Red Sox President Larry Lucchino once famously called the Yankees the "evil empire" for outspending the opposition en route to championship after championship. With a fanbase that carried itself with the self-important entitlement of a Hilton heir, the Yankees have forever been the team that all right-thinking fans loved to hate.
Today, Red Sox and the Yankees have melded into one axis of evil, each outspending the rest of the league and undermining the sense of fair competition.
(By the way, it's this sense that the game is rigged that really is the objectionable thing about all this. The appeal of sports is that it's a fair, honest competition, where the underdog can have his day and the big shots have to prove themselves day in and day out. By letting a few teams buy their way into contention every year, baseball feels corrupt and unfair. In other words, it's less fun.)
Sure, the Yankees at $201 million still spend significantly more than anyone else, but if you're a fan in Tampa or St. Paul or Pittsburgh, is it really that much more outrageous to see a team outspending you by three times rather than just double?
But here's the thing that really gets my goat about the Red Sox. Yankees fans know they're rooting for Darth Vader, Exxon-Mobil, and Ivan Drago all rolled into one. That's who they are, and they revel in it.
But when they lose, especially when they lose to the Nationals, they have to suffer all the embarrassment of losing despite their titanic advantages. The old saying goes—the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Well, the Yankees every year set themselves up for the biggest, hardest fall, and they take those lumps honestly.
Red Sox fans on the other hand try to have it both ways. They run their team like Darth Vader, but they still want you to believe they're Luke Skywalker. They act like they're still the sweet innocent white hat, and all the while they're stealing your lunch just like Darth Vader. (Sorry for the triple-mixed metaphors.)
So to all you DC-based Red Sox fans who will fill the stadium tonight—if you want to root for an underdog, it's time to don Nationals red. Otherwise, it's time to come clean.
You're all Yankees fans now.