As loyal readers know, I've washed my hands of the New York Mets pending a change in ownership. As a result, I no longer agonize over their pitiful plight.
But, having suffered through the epic collapses of 2007 and '08, I have a special empathy for fans of the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox. Both teams seem to be doing everything possible to blow their chances of earning a Wild Card spot in the upcoming post-season playoffs. The Bosox demise is especially dramatic considering they actually sat astride the top of the A.L. East on September 1st. But, hey, that's nothing compared to the all-time worst collapse in MLB perpetrated by the Omar Minaya-created, Willie Randolph-led Mets of a few years back.
It takes guts to root for teams that routinely disappoint their fans. In fact, I find rooting for the Yankees both easy and a major league cop out. The team has the largest payroll in baseball, routinely grabs the best available free agents and, as a result, is almost a shoe-in to win their division each and every season. Rooting for the Yankees is akin to cheering for Facebook, Google or Microsoft. Sure, they dominate the world, but what joy comes from witnessing the launch of yet another breakthrough product or service? Give me a rough-and-tumble rags-to-riches story any time.
In fact, I think the more aggressive and obnoxious Yankees fans should be hauled into a court of public opinion and handed one of two sentences:
– Those fans who have been arrogant, patronizing jerks, year-in and year-out for the past decade, should be sentenced to rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For those not familiar with that woeful franchise, the Pirates hold the all-time record for most consecutive losing seasons by any professional team in any sport (a season or two of that would teach humility to the most hateful Yankees fan).
– Those Yankees fans whose fathers and grandfathers were arrogant, obnoxious rooters and have, in turn, passed along their superiority complex to the next generation, should be forced to suffer a special sort of hell: rooting for the Chicago Cubs in perpetuity. Since the Cubs haven't won a World Series in 103 years and seem cursed to have at least another century of doom and gloom ahead, the sentence would oh-so-fitting. Just imagine a Yankees fan who's used to boasting about scores and scores of pennants and World Series titles being saddled, instead, with the curse of the goat and the very real prospect of never living to see the Cubs play in, much less, win a World Series. Seems to me that sentence would more than fit the crime.
And, so as I dream about bad things for the Yankees and their fans, I do want the Tomahawk types and Red Sox Nation to know they are not suffering in isolation. I feel your pain and, if it's any consolation, I've been where you are.
So, here's a suggestion we can all get behind: let's transfer all that negative energy and angst at your teams' collapse and transfer it, instead, to rooting for whatever team challenges the Bronx Bombers in post season. I can't speak for Braves and Red Sox fans, but the next best thing to watching the Mets win is seeing the Yankees lose.