When I hear ‘Yankee Pride,’ I know that I’m dealing with people having a automatic stimulus–response. A nice and round happy memory from their childhood being revived, which they now attempt to fit into the square peg which is the 2009 Yankees. While I have nothing against nostalgia, pride is not something which the 2009 Yankees are worthy of.
In fact, to quote Jack Woltz, ‘just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted man,’ I share the following: The first book I remember loving — I was probably a 5th grader at Citrus Grove Elementary at the time — was one that covered the history of the World Series. If I try real hard, I can remember the great smell of that [it turns out] small oval library just off 22nd Avenue and NW 3rd Street. I can still remember the excitement of going back to that book again and again. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Babe Ruth, The Gas House Gang, Yogi Berra all came alive, seemingly just for me, because certainly no one around me seemed to realize the great stories that were unfolding before me. What if all those other books had stories like these? I remember desperately wanting to read faster as I kept glancing up at the clock, until finally realizing that I just would would not make it to the next World Series that day. I couldn’t believe that those Yankees kept winning year after year. I thought they were great. Then when I got home, my father was a huge Yankee fan who revered Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and would never forget watching Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956. I loved the Yankees too. That was then.
Here is my best analogy to being a fan of the 2009 Yankees. An adult who has hacked his way into a fantasy baseball league intended for first graders. His dealings with the kids are best exemplified by the one transaction in which he got a kid to trade him Alex Rodriguez for Coco Crisp, since he knew the kid loved his dog named Coco. The adult wins the fantasy league and at the Chucky Cheese award ceremony, guarantees another championship the following year, taunting one of the kids who had broken down and cried.
An organization whose yearly off-season strategy is to sign the best available pitchers and hitters from the preceding year is many things, but not one worthy of the type of sentimental attachment denoted by the phrase ‘Yankee Pride.’ To equate a sentiment born of a Lou Gehrig to the current bunch of 1099 contractors occupying the jerseys is to miss the mark more egregiously than your typical MLB umpire.
To be clear — MLB needs the New York Yankees and the New York Yankees need the rest of MLB — especially those of us at the other end of the revenue spectrum – heck how many times do you really want them to play the Boston Red Sox. But MLB is much better off when their fantasy league-type strategy fails to succeed.