I Don't Like the New York Yankees

I Don't Like the New York Yankees

With all due respect to those who believe Illmatic to be Nas's best effort, and perhaps a top-5 all-time hip-hop album* (according to Adewale OgunleyeDerek Schultz at 1260AM, and many more in the rap cognoscenti), I actually prefer It Was Written. Truth be told, I was never much of a Nas fan to begin with, so maybe it's just the commercial success of his sophomore LP that caught my attention.

I Gave You Power is a phenomenal cut, a soulful personification told from the point of view of a gun that's at the same time baleful and cautionary.  But the track that launched the album into the mainstream was If I Ruled the World, which featured Lauren Hill singing the hook. Riding the tidal wave of her Fugees' fame, Hill made Nas' music much more palatable to those unfamiliar with his style.

But despite the presence of more popular songs, it's Affirmative Action to which I turn when thinking about the New York Yankees. That's because in the opening lines, Nas laments the fact that "[people] don't understand the four devils: lust, envy, hate, jealousy."

My buddy John Arguello over at Cubs Den wrote a great piece the other day urging readers to understand how the Cardinals got to where they are before envying them. And I totally agree with that when it comes to the Cards because I see them make savvy moves with prospects and free agents, see them taking guys no one's ever heard of and turning them into All-Stars.

And as much as I do envy the success the Redbirds have experienced, particularly of late, I don't hate them. But the Yankees. Oh, the Yankees. Those pinstriped denizens of the palatial alabaster ballpark in the Bronx draw my ire like no other team in baseball.

While I admire their drive to win at all costs, it's that same full-throttle, no-governor spending that causes my temper to redline. They have legions of "fans" all across the nation, yet how many of them are simply riding a bandwagon that's packed tighter than the No. 4 train 30 minutes prior to gametime?

At their recent pinnacle, the Yanks were a homegrown team (Jeter, Posada, Rivera) surrounded by solid vets (Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill). Since then, they've become a churn and burn team throwing more money on the fire in the hopes that the flames will once again reach higher than those in Boston.

Hate is a strong word, to be sure, but that's how I feel about the Yankees. Of course, I'm also jealous of them and of the success they routinely expect and strive for. I'm envious of their rich history and I lust after the World Series trophies they have on display.

I just don't want to see it done the way the Bronx Bombers are doing it now, with more mercenaries than an Expendables movie. So for now I'll just continue to drink the whine from my sour grapes, keeping an eye on this interleague tilt, which has now been distilled to just a single day, and hoping that the fortunes of the two participants will soon be reversed.

Okay, maybe not necessarily reversed, since the Yanks are also below .500 right now and missed the playoffs last year, but you get what I mean. I think. Oh, and I could also do without giving huge contracts to aging vets.

So here's to sweeping the Yankees in New York, or at least beating Masahiro Tanaka (for whom I had openly pined) in the Game 1 of the double-header. And here's to showing that you can build from within, even if it takes a while and forces bloggers to find new ways to justify the pain of watching a team that's just not very competitive.

And to the New York Yankees and their fans, I offer you my most sincere and heartfelt Bronx cheer. Pbbbt!

*My top 5, not necessarily in any particular order and subject to change daily:

  • Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
  • Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle
  • Ice Cube - The Predator
  • Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP

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  • Somehow, I don't think the Yankees care whether you like them or not.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    It's still nice to tell them. Say it loud and proud: "I hate the Yankees."

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Instead of wasting energy hating them, emulate them.

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    So I personally should spend a bunch of money on stuff? The Cubs don't hate them, nor should the Cubs try to buy their way around their issues.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Winning baseball championships has nothing to do with how you personally spend your money. We're talking about the business model of a professional sport. What the Yankees do is one way of being successful. Isn't that what the Cub fans want?

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Yes, but your earlier comment recommended emulating rather than wasting energy hating. The Cubs don't hate the Yankees, so the only people hating them would be myself and/or other Cubs fans. Therefore, you're exhorting me to emulate the Yankees. Is that a nitpicky issue with semantics? Sure.

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I heard that Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner were in tears upon reading the headline, so...

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Also, George Steinbrenner published his usual advertisements about being sorry that the Yankees didn't meet expectations, whatever that means.

  • I don't think Cubs fans have anything about which to hate the Yankees, at least since Ruth calling his shot.

    Now, if you were in the AL in the 1950s, for instance, where Cleveland and the Sox were the only ones to break their runs of WS appearances, that would be different.

    The reference to under .500 provides the solace that you can't buy a championship. All the contract kvetching with A Rod (preceding the suspension mess) also seems to prove that buying mercenaries isn't necessarily the answer. However, at least the Yankees aren't "wait until next year" for 105 years.

  • Sorry, "Illmatic" was better than "it was written". great top 5 btw - but no PE "It takes a nation of milliions"?

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I didn't want to get into my general distaste for all things New York, which extends to rap as well. Sort of. I don't intentionally go out of my way to dislike music from the East Coast, but when I was really coming into my own in terms of my musical proclivities, the West Coast sound was getting huge: Death Row, Cube, etc. I love Wu-Tang, but their sound was from another planet (Shaolin) and not necessarily a part of the NYC stuff. I got more into the heavier bass and style of the west over what was really a more melodic and lyrically-driven sound in the east. I'm probably the only person on earth who feels the way I do about Illmatic, but that's my opinion and it's why I went ahead and put it right out front.

  • I don't listen to a ton of different rap, but I'm really into Eminem. Glad to see the MMLP is in your top 5. Have you heard the 'sequel,' and what do you think?

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    In reply to justinjabs:

    I love MMLP2, along with everything else he's done. Relapse was a little iffy but had its moments, but his most recent album is excellent, particularly from a lyrical point of view. The shock value of Em's delivery and topics tend to overshadow it, but he in an incredible lyricist; sometimes I have to hear things several times before I actually put together what he's really saying. He talks about, and I had long assumed, the fact that he's somewhere on the autism spectrum. Asperger's is apparently no longer an actual diagnosis, but Em displays all the characteristics that had been associated with it: social awkwardness, learning disability, lack of empathy, etc. But despite not finishing high school, he's got the ability to work words in ways that make the most learned and practiced poets jealous.

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