Sunday, October 18, 2009

Extreme Fan-demonium

I'm all for supporting your team. The rivalries and passion that come out during the playoffs are part of what make it such a great time year. When the Angels met the Red Sox in the division series, the back and forth banter was almost as enjoyable as seeing the looks on Red Sox fans' faces following the 9th inning meltdown by their much-loved, baby-faced, previously invincible closer Jonathan Papelbon.

But now that the stakes are higher in the ALCS and I'm in the town of the opposition, it's quite a different situation. Yankee fans are everywhere. They gloat. They talk shit. They're bitter. And yet, I get the impression that they're just Yankee fans for the same reason there are USC fans across the country – it's trendy. I don't know how many of them endorse the boys in pinstripes by default; they live here or moved here, and therefore hop on the high-priced bandwagon. The Yanks are a great franchise mainly because their owner, Mr. George Steinbrenner has bottomless pockets ideal for poaching top talent from less spend-happy teams. There's barely a lick of farm-fed talent on that lineup, aside from Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. For the sake of balance, I will point out that the Angels also have one of the top payrolls in MLB, but a number of those guys were unknowns that were handpicked by scouts and allowed to grow in the Angels system.

So, when Yankee fans start boasting about the superiority of the Yankee franchise, it makes it clear that they don't know crap about what they're talking about. They buy success. They let other clubs turn potential into well-rounded veterans, then they outbid the rest of the field. From a purist's point of view, it's tasteless. In fact, I'd argue that the Yankees are one of the most underachieving franchises over the past several years – at least since their back-to-back-to-back stretch from 1998 to 2000. Zero World Series titles since (in two appearances).

With that in mind, when a non Yankee fan goes into a bar or to a game – and I did – and has to endure the brainless abuse by some illiterate a-hole who dumped $30 for a hat that he believes gives him allegiance, I have to look at that and laugh. It's just so absurd. Come on man, get a life, a job, an education ... or even just some teeth whiteners.

I know it's already a embedded in sports culture, but threats and insults have no place in being a fan. It's pathetic. It does nothing but reflect negatively on the team and the individual. So have a beer, exchange a few steroid jokes, make fun of the Disney-designed stadium and raise your hands in triumph if your team comes out on top. But leave it at that.

No comments: