When news broke that Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg had delivered a verbal smackdown on Yankees fans on Monday, two things immediately came to mind.
1) Wait ... doesn't Nolan Ryan own the Rangers?
2) Chuck Greenberg must, at all costs, be destroyed.
In case you missed it, Greenberg had this to say when asked about the fervor of Rangers fans during the 2010 postseason:
“I think our fans have been great," Greenberg told KESN-FM, which I can only assume plays insufferably crappy country music about drunk wives and dead dogs. "I think particularly in Game 3 of the World Series they just blew away anything I’ve seen in any venue during the postseason. I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.”
Chuckie, Chuckie, Chuckie.
(takes deep breath, cracks knuckles)
Let's break this down, Zapruder film style:
"I think our fans have been great."
Yeah, nothing says baseball passion like Texas Rangers fans. Two years ago, before wearing claw and antler T-shirts became fashionable in the Lonestar State, the Rangers drew less than two million fans to The Ballpark in Arlington, ranking them No. 11 in attendance out 14 American League teams. So maybe your fans were great, but that's only since they began to exist.
"I think particularly in Game 3 of the World Series they just blew away anything I’ve seen in any venue during the postseason."
Oh, you mean the same Game 3 that doubled as the first World Series game in your franchise's meek 50-year history? Put it this way: If your fans weren't hyped up, call the National Guard, because you have 50,000 brain- and entrails-craving The Walking Dead-level zombies all in one place.
"I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful."
"They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good."
Apathetic? Sure. The entire lower bowl of our stadium is filled with multi-millionaires. But violent? Maybe Chuckie accidentally switched over to Yankees Classics on YES and saw 57,000 disco fans trying to rip Chris Chambliss' head off at the conclusion of the '76 ALCS. We used to do violent better than anyone. We were ... the best. If violence at public sports facilities was a tournament, we'd be Sly Stallone in Over The Top. But no longer. (wipes away tear)
Tangibly related point: The Yankees have lost 6,449 games in their history, but remain undefeated on Yankees Classics. A remarkable achievement.
"So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason."
This is where Chuck really goes off the reservation. I'll admit Giants fans put on quite a display in their World Series home games. Right time, right place for an underrated fanbase. But Texas' other playoff opponent was the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays drew a measly 1.6 million fans in 2010 despite having the American League's best record. Their fans' only forms of expression come by way of the cowbell and the circular waving of adult diapers. C'mon now.
It's also unfair to judge Yankee fans on the three ALCS games in the Bronx. The Yankees were outscored 18-3 in the first two games, then got stuck with an 4:05 first pitch in the middle of the work week in Game 5.
Come to think of it, I didn't notice much of a decibel difference between Cliff Lee dominating the host Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS and Tim Lincecum dominating the host Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series. Hmmmm...
"I thought they were an embarrassment."
See, off all the things I miss about George Steinbrenner—and believe me, after the ALCS breakdown I was dreaming of a nasty Boss missive—what I miss most was his uncanny ability to twist the knife into a fallen opponent.
Steinbrenner knew how to do it. He always waited until he was already at the top of the pile before firing off the putdowns. The term "sore winner" is based on the man in the white turtleneck. Greenberg taunting with his team down 3-1 in the World Series was a classic amateur hour move in knife-twistage.
Greenberg can take solace in that he's not the only privileged millionaire to fail this way. This happens all the time. Most recently, San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said his team was going to win the division when it was 0-5.
Even bloodline doesn't guarantee effectiveness. George's son, Hank, ran his mouth with regularity in the initial months after he and brother Hal were given control of the Yankees in 2007. It wasn't long before Hank was silenced, stripped of a defined role in the organization, and sent off to a horse farm in Tampa, Fredo-style.
Greenberg, perhaps sensing a similar fate, changed fields on Tuesday, personally apologizing to New York front office members and issuing a statement that he “unfairly and inaccurately disparaged fans of the New York Yankees.’’
“Those remarks were inappropriate,’’ Greenberg added, backtracking so fast he tumbled out of his private box. “Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball.’’
If Greenberg was looking to put himself on the map with this stunt, mission accomplished. And since I now know who he is, you can bet I'll be scouring the local Dallas papers for his reaction on Dec. 18, 2010, when the Yankees sign away Cliff Lee and his pretty little wife.
The richest people can say the dumbest things, after all.