Why I Hate the Yankees: A Met Fan’s Manifesto

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We have some VERY cool things lined up for the blog starting on Monday, so before they get rolling, I wanted to tie up a bit of a loose end in regards to my Sabathia post from earlier in the week. Being a Mets fan who dislikes the Yankees, inevitably, I’m always asked to explain this attitude by my fellow Gothamites. Red Sox/Yankees hatred is easy enough to comprehend, but why would fellow New Yorkers cheer against a team that’s so iconic of our city and its history? Is it jealousy? That’s always the first assumption, but it runs a bit deeper than that.

monument_park_popup

This is the new Monument Park (and even I have to admit, they did a great job bringing it over to the new stadium). Do me a favor: click on the photo, and look at all those legendary players. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Maris, Donny Baseball, and so on. There’s something interesting about that list of sixteen great players though (the great Mr. Robinson removed, as his number is retired across the league). Take a moment, and see if you can figure it out. I’ll still be here.

Give up? Here’s a hint: go back, and count the number of legendary Yankee pitchers. Two. In the most storied franchise’s most storied history, only two pitchers were significant enough to be granted that honor. I should also point out that Guidry was recently added in 2003, so Whitey Ford was all alone out there for a very long time.

On the surface, this seems relatively insignificant. After all, the Yankees are known for their great hitters: guys like Ruth and Mantle whose moonshots were legendary. Which, ultimately, is my point. Since Ruth, the Yankees always have been, and always will be the Broadway feature with the marquee names. Come see the stars, watch a few go over the fence, let’s hear Sinatra sing while we make our way home.

Even the most educated, intelligent Yankee fan (my fiance is a good example of this rare creature)  has to admit that there are many fans of the team who don’t pay attention to the intricacies of the game (like pitching and defense), and pay money for the biggest ticket in baseball to watch sluggers hit. Period. Big lights, big city, and everyone can understand and cheer for a home run. That’s the attraction. The stadium feels more like a mausoleum than a comfortable, warm home.

By comparison, would you like to know who our most iconic figure is? Seaver is wonderful, we all love Straw, Keith and Doc, but at the end of the day, we’re a goofy team in a big city with a history of futility. And to a man, we all love this guy:

A True Icon

A True Icon

Oddly enough, Colin Cowherd went on a rant regarding this very subject a few years back, on his ESPN Radio show:

Here’s what Mr. Cowherd doesn’t get, along with the majority of Yankee fans: we don’t take our team seriously, but we do take baseball seriously. Honestly, you guys are generally the opposite. Victory and adding to the championship rings is priority #1, and the rest is entirely secondary.

And to us, that’s a joyless existence when it comes to being a baseball fan. In the video above, Cowherd talks about how serious and historic the Yankees and their broadcasts are, the pomp and grandeur of it all, and how we need to be more like them. That’s kind of the point: to us, there’s no FUN in cheering for a team that has that sort of air about them. When your expectations are that high, and anything less than a World Series Championship is regarded as a failure (go ahead, ask Mr, Torre his feelings on that one), we’ll gladly take our team in Flushing, warts and all.

Admittedly, there is a generous amount of pretension in this attitude, but it comes from the right place. We moan and complain about the Seaver trade, the years of futility in the late 70s and early 80s, the wasted opportunities for what should have been more championships following 1986, Mo Vaughn and Robbie Alomar, Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, Adam Wainwright throwing the perfect curveball that will haunt me in my nightmares forever as Beltran could do nothing but watch it fall for a strike and the pennant, and two of the most heartbreaking, soul crushing losses to end a season in sports history, in back-to-back years for extra sting. And we embrace having the worst season in baseball history back in 1962 (seriously, we were all very concerned when the Tigers got close to that 120 loss mark in 2003). We take all this punishment, and we keep coming back for more. Want to know why? Because deep down inside, we feel it makes us better than Yankees fans. We’ll roll with the punches, embrace our futility, and still support our team. No matter what.

By comparison, whenever anything goes wrong with the Yankees, you sense their fans are ready to jump off the bandwagon at any given moment. You should have seen the comments Yankee friends of mine back home were making on Facebook after the 0-2 start to the season. You’d swear the season was over, and you could tell they wanted nothing to do with baseball until the team started winning. To us, there’s no fun in that. I say it often, and I’ll repeat it here: if the Mets only win one more World Series in my lifetime and the Yankees win ten, that will be just fine with me. Because I’ll get more joy out of that one championship than the average Yankee fan would out of those ten combined. I’ll feel like we earned it. Yes, our payroll is gigantic too, but there’s no accounting for the emotional toll of our team’s failure and incompetence, historically speaking.

That’s what drives us: in the end, the suffering makes the success that much more meaningful. And it’s something Yankees fans will never experience, much less understand.

Next week: Thoughts on Tiger at the Masters, reflections on Jackie Robinson Day, and a sneak peek inside the Upper Deck building.

Yes, in case you were wondering, we have lots of cool stuff. I’m going to do my best to make you feel jealous.

