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There are 29 other teams out there

Yankees fans sometimes guess why fans of other teams hate the Yankees. Most of the time they guess that it's because other fans are jealous of the Yankees' success, the team's talent, and the amount of money they have to spend.

There's truth to that, but using that reason is too easy. When Yankees fans say that, they're really complimenting their own team and absolving the Yankees from all blame at the same time. And that's because many of them can't stop turning the conversation into "all Yankees greatness all the time." No introspection. No admissions. So charming.

And that is probably what irritates me the most about the Yankees and many of their fans. Not only do they care too much about their own team -- like it's the only team on the planet -- but they do it so much that they're utterly clueless about the other teams in baseball.

That's what makes Michael Kay, the leading play-by-play announcer for the Yankees' superstation, YES, the perfect figurehead for the team's many fans. Because he's often behaving in a condescending manner to other team's players. I don't know how many times he's made a ridiculous observation about an opposing player and I've screamed at the television, "EVERYONE KNOWS THAT, YOU TWIT!!!!"

The latest example was with Lance Berkman, who actually isn't an opposing player, but a new acquisition by the Yankees.

Kim Jones, the YES network's sideline reporter, was doing her on-air bit about the new player, clueing viewers into who Berkman is. I sat stunned as Jones recited basic facts about Berkman that practically any baseball fan would know -- or at least should know. Then Jones got to Berkman's nicknames. He actually has two of them, Jones said, giddy with what she was about to say. Then she revealed them, as if she was breaking the biggest secret on the planet.

Berkman's nicknames are "The Big Puma" and "Fat Elvis," she said with a giggle in her voice. She added that Lance didn't care which nickname was used and that he didn't mind either one.

Kay, in his usual clueless manner, grilled Jones over the nicknames, incredulous that Berkman would allow anyone to call him "Fat Elvis."

Meanwhile, I was practically bubbling over in my chair as I listened.


Kay continued on with his discovery of how cooperative Berkman was with the media, and how friendly he was. Like, Jones, Kay acted like he had unearthed a centuries old secret. Berkman cooperative and friendly? Who knew?

I couldn't stand it. They were talking about a guy who had played in the majors for 10 years, was a five-time All-Star, had a career batting average over .300 until this year, had played in a World Series, and had hit more than 300 career home runs. And the crack staff at YES was acting like he was a rookie just called up from Scranton-Wilkes Barre.


(This was the point where my daughter, in her "everything is going to be all right voice," said: "Dad, dad, calm down ... it's just baseball. Calm down.")

I know what people are going to say. That's just YES. They're TV buffoons. Blah, blah.

I'd agree, but I've dealt with this same mind-set my whole life. I'm still not over Yankees fans acting like Bucky Dent was the greatest shortstop in baseball. That would be mere homerism, if it wasn't combined with them not even having a hint of an idea of who Robin Yount and Alan Trammell were.

And this scenario has played itself out over and over and over again. "Hey, I just saw that Matt Kemp guy on TV. He looks pretty good. The Yankees should try to get him."


Yankees fans are always getting credit on YES for their knowledge of the game. I just wish a few more of them knew and respected players on other teams.

Listen, I'm a Dodger fan. And there are many fans of teams like the Padres and Giants who say some Dodger fans behave toward them like Yankees fans behave toward the rest of major league baseball.

I agree. I'm sure there are a few. There are those kinds of fans with every team. I, personally, like the idea of dismissing the Padres and Giants because their histories just can't match the Dodgers. But I do know their teams' players and respect them -- some of them anyway.

It's just SO PERVASIVE with the Yankees. Ignoring the opponent seems almost like a prerequisite for rooting for the team. I am pretty certain that there are a few Yankee fans who have no idea who Miguel Cabrera is, and if Cabrera wins the A.L. MVP award over Robinson Cano, they'll get all obnoxious.

Here is a prime example of the insular nature of some Yankee fans: Too many damn people in New York are obsessed with when A-Rod is going to hit his 600th home run.

I, like a lot of people, couldn't care less when he hits it or if he hits it. It means nothing to at least 80 percent of the people who follow baseball. In fact, if it helps the Yankees lose a few more games, I hope he never hits it and the New York media talks about it forever.

Maybe then some players on some of those other 29 teams will sneak up on them in the playoffs  and the Yankees won't know what hit them, because everyone spent the last two months worried about Alex Rodriguez.

That probably won't happen, because I think the Yankees' team knows who those others guys and those other 29 teams are.

Now, if they would only clue in the New York fans and the media, I could stop yelling at my TV.


