At 7:57 PM ET this evening the Yankees will, I hope, take the field for the game that will sew up the World Series. If they don't, they will have one more shot, as my daughter tried to reassure me on Monday, "It's OK if the Phillies win, Mommy, because the Yankees still have another chance." I applaud her positive outlook, but I will have to reinforce at some point that it is never OK if the (insert other team's name here) win. This is the Yankees. My team since birth and beyond.
Saturdays at my house growing up were a late breakfast/lunch (basically when my dad got up and went out to get eggs, bacon or sausage, and hard rolls—he always shopped for each day, not for the week ahead) and the inevitable ball-game on television. My brother and I would be playing outside or in our rooms, and whenever we would breeze through our dad would tell us what Thurman Munson or Catfish Hunter or Bobbie Murcer were up to and who was winning. Most of the time it wasn't the Yankees. I learned to keep score at a young age and different baseball card flipping games that my dad must have mastered in his childhood in the Bronx. The Yankees were his team, and by extension ours, too. We lived in New Jersey, still close enough to drive up for a special day at Yankee Stadium. We never got any sports items from shopping at the Ocean County Mall. We attended Ball Day, Hat Day, Bat Day. I wish I still had my Roy White baseball bat...
It's easy to hate the Yankees, because they represent the whole New York attitude of being the center of the universe. They have all that money and talent at their disposal. But no one gets madder at the Yanks than a true fan, who watches in exasperation as Alex Rodriguez (I will not call him A-Rod anymore) fans that last pitch for a strikeout, or Jorge Posada drops that ball as someone slides into home plate. I can still hear my dad's voice calling them "bums" or his generation's A-Rod (used descriptively, not specifically), Reggie Jackson, who when he struck out or committed some equally heinous non-winning act, earned the moniker along with the rest of his team, "a spoiled bunch of millionaires."
As my wise-beyond-her-years little girl seems to know, there will be another game, if not tomorrow—next season—so a true fan forgives the bobbles and errors and sheer inability to get on base and comes back for more.
But I'd prefer that they win tonight. C'mon Yanks.