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19 Responses to “Why I Hate the Yankees: A Met Fan’s Manifesto”

  1. fullbodytransplant Says:

    Powerful, brilliant stuff.

    Please continue!

  2. MetsBlog.com » Links: Willie, Citi, Yankee Stadium, Murph and Sheff Says:

    […] of ballparks, Toby Wachter of the Upper Deck blog explains why, as a Mets fan, he hates the new Yankee […]

  3. khmustache Says:

    i’ve been trying to say this exact thing for years, but could never quite pull it off. wonderfully written.

  4. Sam Jacobs Says:

    You said it!!! I think the Spankees have some great history that all came to a head on January 3, 1973 when George Steinbrenner bought the team from CBS. Up to this point they were respectable. True, they still had some legendary players pass through their gates after this date – Mattingly, Munson, Reggie – but the air about them and their sense of entitlement (which is passed right along to their idiot fans) began to morph into its modern form at this point. Whatever, I can’t go through life worrying about what the Yankees do.
    Let’s Go Mets!

  5. UpperDeckDweller Says:

    That was an eloquent and accurate portrayal of Mets-fandom. This was the first time I’ve ever read this blog and I will come back for more after reading that post. I hate the Yankees and their fans’ snobby, entitled attitudes too.

  6. Noah Says:

    “I say it often, and I’ll repeat it here: if the Mets only win one more World Series in my lifetime and the Yankees win ten, that will be just fine with me.”

    I have been saying this for a long time as well, much to the shigrin of my Yankee fan friends who just don’t get it and feel offended whenever I say something like that…altering your expectations completely changes the way you experiece baseball. Look, it’s enough that the AL has had such a profound (I think negative) impact on the competitive balance of MLB, but it must be remembered at all times that BASEBALL IS A GAME OF FAILURE…respect comes from a natural ability to rise above such frequent failure, not to intentionally take advantage of a flawed system and subvert the compeitive process. I think fans of the National League (aka Mets fans) understand this on a deep, personal level, as they had their prior National League loves stripped from them before!

  7. metsgeekette Says:

    This is right on. Just last week, in response to an obnoxious know-nothing Yankees fan, I said: “Although, maybe I prefer that fans who only care about numbers and winning to stay with the Yankees. The Mets play the game with a little more heart and soul, and as a fan who truly loves baseball for baseball and not for rings…. I’ll take that any day”

  8. My Two Cents: Week of April 13th, 2009 « Crabapple Says:

    […] of baseball, Upper Deck blogger, Toby Wachter explains, in detail why as a Mets fan he hates the Yankees.  While I agree with everything he says he leaves out one very important factor in the history of […]

  9. cactus Says:

    wait, someone made an argument that yankee broadcasts are serious? are you kidding? jon sterling is like a comic book character. suzyn waldman is your idea of professional broadcasting? michael kay and his giant head (he needs it for his two faces)? all they do is unabashedly root for the yankees and talk about things going on other than the game.

  10. wrightintime Says:

    i’ve never even heard of colin cowherd and for probably good reason. This guy has zero good points and repeats the same stupid ****, and whats up with that lame voice he uses for a mets fan? I think I stopped doing that in uhhh 3rd grade yea this guy is soooo professional. He needs to worry about his own show being professional. Being a “True Baseball Fan” I absolutely love the mets through my years of playing the game i’ve played for great teams and i’ve played for attrocious teams we had a highschool team that went undeafeated and the year after with only 2 remaining starters and 0 returning pitchers we went 4 and 20, but bet your ass I had just as much if not more fun that year because I felt like the wins we got were earned. I was more proud of single wins that season and that’s what the mets embody. That never give up spirit that makes the victories that much sweeter. I have nothing against the yankees but i’m a baseball purist. I’d rather see a 1 to 0 game that the winning run started with a walk stolen base bunt over or sac fly to get the run in than a 17 – 14 college baseball like home run derby. Oh man college baseball is another rant topic why not go to wood bats already? but i will save that for another day.

  11. anon Says:

    your fiance is hot

  12. Matt Says:

    as a mets fan this article disgusts me. why would you care about the yankees? they dont matter. you sound pathetic and are embarrassing i mean as a mets fan how can you seriously write and i quote “we don’t take our team seriously, but we do take baseball seriously” thats ridiculous we dont take our team seriously? i hope people like you stop coming to the games and nonchalantly having a hot dog or whatever it is you do because we all know you just hope to beat the traffic and leave after the seventh inning stretch. stop writing garbage like this and embarrassing real mets fan who do take our team seriously.

    • Toby Wachter Says:

      Matt: The post was more to draw comparisons between the general attitude of Mets and Yankees fans. I can understand if you don’t agree with my perspective here, but I think it’s a stretch to say I’m not passionate about my team. If you saw my desk at work, the memorabilia I have at home and the Mets jerseys/shirts/hats in my closet, you’d think differently. I’m fairly obsessed :)

      We all cheer for this team in our own way. When I say I “don’t take it seriously”, I generally mean I don’t freak out over losses the way spoiled Yankees fans do.

