Revving the engine
As Spring Training is in full swing and the Red Sox start revving their engine I found that the most meaningful thing I could want to post right now is the Life of Reilly article from October 1999 titled: The Team I Love to Hate
Heard somebody grumble the other day that this year's New York Yankees are hard to hate. That statement is just so ignorant. Always remember this: No Yankees team is hard to hate, even these small-ball, Ken-doll Bronx Bunters.
That's why I'm coming out with my three-volume series, The 4,008 Best Reasons to Hate the New York Yankees, among them ...
1. They fired Red Barber.
2. They hired Steve Howe. A seven-time drug offender.
364. Rooting for the Yankees takes all the courage, imagination, conviction and baseball intelligence of Spam. It's like rooting for Brad Pitt to get the girl or for Bill Gates to hit Scratch 'n' Win. (This is why I'm proposing legislation that would allow only those born in one of the five New York boroughs to be Yankees fans. All others who root for the team will be considered overdog-loving, Eveready-chucking, bandwagon-hopping, fair-weather, brownnose, pucker-lipped human goiters and be required to turn in their pinstriped underwear or be tossed into the East River with only Chuck Knoblauch to throw them a life preserver.)
1,011. The Yankees are the only team that doesn't sew its players' names onto any of its unis. Like kids are supposed to memorize the roster after their bedtime prayers. Let's see, 3 is Ruth, 4 is Gehrig ... and 55 is Ramiro Mendoza.
1,312. Everybody is so charmed by Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard, with his teeth-clenched, perfect-diction English. He sounds British. Is he British? No, he's from Long Island! Why, then, does he speak like Thurston Howell III? Bunch of Yankees fans drunk on lighter fluid in the stands, screaming, "I paid a buck to see ya mutha naked, Rocker!" and the club has some guy on the P.A. making like Alistair Cooke. Fuhgeddaboutit!
1,500 through 1,850. Convicted felon and Lucky Sperm Club member George Steinbrenner III, the despotic Yankees owner, fills half of one volume by himself. For example, Georgie Porgie, as Boston Red Sox manager Jimy Williams calls him, just elevated his vice president of player development and scouting, Mark Newman, over his general manager, two-time American League pennant winner Brian Cashman, because Cashman lost two arbitration cases last winter. And forgot to salute.
1,855. After every nauseating, soul-sucking Yankees victory, radio play-by-play man John Sterling bellows, "Yankees win! Tha-a-a-a-a-a-a Yankees win!" like a goat stuck on an electric fence. Hey, John, give it a-a-a-a-a-a-a rest.
1,856. After every nauseating, soul-sucking victory at Yankee Stadium, tens of thousands of tin-eared fans hang around and sing the Frank Sinatra standard New York, New York over and over, until you pray the ghost of Sinatra himself will appear on the DiamondVision, screaming, "Stop!"
2,651. The Yankees' payroll this year was the largest in baseball, by the GNP of Guam. If YANKEES WIN WORLD SERIES is worth a headline, so is BULLDOZER DEFEATS TULIP.
2,651. According to The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, the word yankee was originally a "term of contempt." Isn't that great? The Yankees named themselves after an insult! It's like calling a team the Atlanta Rednecks or the Los Angeles Cokeheads. Iron that on your wife-beater.
3,199. In the spring after their 1996 championship the Yankees charged fans to have their pictures taken with the World Series trophy.
3,200. After they lost the 1976 World Series, the Yankees voted their batboys $100 shares. Their opponents that year, the Cincinnati Reds, gave theirs $6,591 each.
3,911. For decades Yankocentric Eastern seaboard media -- like this magazine -- have overhyped Yankees players to exhaustion, so much so that six of baseball's 30 All-Century team members were Yankees, including righthander Roger Clemens, who currently is New York's fourth starter and can't get a Bic lighter out. Do you realize the Yankees have retired the jerseys of a .273 lifetime hitter (Phil Rizzuto) and a .257 lifetime hitter (Billy Martin)? What, no Bucky Dent (.247)?
3,989. Lovable Yankees coach Don Zimmer, who has had more hard objects bounce off his skull than Gilligan, was on the bench for the perfect games by Don Larsen (1956) and David Cone ('99) and never got off in between.
4,008. Hating the Yankees is an American tradition that has been honored throughout this century. Remember, nobody ever wrote a play called Damn Diamondbacks!
(Very prophetic there Rick. Just two years and two weeks later the Diamondbacks did win the World Series in 2001, led by our own fearless warrior Curt Schilling.)
I have yet to see anybody top this essay for why nobody should be buying Yankee merchandise and rooting for them to win. I agree. It's freaking un-American.
In Spring Training news I was glad to hear that Ortiz hit a blast that beat the Dodgers. I've heard they have pretty good pitching so that's a pretty good accomplishment.
Bummer to hear that BK Kim has a bad shoulder. He's had funky problems like that in the past and it adds to his ecclectic mercurial nature. Still I hope he gets better soon and gets a few more starts before the season starts.
Bronson Arroyo got shelled the other day and gave up 6 earned runs in three innings against the Orioles. It was a bad outing but he'll learn from it and move on. It will be interesting to see if Arroyo gets to make some starts during the regular season.
The best news I've seen lately was this bit from www.redsox.com:
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twelve pitches, nine strikes. Three up, three down. It all looked so crisp and effortless for closer Keith Foulke as he made his exhibition season unveiling with the Red Sox.
Looks can be extremely misleading when you are examining a perfectionist.
In truth, Foulke felt anything but sharp as he mowed down the three veteran Dodgers (Shawn Green, Juan Encarnacion and Robin Ventura) in the fourth inning Friday afternoon at City of Palms Park.
To strike out three pretty good hitters on 12 pitches is pretty damn impressive. A good omen of thigns to come no? :)
The RedSox.com story on the right filed roof seats going on sale is interesting. I wonder what the game would look like from way up there. Then again I still wonder what any game at Fenway looks like. The closest I've been to seeing a game there was watching the Red Sox play the A's in Field of Dreams.
Welp, the wheels are turning and things are progressing nicely to the beginning of the season. I can't wait!
@ 6:22 PM