The Airing of Grievances
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Yankees-Sox: Game Seven

So, up three games to none and one Mariano Rivera shut out inning away from the World Series and it's come down to this. And honestly, isn't this the way it should always be? This really is just about as good as it gets for a fan. Speaking of fans, I was recently asked, "How can you stand to root for the Yankees and all their hired guns?" With the Yanks holding a comfortable three games lead at the time, I decided to just let it go. But now, with this huge Game Seven in front of us, I felt the need to clear the air. My answer? Simple. It's really not difficult for me to root for the Yanks at all. I have since I was a boy and I always will. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of the Scooter Phil Rizzuto and Bill White yucking it up on WPIX while the Reggie Jacksons, Goose Gossages and Gator Guidrys did their thing. Then we slowly graduated to the lean years, but we still had Donnie Baseball. We still had the Boss stirring the pot. We still had Big Dave Winfield. Ricky with the snatch catches. Mell Hall with the jheri-curls. Ed "Moneybags" Whitson completely crapping the bright lights big city bed. We had Mike Paguliarulo. We had Dave Righetti throwing a no-no. We had Doc Gooden doing the same. And then a strange thing happened, the Yanks actually developed some talent from within. Talent that would pave the way for the Bombers recent greatness. So, special props to Derek, to Bernie, to Jorge, to Mo and even to Andy, the homegrowns who have served as the heart and soul of the Yanks since 1996. And yes, with Andy gone, and with the Sheffields, A-Rods and Matsuis clearly at center stage, there is less of a homegrown feeling to the Yankees of 2004, but the pinstripes are still there, the tradition is still there and they're still my hometown team. So will I be rooting for them? Of course. (And honestly, isn't there a little less of the homegrown in just about every sport now? Should we hate the Yankees just because they get better spoils then the rest? No. Not at all. Like "they" say, don't hate the playa, hate the game.)

From a sports fan perspective, there's nothing more exciting than seeing whether or not your team can get it done on the grandest of stages -- a stage where's there's no four corners, a stage where there is no running out the clock, a stage where you have to get those last three outs to be victorious -- its just an incredibly special thing. And if the Yanks get it done tomorrow (homegrown talent or not), their performance will be one I will remember for a lifetime. Really, the question should not be "how can I root for the Yanks", the question should be "how could I not?"

So, Let's Go Yankees! Here's hoping that you give your fans another moment to carry in our souls for a lifetime. Here's hoping you give this great city yet another one of those incredibly electric nights of collective sheer joy. And here's hoping that none of the wack jobs on either side of the fence end up killing themselves over this. After all, it is only a game.
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