  13. D.P. Says:

    Well done article. Finally, a well-thought writing about the mind of a Mets fan. My Yankee fan friends are nothing but what you write-casual fans, at best.

    By the way, Cowherd is a complete joke. He doesn’t really get it at all. Sterling is the biggest jerk of a play-by-play commentator on radio or TV-he doesn’t represent respect, just being pompous and arrogant. The Mets keep the Wild Card banners and the Apple and Mr. Met because it’s part of the team’s history. It’s a short history. We don’t have 100+ years of baseball and a bunch of titles we got in the ’20s and the ’50s because we weren’t around then. Since the Mets came into existence, the Yankees have won 5 titles(1977, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000), along with the pennant in 2003. The Mets have won 2 titles (1969, 1986), along with the pennant in 1973 and 2000.

  14. DJ JT Says:

    Brilliant… A diff point of view I’ve never thought of… Makes me even more proud to be a Mets fan… Let’s go back…
    btw… Cowherd is an idiot…

  15. Victor Says:

    I almost cried after reading this. You explained exactly why it is worth being a Mets fan through the heartbreaks and failures.

  16. Mike Says:

    I’m a Yankees fan and have been my whole life, I was born and raised that way. And you know what? You are 100% right. Every time we win, it’s expected. When we lose, it’s like a monumental collapse.

    And as a Jets and Islanders fan, I know what you mean when you say that one Mets WS win would mean more for you than 10 Yankee WS wins would be for me. And you’re probably right.

  17. Umer Says:

    Let me preface this by saying I am a Yankee fan (born and raised).

    Firstly, regarding your point about how Yankee fans do not pay attention to the intricacies of baseball (like pitching and defense), I completely disagree. I feel that the same percentage of Yankee fans pay attention to pitching and defense as do fans of other teams. Now of course there is a group of fans who do not realize how important those are, however this group is found in all fan bases, not exclusive to the Yankees. Don’t forget the Yankees spent a ton of money on CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, and also brought in a gold glove Mark Teixeira (defense) and didn’t hesitate to stick a soft hitting, solid defensive, Brett Gardner in centerfield to start the season.

    Secondly, you are correct, I do not care about ‘baseball’. I have said many times that I am not a baseball fan, I am a Yankee fan. Frankly, I am proud of being that way. I would much rather care about how well my team does and how they perform rather than being wowed at the wonderful fundamentals being displayed by the Pirates or the way the D-Backs pitcher bunted the man over to second. How can you really enjoy your team winning when you say ‘we don’t take our team seriously’? If that is the real mindset of a Mets fan, then I disagree with you: Yankee fans enjoy winning more than Mets fans (who don’t take their team seriously) do.

    Thirdly, have you seen the Yankees over the past 8 years? They have been victimized with World Series game 7 losing bloopers, upsets by wild card teams, a 3-0 ALCS loss to the bitter rivaled Red Sox and even completely missing the playoffs in 2008! And despite all this, the attendance and television ratings for Yankee games have been rising every single year. I do not know which bandwagon these fans are jumping off of. If memory serves me correctly, it is the Mets attendance that has been declining this season as the Mets continue to work there way closer to a higher draft pick. Yankee fans have been through more heart breaking moments than Mets fans have. What is more heart breaking? Losing a ton of games in 2009 or collapsing in 2007 and 2008. The closer you get to your goal, the bigger the hurt is. I am sure the curveball to Beltran in the NLCS hurt more than missing the playoffs in 2005 did. I know this because the bloop single in the 2001 World Series hurt more than missing the playoffs in 2008.

    You ‘roll with the punches and still support your team’ because you ‘don’t take your team seriously’. The Yankees are more emotionally invested in their team, the fans are hurt more than Mets fans are when they lose and probably happier when they win. Do not take a look at some bandwagon fans and use them as examples of real Yankee fans.

    Fourthly, this may be a foreign concept, but Yankee fans actually do get happy when their team wins championships. They do not sit in the bleachers when Charlie Hayes squeezes the third out in the 9th inning of the World Series and say ‘oh well, this was what I thought would happen, now that it’s finally over, lets go home’. Instead they say ‘YEA!!!! WE DID IT!!!!’ Another generality gone wrong. Most Yankee fans aren’t stupid enough to ‘expect’ another World Series Championship every single season because if it were that simple we would have won one every single year. Yankee fans know the playoffs are a crap shoot and anything can happen there. If the Yankees are out early, yes we are disgusted, only because we want to figure out what to do to make ourselves better for the next season.

    My final comment is you do not have to be a laughing stock to fully enjoy your first taste of success. Yankee fans can enjoy a world series win just as much as Mets fans can. Now if the Yankees do win 10 in a short period of time, then each one will be less enjoyable that the preceding one, but we will have more total enjoyment than a Mets fan would with 1.
    There is a fine line between success following failure and success following embarrassment.

  18. ma Says:

    i guess it’s easier to never expect anything from your team…then you never get disappointed.

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