Growing up around baseball, I was well aware of the history that came with the New York Yankees mystique. I was well aware of what that franchise had accomplished, and I've respected that my entire life.
However, that's where my respect comes to a grinding halt.
With the 27 World Series Championships, all bought and paid for in full, come a certain amount of arrogance. Maybe not with every fan, but you know the ones I'm referring to.
I hate to liken this to football, but sometimes it's the same kind of arrogance you might get with SEC fans. It's apparently the best thing since sliced bread all while playing the likes of Jacksonville State, San Jose State and Louisiana-Lafayette.
I know that all Yankee fans aren't like this. I know quite a few who are very contrite and very down to earth. If the Yankees win, they're the last ones to rub it in your face or let you know, more than once a month, how many championships the Yankees have in comparison to everyone else in Major League Baseball.
With the 2010 American League Championship Series just a few hours from first pitch, you know there are going to be several articles published from just about every news source you could possibly think of.
They'll be coming from the two cities represented as well as anyone who has an opinion or prediction on how this series will end.
But the one thing I didn't expect was to read an article that was so far beyond the arrogance boundary that it actually made me take a stronger side in this series than I had planned on.
Living in San Diego for eight years of my life, and being a Junior Padre when I was a kid, my allegiance has always been to the San Diego Padres.
I'm not a bandwagon jumper, even though I now reside in Texas, so I was planning on just standing on the sidelines and watching this series strictly as a baseball fan.
As I was driving home yesterday, I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations talking about this upcoming series. I heard one of the hosts read, verbatim, from an article that was written by the New York Daily News.
What I heard made me shake my head in disbelief. I couldn't imagine that anything like this could be written from a professional source such as the Daily News. Could it?
I understand that the object of a writer is to reel his or her audience in and keep them captivated and keep them coming back. This most certainly did both of those.
In a portion of this article, New York Daily News writer Filip Bondy writes, "The Yanks should win this series just by throwing their pinstriped uniforms onto the field and reading from a few pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia."
Bondy went on to say, "The Rangers are the oldest of three existing major league clubs never to have won a pennant. They should be ashamed to bring their media guides to the Bronx."
Want one more excerpt from this lovely piece? I thought you might.
"Why are they even playing this series? Why don't they just use the scores from '96, '98 and '99?"
Since Mr. Bondy brought up the Baseball Encyclopedia, I'm going to dust mine off and open it up to the last eight years. Just to see how that "history" worked out for the Yankees.
In 2001, the Yankees faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series. The same "history" Bondy refers to held true in this series as well. In what was Arizona's first trip to the World Series, the Diamondbacks stared the Yankees down, took Game 7, and the World Series trophy, thanks to a walk-off single in the ninth by Luis Gonzalez off Mariano Rivera.
In 2002, the Yankees were back in the playoffs and about to take on the then-Anaheim Angels in the American League Divisional Series. The Yankees had history on their side against a team that didn't have a single World Series championship. Sound familiar?
The ALDS lasted four games with the Angels, the eventual World Series champions, moving on and the Yankees going home.
The 2003 season saw the Yankees finish with the league's best record (101-61). After knocking off the rival Boston Red Sox thanks to a dramatic walk-off, series-winning home run by Aaron Boone, the Yankees were about to face the Florida Marlins in the World Series.
The Marlins had just one World Series Championship, coming in 1997, under their belt to the 26 that had piled up for the Yankees franchise.
Like the Angels and Diamondbacks before them, the Marlins stared the Yankees down and let them watch the celebration that took place as the Marlins won the World Series four games to two.
The 2004 season saw the Yankees make baseball history, but not the kind of history they want to be remembered for.
After getting through the ALDS, the Yankees took a commanding three games to none lead on their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in the ALCS. That's where history stepped in.
The Red Sox came back and won the next four games, making the New York Yankees the first team in North American sports history to ever lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games.
Boston would go on to win their sixth World Series title in franchise history.
For the next three seasons, from 2005 to 2008, the Yankees would be eliminated from the ALDS twice and would miss the playoffs in 2008 for the first time in franchise history.
So, from 2001-2008, they would make seven playoff appearances and two World Series appearances. In each of those playoff series, two of which came with the same number of World Series Championships as the Texas Rangers currently hold—zero, they lost them both.
The Yankees can throw their jersey on the field at Rangers Ballpark, but if they think the Rangers are going to back down just because they're the New York Yankees, they have another thing coming.
The Texas Rangers are must more improved from the teams the Yankees knocked off in the late 1990s. They have pitching, they have the bullpen, and they have the offense to go toe-to-toe with the 27-time world champions.
The 2010 ALCS is not going to be the cake-walk that the Yankees experienced against the Minnesota Twins.
So, before shots are taken at the Texas Rangers because of their history and before you throw up bulletin board material, you might want to see how those other teams without a World Series title did against the Yankees.
And then maybe, just maybe, you'll realize that history doesn't always repeat itself.
Because, as the ever-famous saying goes, "That's why they play the game."
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