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Yes, they’re at home this series.
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Know Your Enemy: New York Yankees

It’s time to face the team that everyone genuinely hates!

I was recently talking to a friend who doesn’t follow baseball, and asked her if she knows why she should hate the Yankees. And she didn’t have any idea. I anticipated her saying “Oh, because they are jerks who win all the time,” because hatred of the Yankees can and should find its way everywhere. But her not knowing, I have convinced myself, is proof that the monolith of the Yankees is crumbling.

You might dismiss that as mere anecdote about a Swede living in Canada, and that it isn’t broadly or even slightly representative, and you would be right to do so, you pecksniff. But we’re finally moving slightly away from Yankee omnipresence, especially as their glory years fade. Of course, the media and their own black star of self-regard dictate we’ll always have to hear about the Yankees, but it might become mere background noise. And it’s about time.

The Sox are 856-1,091 all-time against New York, though we have winning decades in the 90s, the 10s, and the 00s (all 1900s). God, I hate them.


So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

Well, what would you say if I told you that the Yankees were further out of first place than were our Sox? Would you say that doesn’t matter? That it is stupid to use games out of first as a metric of quality, considering they play in the AL East and we play in the AL Central, where baseball is played at the level of a glorified T-Ball league for people who have had Multiple Scythe Misfortunes? Would you point out that they are 11 games better than .500, which makes them leaps and bounds better than us?

You probably would, yeah. The Yankees have overcome a lot of pitching injuries and are buoyed by Gerrit Cole and Domingo German — Cole in particular has been excellent. They are arguably a Top 5 staff, which also overcomes some top-heavy hitting worries. Though there is an element of duct-tape magic going on here, and the pitching gets real thin real quickly.

Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

The guy you would have been most worried about is Aaron Judge, who has continued to mash taters with the fervor of an extremely motivated army field cook. But, luckily for us, he might have broken a toe crashing into a fence over the weekend, so our homer-happy staff may not give up and more homers.

Anthony Rizzo, though, seems to be back, having already slugged 11 homers to go along with an .849 OPS. It drops off pretty quickly after them and Gleyber Torres. Like we said, top heavy. Giancarlo Stanton continues his slow decline, as will happen to all baseballers.

Josh Donaldson continues to exist. Him facing Clevinger might be the most unlikable matchup since Ty Cobb faced off against Nathan Bedford Forrest.*

(*Note: this didn’t happen)

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

Pitching-wise, there’s no real must-see TV here. Like we said, the Yanks might be about to fall off a cliff. Hopefully that descent starts now.

Tuesday, June 6
Sox: Lucas Giolito (4-4, 4.08) comes into the game having pitched like a No. 3 starter, pretty good, goes five or six innings, but you aren’t getting much more out of him. In six May starts he only went seven innings once, but only fewer than five once.

Yankees: Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01) is quickly passing the days of being a touted prospect. He’s not striking out guys at the rate the Yankees need him to. But against the Sox, that can change quickly!

Wednesday, June 7
Sox: Lance Lynn (4-6, 6.55) got absolutely mollwalloped by the Angels last week, serving up some massive goddamn dingers. This comes after a string of decent starts, but I don’t know, man. He was hanging some meatballs, that’s for sure.

Yankees: TBD. I am determined to think that this guy will suck.

Thursday, June 6
Sox: SP4 (3-3. 4.13) pitched well against Detroit on Friday, even though I was at a bar telling him how much I hate his stupid face. So I guess he overcame that?

Yankees: Luis Severino (0-1, 5.27) is making his fourth start after a Spring Training lat injury. He looked OK in his first two and got rocked by the Dodgers last week. Let’s hope that is a trend.


Why Do We Hate New York?

New York is great. It is genuinely great — it is enormous and there is a constant thrum and it is always exactly what you expect it to be. It is filled with millions of real people living real lives, riding public transportation and playing baseball in parks and deeply caring about tennis in a really endearing way and doing normal jobs.

The problem is that there are four types of New Yorkers who dominate everything.

  • Long Island/Jersey/Staten Island types who say “fuggedaboutit” and brag about being tough because they’re from parts that they’ve seen referenced in gangster movies. The cheap thrill of violence over the weak runs rampant in our culture and politics. They hate everything about New York but still pretend proximity makes them more important than you.
  • Right Wall Street/Real Estate types who know the price of everything and the value of nothing and truly believe that what they do isn’t some big game for soft manchildren but that moving around imaginary numbers makes them tough and brave and whose greed and compulsion is the driving force of our benighted times. They think being in New York means they are genuine world-beaters and also refuse to even acknowledge that their driver has a name.
  • Pseudo-leftist podcasters and Gawker-aligned writers who believe that everyone outside the 8-block radius in Brooklyn where they all live is an absolute rube but who have no marketable skills outside of convincing each other to listen to their nonsense and absolutely hoovering up coke. They didn’t vote in 2016 but blame you for being cringe.
  • Steve Martin. He’s just great, we’ll give this one to New York. He’s just great, he’s Steve Martin!

Why Do We Hate the Yankees?

I don’t hate the Yankees because they blew up baseball’s economy; it took me a while but I am glad they did, and wish our owner spent like they used to. I don’t hate the Yankees because of their success, really. That’s mere jealousy, which can curdle into hatred, but that is an internal emotion, projected outward. I don’t even hate the Yankees because of how much the media drools over their every move. New York is the media center of the world, they are baseball’s best franchise, I find it irritating, but explicable.

No, I hate the Yankees because they embody the New Yorkers listed above. Their fanbase gloats over teams that aren’t as successful with a sneering contempt that is no different than bullying. They expect and demand praise and glory for their accomplishments and react with bitter victimhood when they feel a lack of fealty. They want to be the titans of the world and want everyone to recognize them for it as a birthright. It’s not enough to succeed — succeeding at sports is a means to an end, the end being people thanking them for existing.

They feel both unconquered titans and the world’s biggest victims. They are entitled and pathetic, triumphant and obsessed with the smallest wounds. Every loss is someone else’s fault, every win proof that the universe has smiled upon them and them alone. They whine while thumping their chest and expect you to praise them for both. They are the child emperor, unquestioned in his authority and incapable of doing anything but tearfully demanding unceasing lickspittery.

All of this excludes Steve Martin, of course. He’s just great.


Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!

Because of Josh Donaldson!

General Yankeeness

Idiosyncratic Personal Reasons!

Sliding Doors!

John Sterling!

Nick Swisher!

Josh Donaldson!

(You were right, Tommy!)


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