The chant was clear even on television, so it must have been deafening if you were one of the lucky 37,000 or so in the stands. During the middle innings of Saturday’s showdown with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park, the now familiar wave of “Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!” cascaded down from the bleachers.
And it was downright depressing.
If ever a chant needed to be retired—immediately—it’s that one. It was invented during the malaise that accompanied an 86-year championship drought and began as a way to needle the Yankees and their fans when they visited Boston or local fans paraded en route to the Bronx.
But now it just makes us all look silly.
Especially when the Yankees aren’t within a 2,000-mile radius at the time of the chant. That Saturday’s chant came after the Sox dropped a pair of games to the mighty Kansas City Royals to open a four-game set only added self-inflicted insult to injury.
The chant represents everything the Red Sox fan was: desperate, sardonic, at times irrational. But two World Championships in four years—more, by the way, than the Yankees in the last decade—have a way of changing things, and along with negatives like the pink hats and bandwagon jumpers come positives like a winning attitude and newfound confidence.
All the chant does is highlight an inferiority complex we supposedly buried with a four-game rally in the 2004 playoffs.
We don’t need it.
In important moments when the Yankees are in town? Perhaps.
But against the Royals? After they made Swiss cheese out of your pitching for two days? Please.
We’re better than that as a fanbase. Red Sox fans have long been regarded as intelligent, focused, and unfailingly loyal. But when we start claiming another team sucks while we’re getting our butt handed to us by perhaps the laughing stock of the American League, we all come off like jerks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of mocking chants.
When Red Sox players sarcastically taped Ted Lilly’s last name to the back of their jackets during the 2003 playoffs in hopes of inciting the crowd to bombard the A’s hurler with taunts—which they accomplished—it was a classic, memorable moment.
Chants of “No-mar’s bet-ter” were perfect during the days when Jeter and Garciaparra battled for the crown of most beloved shortstop.
Pick a player and tweak him as much or as sarcastically as you want. I’m all for finely crafted fan humor.
But the "Yankees Suck" thing has run its course. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s time we grew up a bit and started acting like a franchise that wasn’t surprised when it found its way to the playoffs.
I’m not afraid to admit I once purchased a T-shirt with that very phrase printed on the front of it, and got some good laughs wearing it to Yankee games at Fenway Park. But it’s long since been buried below a pile of other laundry in my dresser drawer.
Hidden by my 2004 World Series Championship T-Shirt.
Where it belongs.