New York Yankees: Yankees, Not Nationals or Cubs, Most Difficult Team to Support

Harold FriendChief Writer IJuly 12, 2011

Mariano Rivera
Mariano RiveraNick Laham/Getty Images

The Business Journals On Numbers created an index that purports to determine which baseball teams are the most difficult for their fans to root for.  The methods used to create the "Fans Difficulty Index" can be seen here.

The Washington Nationals are the most difficult team to root for, followed by the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates

The New York Yankees, based on their playoff appearances, pennants and World Championships, are supposedly the least difficult team to support.

It is quite obvious to many Yankees fans that those who created the index know very little about the relationship between winning and the difficulties created by rooting for the Yankees.

As the late, great George M. Steinbrenner often said, the only successful season for the Yankees is one in which they win the last game of the baseball season, something they have done 27 times.

No fans experience more tension in October than Yankees fans. Granted, there is less tension during the regular season, since there has been little chance the Yankees won't make the playoffs. Since 1994, the season of the strike, they failed to be a playoff team only in 2008.

The "Fan Difficulty Index" rankings are based on losing. It is easy to lose.

The Brooklyn Dodgers were an excellent example of a team that was difficult to root for. They won pennants in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. Well, wasn't Brooklyn a team that won?  Not to their fans.

In each of those five seasons, the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series. Imagine the level of frustration and disappointment for Brooklyn's players and fans.

When they finally beat the Yankees in 1955, the release of tension was unbelievable.

Yankees fans expect them to win the World Series. Anything less is a failure. Losing in the playoffs is terrible, but not as disastrous as losing the World Series.

The tension and pressure Yankees fans experience during the playoffs borders on unbearable. If they win the final playoff round, there is a brief period for recovery before the level of tension gets even greater, with the start of the World Series.

Some Yankees fans have admitted that they felt relief in 2008 when their team didn't qualify for the playoffs. They finally had a year in which October tension and pressure didn't exist for them.

When the Yankees met the New York Mets in the 2000 World Series, Mr.. Steinbrenner, representing all Yankees fans, implored the team to not lose. Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera knew what was at stake.

The Yankees had to win. The Mets wanted to win.

If those who created the "Fans Difficulty Index" knew the nature of winning, they would understand how abhorrent the ninth inning of the 2001 World Series was.

The Yankees led the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 with Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in history, on the mound.

The Yankees lost and their fans suffered agony of defeat.  Some consider that loss worse than losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960.

Fans of the Nationals, Cubs, Royals and Pirates don't get too upset when their team loses. They almost expect it. When those teams win, their fans are ecstatic.

When one of those teams makes the playoffs, the season is a success. Losing in the playoffs is acceptable, because the team was just happy to be in the playoffs.

When the Yankees make the playoffs, the season is just beginning.

Many non-Yankees fans think that it's crazy to consider the only successful season to be one in which the Yankees win the World Series. 

Could it be because their team doesn't have to live up to the Yankees tradition?


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