MLB Playoffs 2011: 5 Reasons to Root for the New York Yankees

Nathaniel JueSenior Writer IIOctober 6, 2011

MLB Playoffs 2011: 5 Reasons to Root for the New York Yankees

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    The MLB Division Series are nearly complete, and for those casual fans who don’t know which teams to root for while waiting for weekend football to hurry up, selecting from the remaining eight seven teams can be difficult. 

    There are the powerhouse juggernauts: the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

    There are the storied franchises like the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

    There are the glory-less teams that have relatively little postseason experience over their long history—the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.

    And there are the seemingly recent newbies such as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays

    So which team should you root for? The old standbys, or the young up-and-comers? 

    Here’s a look at five reasons why you want the vaunted New York Yankees to take home the World Series title.

Everybody Loves America's Team

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    Let’s face it, as the most storied and successful franchise in the history of… professional sports, the New York Yankees are loved by countless fans. Around the world.

    There’s something to be said about their popularity—negative or positive. They’re the team everybody loves to hate; and, moreover, the team that everyone loves to love.

    So while many fans out there despise the Evil Empire, simultaneously, it wouldn’t be surprising if you knew several friends or acquaintances who actually admire them.

    The numbers speak for themselves: 40 American League pennants, 27 World Series titles and 16 numbers retired. Yes, the Yankees are, to nearly anybody’s admission, the greatest baseball franchise in history. Why not root for them?

    If you are a fan of the game of baseball, a student of its history, you can appreciate the venerability, the hallowed worshiping of a team that practically supersedes the sport itself.

    And one can’t help but revere Yankee demigods like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. These immortals themselves exist as the pantheon of baseball.

    And that universal superiority has continued on into the 21st century. With the likes of modern-day icons Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, et al., the Yankees are forged to be the most dominant team money can buy. The Yankees roster is a constellation of superstars, and they’re the most recognized and watched galaxy in the MLB universe.

    Baseball is America’s pastime, and the Yankees are America’s team. Rooting for Yanks is like rooting for apple pie, or the stars and stripes, or… capitalism?

    Forget about it! What’s not to love about them?

That

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    “In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh,
    There’s nothing you can’t do…”

    Ah yes, those words are so inspirational.

    Yeah, every time the television broadcast fades to commercial or shows some cityscape of downtown Manhattan, the Alicia Keys-Jay-Z collaboration hip-hops its way into our ears. Great stuff.

    The powerful lyricism. The beats. It just makes the viewer—and listener—feel what it’s like to truly be in New York, to be from New York.

    The days when Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was the soundtrack that spread the news of a Yankees victory are nearly gone. It’s a new era. An era where the “big lights will inspire you; let’s hear it for New York.”

    The further the Yankees advance, the more often they’ll play that wonderful anthem about the strength and fortitude of New Yorkers, along with those Americans across the country who want to feel like New Yorkers. This song gives everyone else an inside look on how it feels to have an Empire State of mind.

    Or something.

    Oh, and Jay-Z made the Yankee hat more famous than any Yankee can.

Derek Jeter

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    No rapper, no actor, nobody represents the Yankees more than the captain himself.

    Jeter is the latest icon in a long line of otherworldly Yankee greats, cementing his place in team lore after having notched his 3,000th hit in early July.

    Yes, he already was a living immortal, the franchise leader in games played, at-bats, base hits and stolen bases; second in doubles; third in runs scored; fourth in total bases. The list goes on and on and on and on.

    There is no dispute: Jeter will go down as one of the greatest Yankees to ever play the game, alongside the Babe, Gehrig, Joe D, the Mick, Yogi, Whitey, Catfish, Reggie. That in and of itself deems Jeter worth of being considered one of the greatest players in baseball history.

    There is no dispute: The level of hate he receives from non-Yankee fans is equal to how great of a baseball player he truly is. Though not particularly the best at only one thing, he is all-around remarkable and consistent, year after year, time and time again, game in and game out. He annoyingly dominates without even doing so. It’s so aggravatingly admirable.

    There is no dispute: If there is a reason to cheer for baseball champions, true winners in sports, it is Derek Jeter. The five-time World Series champion is a winner. He does what it takes to win. He does everything to win. Jeter wins.

    If anyone wants to watch one of the greatest of the game of baseball, look no further than No. 2 in pinstripes.

Curtis Granderson

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    Curtis Granderson, a 2008 All-Star with the Detroit Tigers, was most famous for his remarkable 2007 campaign when he became the third player in baseball history to have at least 20 doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in the same season.

    He was a highly coveted free agent after the 2009 season, and the Yankees pursued the outfielder with expectations that he’d become the full-time center fielder and a contributor to an already powerful lineup. In 2010, Granderson hit .247 with 24 home runs, rather pedestrian numbers overall.

    His 2011 season, however, has been grand—certainly one for the ages. His MVP-type numbers this year are staggering: a career-high 41 home runs, league-leading 119 RBI and 136 runs scored, .916 OPS and 25 stolen bases. He became the second player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs and 10 triples while stealing over 20 bases in the same season. The other? Willie Mays.

    Granderson has already put on a show this postseason, with two remarkable catches in Game 4 of the ALDS against his former club, the Detroit Tigers. Will he be able to cap off his remarkably historic year with a World Series title?

    Stay tuned. It should be a grand ol’ time.

Winning Is Everything

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    Winning isn’t everything—unless you’re the New York Yankees.

    And while it may seem that nobody can win all of the time, the Yanks are the closest thing there is in sports to prove true that paradox. Their 27 championships are the most of any North American professional sports franchise. That’s nearly one title every four years, since the team's inception. Remarkable.

    Winning begets winning, and winning breeds expectations of more winning. That’s all that they care about. That’s all that they do. It’s not the worst thing to be addicted to.

    With their ceiling-less payroll and bottomless pockets to finance it, the Yankees get to buy whatever and whomever they want in order to assemble the best of the best, year after year. And while the Yanks get to bully the weakling small-market franchises with their lunch money checkbook during winter recess, they do so within the confines of the rules of the MLB playground. After all, it’s not New York’s fault.

    The Yankees’ total payroll for 2011 was over $202 million—almost four times that of the NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Nine players will earn at least $10 million this season.

    The Yankees buy into the adage, “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” They do so by purchasing the shiniest, most powerful and sought-after playthings in the entire toy store.

    If winning a title is a result, then the Yankees have done their job. And the Yankees have done their job better than any other team in the business of running a ballclub.

    Much of the baseball world resents the Yankees, due in large part to envious sentiment of their tyrannical reign on the rest of the teams. But if there is one thing to be admired it is the Yanks’ desire and passion to be the best.

    Another World Series title will only enhance what we already know.

    The Yankees currently are tied at two games apiece in their American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers. Game 5 takes place tonight.