Today, we begin a recurring Smack Zone series, How to Win an Argument with a ______ Fan. Our goal with these quick-and-dirty lists is to provide support material for the next time you find yourself in a sports bar smack down and need to put a particularly obnoxious fan in his or her place.
(Or, if you happen to love the team in question, feel free to use this material to prepare your rebuttal. You're welcome.)
We can think of no better place to start than the Bronx, home of the 27-time World Series champions (and 13-time World Series losers).
Without further ado, here are 11 unassailable, 100-percent factual and historically accurate points that will help you win an argument with a New York Yankees fan:
- Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling might be lovely people, but in the booth they are just the worst. It’s hard to tell if Yankees fans actually like the Yankees broadcasters, or if they merely tolerate them. Either way, here is audible proof that there’s just nothing worse in baseball.
Start with Sterling:
And this gem from Waldman:
Owowowow. My ears.
2. Sure, they’ve won 27 World Series. But they’ve also LOST 13 of them. Granted, that means they have won the American League title 40 times, but what good are those other 13 if they couldn’t finish the job?
3. They were on the wrong end of the most significant post-season hit in baseball history, Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7-winning home run
for the Pirates in the 1960 World Series. What’s worse is the Yankees actually led the series, 2-0, before losing three in a row. Then they won Game 6 12-0 and had all the momentum in the world before Maz put them out of their misery in the ninth inning of Game 7.
4. They lost the 1995 ALDS to the Mariners after leading 2-0. What made this particularly brutal was that it was the only time during Don Mattingly’s
long Yankees career that they made the playoffs. It was the last, fading echo of the Lost Decade of the 1980s.
5. Speaking of the 1980s … they mostly sucked. Sure, Mattingly and Dave Winfield were OK. But you talk about all that “great” Yankees history, you get stuck when you reach Donny Baseball’s decade. That famous sign outside the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa? The one that shows all 27 championship years stacked together? There is a glaring absence – the entire decade of the ‘80s.
6. Long-time owner George Steinbrenner
was convicted of making illegal donations to the campaign to re-elect Richard Nixon president in 1972. He never went to prison, but it took a presidential pardon in 1989 to clear his record.
7. Steinbrenner vs. Billy Martin vs. Reggie Jackson was the greatest and most ridiculous three-way feud in the history of the game. The 1977-78 seasons earned the team the nickname the Bronx Zoo
, even though they won back-to-back World Series titles. One big reason it was a zoo was the three biggest ego-maniacs in the game consistently made it all about themselves, often to the detriment of the team. It made for great theater, though.
8. Steinbrenner’s feud with Dave Winfield
was even uglier in the mid-to-late 1980s. Steinbrenner was banned for life by Commissioner Fay Vincent for consorting with gambler Howie Spira
, who was meant to dig up dirt on Winfield’s charitable foundation. It was all ridiculous, an exercise in egotism, and emblematic of everything wrong with the organization that eventually would earn the title the “Evil Empire” from Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino.
9. Even after one of the most successful eras of the team’s history, they couldn’t get an exit right. Both Don Zimmer, beloved bench coach, and Joe Torre, eventually a Hall of Fame manager, were essentially pushed out because of conflict with Yankees management (read: Steinbrenner). While Torre kissed and made up
(sort of), Zimmer never really reconciled.
10. It all comes down to money. The Yankees have it
and just don’t care if they waste it. Seriously. A 10-year, $275-million deal for Alex Rodriguez was obscene enough. But consider that the Yankees spent $179.1 million on five pitchers – Ed Whitson, Jose Contreras, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa and A.J. Burnett – and received a total of 75 pitching victories for their money. It’s even worse when you realize that 34 of those victories came from the right arm of Burnett, so the other four bums combined for 41 wins. Pathetic.
11. Really, though, the one disgrace that should shut up any Yankees fan (but probably won’t) is this: two thousand four. As in, the year 2004. As in, the year they no longer could use the chant “1918” with any conviction. The year they led the Red Sox in the ALCS, 3-0, then became the first team in major-league history to blow a three-game lead in a seven-game series. It all fell apart in Game 4, when Mariano Rivera could not hold the lead against Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts, Bill Mueller, David Ortiz and Co. The Bloody Sock. Who’s Your Daddy? Johnny Damon. The Idiots. All of that …
Next week’s argument: the New England Patriots.