As the World Series, a sporting event that I traditionally take an interest in, begins tonight, I feel it is important to muse on why it is that – this year – I have no interest whatsoever.
Yes, the answer is not particularly mysterious. The Yankees are not making an appearance. No Yankees. No Yael. Plain. Simple.
The first sign that the Yankees were doomed to a late fall, rather than a Late Fall, appeared when the Bombers failed to clinch the AL East. The Rays? Really? Let’s examine the reasons why a team should never trail behind The Rays.
Reason number one? Two words. Expansion Team. This team did not even exist when the Yankees began their current era of domination in 1996. In their 12 year lifespan, the team has required a name change and a color change to expand its marketability. I don’t care that the ascendance of The Rays indicates the potential for young teams from minor markets in Major League Baseball. I’m a New Yorker, a capitalist, and an enemy of the salary cap. For all I care, small teams from small towns can wither and die.
On that note, we approach reason number two. Tampa Bay. The 19th largest metropolitan area in the United States. A city known only for its beer-sponsored theme park. I realize I’m an obnoxious Northeastern snob. Still. Northern Florida? Yuck.
At the end of the day, the Yankees outlasted the Rays and at least made it to the ALCS – where they ultimately lost to a team from a metropolis that at least cracks the top five. Making it within two games of the pennant would be a major accomplishment for any of the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball. For the Yankees, it is like being asked to spend the off-season in a garbage dump. They may as well have not made the playoffs altogether. In New York, it's go big or go home.
Our discontent with a semi-final level finish is demonstrative of how life as a Yankee fan is emblematic of life in New York in general. We don't want good, we want great. We don't want mostly. We want always. For instance, as I walked home the other evening around midnight, I found myself legitimately angry that the Dry Cleaners was closed, preventing me from picking up my clothing. This is New York for goodness sakes! Everything is supposed to be 24 hours. Do I care that the Dry Cleaners only closes at 10 PM? No! I should be able to visit whenever I please. Do I take any solace in knowing that, EVERYWHERE else in the world, Dry Cleaners close at 6 PM and not a moment later? Nope. Closing at 10 PM is the New York city equivalent of a Yankees losing ALCS appearance. Okay, but not nearly good enough.