This week the Yankees captured yet another World Series. Combined with our beloved Mets, the two New York teams have now combined for 29 Championships. In the tradition of Donn Clendenon and Ray Knight, Hideki Matsui was named Series MVP. The Yankees got a memorable HR from A-Rod, much like Al Weis in 69. Johnny Damon stole a game with a brilliant play on the basepaths, similar to J C Martin against the Orioles. The final out was recorded with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. We had our closer on the mound for the final out in 86, too. A team from New York, playing its first season in a new stadium, brought home their 44th combined pennant followed days later by a World Series flag…
OK, come on people. I’m trying. Work with me…
I found it ironic that both League Championships were decided just before Halloween. For Mets fans is there anything more frightening and horrifying then a World Series between the Yankees and Phillies? The two teams we hate, despise and loathe the most battling it out on national TV while we Mets fans sat and stared in disbelief. With apologies to Charles Dickens, ‘twas the worst of times, ‘twas the worst of times.
We debated the lesser of two evils, trying to decide which enemy we would rather see lose. If there was ever a time where Bud Selig should have cancelled the World Series, this was as good a time as any. The choice was not easy. It was like someone asking, “Would you rather be poked in the right eye with a sharp object or poked in the left eye with a sharp object?” Either way the end result is going to be painful.
For me I chose to “root” for the Yankees, keeping in mind I have hated that team since childhood. The first words I ever spoke were ‘Momma,’ ‘Dadda’ and ‘Yankees suck.’ Although I’ve disliked the Yankees longer, I despise the Phillies more. When all is said and done, what the Yankees do really has no effect on us. They are our rivals only in the sports pages. The Phillies, however, are our rivals on the field. For me the choice was somewhat simple: Do I have more loyalty to New York or to a bunch of clubs in a group called ‘The National League?’ And lets be honest. We all KNOW that had the Phillies been victorious, we’d be subjected to Jimmy Rollins boasting about how his club beat yet another team from New York.
To the casual fan or outsider, it’s a very simple connection: The team with the biggest payroll won. This is a nightmare for the likes of Bud Selig and small market teams from coast to coast. However, the Yankees showed us a valuable lesson. It’s not how much you spend but how you spend. We all shook our heads in disgust when The Evil Empire handed over a quarter of a billion dollars for Sabathia and Burnett. Of the 11 post-season wins needed to win it all, those 2 pitchers accounted for 4. However, it was the veteran big game pitcher Andy Pettitte who accounted for 4 more all on his own. Without Pettitte the Yankees don’t win. And without Sabathia and Burnett, they also don’t win.
I think that is something we need to keep in mind as we head into a crucial winter. It seems like the long term future of our team will be decided over the next few months. We have plenty of issues that need to be addressed. In addition to Reyes’ hamstring, we have to replace Delgado’s big bat at 1B. We are concerned with the fact that David Wright hit only 234 after returning from his concussion. We have to do something drastic about the big drop off from Johan to the rest of the staff.
As much as it pains me to say this, perhaps we can learn something from that other team. The key to winning is not just signing the biggest names to the biggest contracts. Instead it’s using the money wisely. The idea is not to build a team of big names, but to build a winner. We have the money. We have the revenue. We have the fan support. We have our own ‘Core Four.’ What we don’t have is a winner. Hopefully, this winter Omar can change that.
So, to the Yankees, I say ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for shutting up Jimmy Rollins. Thank you for bringing the hated Phillies down a bit. Thank you for bringing a championship back to the greatest city in America. However pitchers and catchers report in a little over 3 months. That’s when we can start hating the Yankees again.