Dodgerbobble said…
I know I'm gonna sound like an obnoxious Dodger fan, but that's why I love Vin Scully. You will never hear him acting stuck up or clueless. This may be Vin's last year calling Dodger games, and the team stinks, but he's still a class act.
Kevin said…
Heck, sometimes Yankee fans don't even know their OWN players. There was this obnoxious Yankee fan at my college, and in the midst of a conversation about the team he mentioned Al Leiter, but pronounced it as "Liter" (like the measurement). My eyes nearly rolled completely out of my skull.
Jordan said…
You may be right. Those clueless announcers on YES sometimes make Yankee fans hate the Yankees. And A-rod...we Yankee fans don't care if he doesn't hit that homer. We're Yankee fans, we're used to disappointment- oh wait, nevermind.
John Bateman said…
In the spring of 2009, I was doing a lot of traveling in the New York and caught Michael Kay on ESPN - I eventually learned that you can listen to his show through - I Just think he is great and so is is show from 3-7 pm - I try to catch if I can - There is so much to talk about Yankee Mets baseball and the other NY sports et....
Two Packs A Day said…
I feel bad for Berkman - not only does he suck with the yankees - .182 BA and 1 RBI in 3 games - he looks ugly in a yankees uniform.

Kerry wood does, too.

Maybe it just takes time to get used to them in their new uniforms rather than looking at berkman and superimposing through imagination the astros uniform on him.

AROD - I love how it's taking forever for him to get HR #600. It's just wasting away his career game by game so hopefully he won't become the new all-time HR champ at the end of his career.

Isn't it also costing him a lot of money since the Yankees and him may still have their homer milestone bonus in his contract?
Anonymous said…
I didn't know Berkman's nicknames. Perhaps many New Yorkers did what I did during the 2005 WS and MUTED Fox so I didn't have to listen to McCarver.
(...Joe) said…
I wear my Mets hat to work everyday and start conversations with other people wearing baseball stuff. 10/10 people wearing something from the "other"29 teams recognize that I'm a Mets fan without me telling them. 9/10 Yankee fans, have no idea I'm a Mets fan until I say something about it. Their usual reaction is "Oh, I thought that was a Yankee hat. I can never tell difference." Also, keep in mind that I'm wearing a 2009 batting practice hat, blue with orange piping. It really is amazing how little the average Yankee fan knows about the game.
Bo said…
I'm a Yankee fan who had heard of Puma but not Fat Elvis. He may have been good once but he plays like the real fat Elvis now. All three of these new guys they got look like duds. I was at last night's game and Berkman and Kearns were both lousy.

As for 2005 World Series, once the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs I'm usually too angry at baseball to watch much postseason, especially when it's two teams I really don't have a strong opinion about.

And yeah, Michael Kay is a tool. But he's OUR tool.
Orioles Magic said…
I so agree with your entire post. You really captured my feelings every 8 or 9 times a season that Oriole Park is invaded by Yankees fans.
longlivethewho said…
People hate the Yankees? Really? I am shocked.

I think you are under-estimating the Yankees importance to Major League Baseball. Not only are we far and away the most popular team in the sport, we also keep many teams financially afloat through revenue sharing. We increase awareness of the game in other countries (hello, Asia) and the famed interlocking logo is a global icon. Take the Yankees (and Red Sox) out of baseball, and the MLB will have trouble staying popular and relevant.

I can't speak for every Yankees fan, but I'm quite aware of what's going on in the rest of the league and value a lot of players on different teams. One of my favorite players (Halladay) pitched against the Yanks for a majority of his career while other players I like (Denard Span, Nick Markakis, Jered Weaver) compete against New York regularily. I respect other teams in the league and their success and am not completely ignorant to what's going on.

With that being said, I'll just be yelled at again for being a Yankees lover and no one will care what I type. Ironic huh?

By the way, we all know Michael Kay sucks as a color commentator. We just take it with a grain of salt.
night owl said…
Personally, I like Yankees fans who have great knowledge of other teams and players. It's disarming and charming, and a great character trait for a fan -- any fan -- to have.
gcrl said…
good golly i hate that yankees announcer. i don't know any yankee fans except for a guy i traded with when i was a kid. i got a lot of bob welch rookie cards from him because i would remind him of welch striking out reggie in the 78 series and he would hand them over like they were smallpox infected blankets.
here in twins territory, the yankees may be more tolerable than the white sox from what i have seen.
longlivethewho said…
I like baseball in general. I was grown to the Yankees because of their storied history (Gehrig, Mantle, Yankee Stadium) more than anything.

Anyone that blogs is pretty knowledgable about the league and its players, and not strictly to one team. Hell, the only reason I remember all these players is because of baseball cards and video games. Would I remember Alex Cora if I didn't collect?

Baseball cards makes his more intelligent baseball fans. And I think I found my next post idea.
Anonymous said…
I had to admit more than a little schadenfreude when NYY fans came to find out what the rest of baseball fans already had known, that "Donnie Baseball" was not HOF material.
steelehere said…
Growing up in LA, I was able to pick up San Diego radio (and occasionally Television) on warm, clear summer nights. As a result, I've become familiar with the super-annoying Ted Leitner who's been calling San Diego Padre games (along with Jerry Coleman) since 1980.

Between Leitner's contant opinionated rants (L.A. the city stinks) and his narcistic (My Padres) comments after every play, I want to throw up. I'm convinced Leitner went overboard campaigning for Coleman's HOF candidancy a few years ago just to remove a potential obstacle (Coleman not elected) to his own candidacy.

As for Coleman, supposedly to this day Vin Scully won't acknowledge him because Jerry stole Red Barber's signature "Oh Doctor" line without giving Red any credit.

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