rare position where they’re viewed as spoiled because they expect to win the World Series every year. It’s not my fault that my team has been so successful over the years, it just happened that way.
Anyway, my low point is probably a lot of teams’ high points; losing a World Series Game 7. However, this game was a bit different than most. The Yankees were on their way to a 4th straight World Series championship when they ran into the Arizona Diamondbacks buzzsaw. They went down 2-0 early thanks to Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson pitching masterfully. The Yankees made it all the way to Game 7 on pure guts and glory but eventually lost when Luis Gonzalez got the best of Mariano Rivera and blooped a single over the head of Derek Jeter. It was the single worst thing I’ve seen as a Yankees fan.
The reason why it hurt so much was because the Yankees and New York in general had been through the world and back. The Yankees were America’s team at the time because the entire world had its eyes on New York after 9/11. The world mourned with New York and the Yankees were the team that kept everyone’s minds off of the fact that just weeks ago New York was part of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Hell, even President George W. Bush was on the bandwagon, throwing an absolute laser before Game 3 of the World Series.
Why I keep coming back
Why do I keep coming back as a Yankee fan? There are a couple of reasons. The main one is because year after year I’m hopeful that I get to see another World Series. Unlike a team like the Miami Marlins, the Yankees are consistently in the hunt for a championship and even when they aren’t at their best they still have a fighter’s chance to at least make the playoffs.
The other one? Because god damn do I enjoy watching this team play. I grew up with the dynasty years but for how good they were it didn’t seem like I was a front-runner. All of those Yankee teams had character. My favorite player growing up was Paul O’Neill because we had about the same temperament. There was nothing better than seeing O’Neill make a diving play into the wall then leg out a double with dirt all over his uniform. It was even better when he would strike out the next at bat and destroy pretty much everything in the clubhouse. It was his grit, his determination, and quite frankly his craziness that made him my favorite player.
If you ever have kids, or already have children, make sure to get them into baseball. Whether it be the Mets or Yankees, baseball is a sport that can be played starting at three years old and is a very easy game to teach. My dad and I have bonded over all sports, but our first was baseball. There’s just something magical about heading to the Bronx on a warm spring afternoon to watch the New York Yankees play. I’d like to say I’m a big part of why they have 27 championships, but it’s all just a mirage in my lifelong Yankees fanhood.