CJ Kaplan to Yankees supporters: It’s called losing gracefully. Try it.
Dear Fans of the New York Yankees,
I know you must be feeling some disappointment and shock after watching your team get unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs last night. What you’re experiencing right now is the pain of unmet expectations and unfulfilled dreams. Believe me, as a Red Sox fan, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been feeling that way since May. But, as you navigate your way through the grieving process, let me make one small request on behalf of the rest of baseball fandom.
Stop talking about your 27 championships. Nobody cares.
Note to non-Yankee fan readers: If you’ve been on any social networks over the past fifteen hours, you’ve doubtlessly read all the posts from your Yankee fan friends that go something like:
“Yeah, well at least we have 27 World Series titles. How many do you have?”
This childish expostulation is, unfortunately, the Yankee fan’s only coping mechanism. They sing its ineffectual refrain after every playoff loss or season collapse. Sad, really.
Now, listen my pinstriped friends, you have every right to be proud of your team’s storied past. The Yankee front offices must surely be littered with empty champagne bottles, trophies and locker room detritus from championships dating back to the dawn of baseball right up through 2009. But, here’s the thing. It’s doesn’t make up for the epic failure that your squad just submitted this past week. However, since you’re so obsessed with numbers (at least the number 27), let me throw a few digits from the 4-game Detroit Series at you right now.
• .157-The Yankee team batting average
• 6-Total number of runs the Yankees scored
• 22-Total number of hits for the Yankees
• 3-Total number of Yankee home runs
• 1-for-18-Robinson Canoe
• 3-for-15-Mark Teixieira
• 2-for-14-Russell Martin
• 29 million-Number, in dollars, the Yankees paid A-Rod to be the world’s most expensive and least effective cheerleader
• 867-5309-The number the girl A-Rod was flirting with wrote on the baseball he gave to her. (This is not true, but wouldn’t it be great if is were?)
Those are some pretty lousy stats no matter how many times you say the number 27 after them.
Let me bounce a couple of more numbers off you.
• The Montreal Canadiens have 24 championships, almost as many as the Yankees.
• The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have 17 and 16 championships respectively. Since the NBA has only held championships going back to 1950 compared to baseball which has had the World Series for well over 100 years, both the Celtics and the Lakers better championship winning percentages than the Yankees.
I point this out because none of these fan bases ever directs your attention to the banners hanging in the rafters after a tough playoff loss. They may whine and carry on about other things like the refereeing or the coaching or the lack of decent parking, but they never waste time looking back.
Side Note #2: It kills me to say nice things about Canadiens and Lakers fans. But, it’s true.
Let me put this in perspective for you. They once asked the great running back Jim Brown why he didn’t spike the ball or do any celebration dances when he scored a touchdown.
“When you get into the end zone,” he growled, “you should act like you’ve been there before.”
That goes for losing as well as winning, Yankee fans. It’s time to stop pretending that you always triumph and own up to the fact that your team lost.
Until Opening Day next year the New York Yankees are, by definition, losers.
And all the previous championships in the world won’t change that.
Enjoy the off-season. I know I will.
Photo—Carlos Osorio, Associated Press / SF