Something I've had to deal with since fifth grade is people's criticism of my loyalty to my favorite sports team, the New York Yankees. I have never been able to argue on behalf of my team due to interruption by the stubborn and ignorant Yankee haters.
But now, I will explain why the Yankees are, in fact, a likable team while their archrival Boston Red Sox are not.
I will start with the main complaint I hear whenever I try to lobby for my team: "The Yankees buy all of their players."
This is not entirely true. Sure, they spend quite a bit on player salaries and are active in the free-agent market during the offseason, but that shows just how passionate they are to win.
Every Major League general manager's ultimate goal, after all, is to put together a team that will win the World Series. And the Yankees have met that goal 26 times—more titles than any other franchise in the history of professional sports and the second-highest percentage of championships won in a league (25 percent) after the Boston Celtics (26.2 percent).
To say that, as a general manager with an ample budget, you would not sign the premier available free agents would be a lie. And it’s not only the Yankees who spend a lot of money.
If it weren’t for the Yankees, the Red Sox would have the third-highest payroll in baseball, after the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers. But, unlike the Yankees, the Red Sox have ridiculous spending habits.
For instance, when, in the winter of 2006-07 Daisuke Matsuzaka made his decision to come over from Japan to play in the Major Leagues, three teams were interested: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Texas Rangers. But, in order to negotiate with him, the interested teams had to make silent bids to his former ball club. Reportedly, the Rangers bid $27-28 million, the Yankees $32-33 million, and the Red Sox $51.1 million just to have the right to negotiate.
So the Red Sox paid $51.1 million, plus his $52 million salary, to lock him in for six years. We'll see how Matsuzaka pans out overall, but, given last year's stats (15-12 record and a 4.40 ERA despite 201 strikeouts in 204.2 innings), this deal has the potential to be one of the biggest busts in the history of professional sports.
Another example of poor money handling that turned out badly for the Red Sox was the 1999 signing of infielder Jose Offerman, a worthless player (who incidentally was jailed last year for charging the mound and swinging at the pitcher’s head in the Independent League), for four years and $26 million—a contract considered absurd back then—to fill the shoes of departed slugger Mo Vaughn. Offerman, a contact hitter, did not make any sense to sign in hopes of filling Vaughn's gap.
Now, I am not saying that the Yankees haven't made their share of stupid moves. But the difference between theirs and the Red Sox’ is that, at the time, the Yankees’ moves made sense, whereas the Red Sox’ aforementioned deals did not.
So far, I have mentioned only the statistical side of why the Yankees are better than the Red Sox. Now I will discuss why the Yankees are more enjoyable from the spectator's point of view.
Tradition has played a huge role in Yankees history, much more than the Red Sox. The Red Sox may have the historical Fenway Park and Ted Williams may have been the last player to hit .400 in a season, but they don’t have any history even slightly comparable to the Yankees besides that.
The Yankees have preserved their pinstriped uniform design since 1936. But, more than that, Yankee Stadium has an aura like no other. Consider the fans leading the cheers and jeers in the center field bleachers, Monument Park, and the legendary voice of public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who has held the position since 1951. Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson once called him "the Voice of God."
Let’s face it. The Yankees are more likable than the Red Sox. They have smarter upper management and untouchable tradition and history. These two characteristics are why they have won 26 World Series titles.
And, after all, Joe DiMaggio said, "I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee."