So congratulations to the Twins for being the comeback team and overcoming a 7-game deficit to not only force a one-game AL Central division playoff, but to drag it out through 12 innings and save foreclosure on the Metrodome for at least another week.
Earlier this week, I purported that I’d prefer to see the Twins in the ALDS. Let the record show I only made this assertion with a proverbial to my temple. So I’m not exactly jumping for joy right now on account of the outcome of last night’s game. Nothing could make me jump for joy, to be sure, until the Yankees knock down 11 more wins this season.
I will remain high-strung, on edge, and be consumed by a demeanor punctuated by little more than an unforgiving hair-trigger temper. Am I happy to be seeing the Twins tonight? Hell, no.
Because the Yankees could not be facing a more lovable, all-shucks, endearing underdog. Which means Minnesota has just unhinged the floodgates of a hyper-aggressive breed of anti-New York fanfare.
Do you think any on-the-fence baseball fan is going to go out of his or her way to champion a team like the Tigers? Or the Phillies? But you take the cornbred nobodies of the midwest and make them the undaunted heroes in comeback tale, and now I have to deal with heightened contempt against my team.
Did Disney sanction this? Seriously. Can this whole thing sound any more like someone downloaded the script from “Cool Runnings” off the internet and changed all the bobsled references to baseball.
Personally, I have no more pathos for an underdog than a do for a favorite. They both got to the same spot. Why am I supposed to give extra credit to the team that had to do it at the 11th hour? For some reason, society is constantly pigeonholing cultural dialectics in opposite extremes of the spectrum.
“Shallow Hal” is a perfect example. Every ugly chick in that movie was really beautiful on the inside. Every hot chick was really hideous on the inside. Similarly, the Yankees have a history of being good, so they’re evil. A team who pushes for that last inch in the final days of the season to make a dramatic victory is seen as virtuous as worthy of our support.
(How about Red Sox fans who proudly identify themselves as “Fenway Faithfuls”? Am I supposed to be impressed by the fact that a fan is loyal to his team? ISN’T THIS PART OF THE FUCKING JOB DESCRIPTION?)
It always amazes me how people can so effortlessly cloak themselves in schaudenfraude. They’ll go out of their way to spit vitriol at the Yanks and use every breath of their being to pray for their downfall…instead of funneling that alleged sports zeal into advocating their own team’s success. And these people never think to themselves, “Wow, this is kind of pathetic to have so much of a vested interest in someone failing“?
Guess not. So here we are, 3 hours away from the invigorating hell and glory that is the baseball postseason. Minny’s a good team. But so are the Yankees.
There’s a fable that tells the story of a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across the river. The frog is scared the scorpion will sting him, but the scorpion assures the frog that if it were to sting him, they’d both drown. The frog agrees by this logic, and sure enough, the scorpion stings him, mid-river. As they’re both drowning and about to die, the frog asks why.
“I’m a scorpion. It’s my nature.”
I live in New York. I’ve been conditioned to get irrationally furious at slow walkers, to live in an overpriced shoebox of an apartment, and to get territorial when non-native transplanted Yankee-haters forget what city they’re now calling home.
I’ve been conditioned to put the Evil Empire on a pedestal and get both wildly defensive and blindly enraged when they’re constantly subject to contempt. And any real baseball fan should be able to empathize with this fierce brand of obsession.
So you may be all full of piss and vinegar right now, haters and Twinkies alike, but the Bronx is a dangerous place for outside blood.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2009