It’s not healthy to hate … but there’s always one thing that can get your blood boiling. For most Red Sox fans, that’s the New York Yankees, who will open the season at Fenway Park on Sunday at 8 p.m. (NESN).
And this 2010 version? Oh, there’s plenty to sneer at.
Sure, things have gotten better — barely — now that the Boston Red Sox have two of their own World Series rings to boast about. But yet, the Yankees remain 204 miles to the south, acting all … well, Yankee-like.
Without further ado, here are the Top 10 reasons to hate the 2010 New York Yankees.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. The Yankees always have and always will be able to outspend any other team on the planet. Their 2010 payroll is projected to be $209,976,714, according to Cot’s Contracts, which would be a record high (for the Yankees and baseball) and the fourth time in six seasons the payroll has cracked the magic $200 million barrier.
For comparison, the Florida Marlins check in with a projected payroll of $40,460,000 — or a scant $7.64 million more than Alex Rodriguez will pull down manning the hot corner for the Yanks.
The pinstripes are a symbol of all of the Yankees’ success and tradition. Players constantly talk about getting a chance to put on the pinstripes — and not just because it makes them look slimmer. It’s like a mating call sometimes. Those thin navy lines stretch out for all eternity and somehow are very effective at taunting visitors.
Pinstripes have been around for ages, dating back to prehistoric times. Only “The Evil Empire” would select a feature that suggests the team has always been, and always will be, king of the mountain.
Yankee Stadium is (affectionately?) called “The Toilet” by anti-Yankee fans (due to the stadium being shaped as such) and has been the home of many a frustrating Red Sox loss. When the Yankees moved into the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, they entered a park that somehow made them even better.
The close proximity of the right-field wall made it painfully easy for left-handed hitters to hit home runs. Sometimes, it felt like the Yanks could bunt a home run over the fence. With a lefty-heavy lineup, the new feature played right into New York’s hands … and so starts a new cycle of frustrating losses in The Toilet.
Derek Jeter, at age 35, somehow completely reinvented his defense to become pretty decent at shortstop. He also posted his fourth-best batting average (.334) and home run total (18) while tying his third-most steals (30) in his 15 seasons.
Joining Jeter around the fountain of youth is catcher Jorge Posada, who notched an .885 OPS at age 37, which is close to unheard of for a catcher.
But that’s not all. Mariano Rivera is the team’s resident Rip Van Winkle at 39 years of age, and his 44 saves were the most since 2004, with his ERA a maddeningly low 1.76.
Andy Pettitte, at 37, won 14 games, barely lost out on 200 innings and functioned as a very capable No. 3 starter.
There’s got to be something in the water down there.
Not only do the Yankees age like fine wine, they keep bringing in young superstars. Ace CC Sabathia joined New York in 2009 as a 28-year-old while Mark Teixeira played his first season in the Bronx at age 29. Now, the Yanks get another decade-plus of use out of them while players break down in every other city.
But wait, it gets better. New York brought in Curtis Granderson to man center field this season, and he’s 29. Nick Johnson may be on the wrong side of 30, but he’s got plenty more years ahead of him at age 31. Pitchers Joba Chamberlain (24) and Phil Hughes (23) can’t even rent cars yet.
To make things worse, New York has one of the best hitting prospects in the minor leagues (Jesus Montero) on its way.
And you just know at least one of Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee or Jayson Werth will don those accursed pinstripes for 2011.
One reason why Detroit fans were so upset about losing Granderson was because he’s just so gosh-darn likable. He was the most popular Tiger on the team — and suddenly, he’s part of the Evil Empire.
As Samara Pearlstein of Roar of the Tigers says:
Sending him to the Yankees is like … it is like taking the most beautiful thing you can imagine — say a kitten with enormous eyes and soft fur, sitting on a bed of fresh flowers under a rainbow while butterflies soar above it and Mozart plays in the background — and setting it on fire, then dumping it into an open sewer, then setting the sewer on fire, then putting that fire out with nuclear waste, then having sex with a bunch of half-decayed donkey corpses, and throwing those onto the nuclear waste sewer, and setting fire to the whole thing again.
Sounds about right. How can you root against a guy that makes Tiger fans conjure up those strange visions?
You know who else is likable? CC Sabathia. Don’t forget A.J. Burnett, the inventor of the “pie in the face after a walk-off win.” For all of Robinson Cano‘s flash, he likes to have fun on the field too.
And, of course, there’s the garrulous Nick Swisher, who makes a habit of dating Playboy Playmates and making cameos on How I Met Your Mother. He’s the Yankees’ Kevin Millar.
Nope, these aren’t your slightly older cousin’s Kevin Brown and Gary Sheffield teams.
Look at that picture up there with Rodriguez and Posada having the time of their lives. It’s enough to make your blood run cold.
Who can forget that whirlwind offseason prior to the 2004 season when it looked like the Red Sox were going to acquire a new franchise shortstop in A-Rod? And not only that, but Rodriguez was going to take a pay cut to come to town. You don’t see that often.
The pesky players’ association stepped in to nix the trade, then the Yankees swooped in with their own offer and brought A-Rod to the Bronx. Suddenly, he was an enemy.
Plenty of people got a kick out of Jason Varitek introducing A-Rod to his glove in July of that year. He further angered Red Sox fans with his purple-lipped, slap-happy postseason, but Sox fans could take solace in the fact that Rodriguez couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn once the calendar flipped to October. When he later admitted to taking steroids, it seemed like things couldn’t get better for the A-Rod haters.
Well, no longer. He’s not only a very rich man, but he now has playoff success and a ring.
Maybe all of the above would be OK to deal with if the Yankees hadn’t gotten their 27th World Series ring, with manager Joe Girardi sporting that number all season long as an indication of the team’s final goal.
The Yankees were tolerable as long as their quest for a ring remained intact, as long as their 26 World Series rings were solidly in the past. If they didn’t get another ring for 100 years, that was OK. They had plenty.
There was something fun about the Yankees spending tons of money just to completely fall flat on their face in October as they desperately tried to erase the horrible stigma of no ring since 2000.
Now, the Yankees are back to being the king of the hill in everything – money, stars, glitz, glamor, mystique and aura. On top of that, they’re World Series champions.
Ever meet a Yankee fan who thought it was a God-given right that players get to experience the joy of playing for New York? Thought so.
After all, it’s not like any other team can win the World Series or give a player the attention he deserves.
Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest fell in this category, back when the jury was still out on whether Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer would stay in town or not. While discussing the prospect of Mauer being traded to the Yankees, Silva said that “Mauer deserves the big stage of New York.”
Wow, that’s a pretty strong word — deserve.
At least there are some Yankees fans out there who understand. After Silva received flak for his words, he posted a rebuttal and made it even worse by saying, ”Why should great players be denied this environment? Why shouldn’t they be rewarded for their talents with sports immortality?”
Ted Williams never played for the Yankees. Neither did such luminaries as Willie Mays or Nolan Ryan. Immortality’s not a problem for them.
It’s just that simple, folks. Forget all the other reasons. The only reason needed is that they’re the Yankees. The only thing certain in life is death, taxes and hating the Yankees. That’s how the saying goes, right?