On being a fan (and not being Jeff Pearlman)

Cano vs. Pedroia
Game 123: We meet again, Mr. Tazawa

What does it mean to you to be a fan? The specific response will vary from person to person, but I think we can all agree on one aspect: we root for the laundry. There are some bandwagon fans, sure, but I’d think the heavy majority of people reading this will be with the Yanks through thick and thin — through the dark days of the late 80s and early 90s before the championship run of the late 90s. We might not like certain players as much as others, but we’ll always cheer them when they come through in big spots.

Some people apparently do not understand this. Jay from Fack Youk found one such person: Jeff Pearlman. In essence, he calls us Yankees fans inhuman. No, really. To wit:

In other words, how can anyone with a human head actually attend, say, a Yankees-Royals or Yankees-Orioles or Yankees-Rays or Yankees-A’s or Yankees-Mariners or Yankees-Rangers or Yankees-Twins or Yankees-Anybody Except The Red Sox or Mets game and truly, strongly, lovingly, audibly root for the Yankees to win?

Look, I’m a fan of the game. I buy MLB.tv every year, hooking up a second monitor to my laptop so I can work while having a game on. I have an extensive RSS reader with general baseball blogs which talk about all 30 teams with relative parity. But when it comes to what really gets me riled up, it’s the Yankees. They’re my team. They’re your team. We live and die by them, and that’s what makes baseball all the more interesting. Not only is there an enormous set of data for us to pore over, analyze, and evaluate, but there’s the emotional level of rooting for your team. It’s always been part of the game.

Apparently, Jeff Pearlman can’t understand this aspect of the game and instead wonders how I am a human being. He then goes on to describe baseball in terms of movies, which I don’t think works. Movies are scripted. They’re supposed to make you like a certain character. No one rooted for the Empire? No shit, Jeff. That’s the way the movie was written.

Baseball is not scripted. It’s not an isolated experience, like a movie. It spans days, weeks, months, seasons, generations. The Star Wars story ended. Baseball does not. It makes for allegiances, and as men of integrity we don’t just run out on our team. And we most certainly do not find them “boring” when they’re the best team in baseball. In fact, that’s quite exciting.

Of course, we can expect this kind of talk from Pearlman at this point. After all, we need only throw his own words back at him: “Oddly, I like their moves more than the Yankees. Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.” Yes, that’s verbatim from his website. Let’s see that again:

“Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.”

Brad Penny and John Smoltz? Win as many games as CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett? This one deserves another appearance.

“Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.”

Of course, the Yankees have had recent field days with both of those pitchers. A few weeks ago the Yanks smoked Smoltz, and the Sox DFA’d him the next day. Last night they laid into Penny. Two guys who Pearlman thought could work out as well for the Red Sox as Burnett and Sabathia did for the Yankees.

(For more afternoon amusement, check out the rest of Pearlman’s predictions.)

So, what did we learn with this? That Jeff Pearlman questions the humanity of anyone who doesn’t enjoy the game like he does. Which is like a movie. Also, he’s terrible at predicting things. Embarrassingly bad. There’s no shame in rooting for the Yankees, even though it makes for some embittered narrative.

Cano vs. Pedroia
Game 123: We meet again, Mr. Tazawa
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Golf clap.

    • Mike

      I’m still trying to figure out what Pearlman’s trying to say behind the immense ammount of pure stupidity that hides any rational thought. Why would anyone question why a Yankees fan would root for their team against a sub-par team? Why would you root for a team that is virtually eliminated from the playoffs (Such as the Mets in 2009)? Because you’re a fan of baseball, you’re a fan of the team. Reading such narrow-minded and biased predictions such as those from Pearlman really make me sick, how do you write blogs and not know anything about baseball?

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I am amused.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    From Pearlman’s predictions post:

    NL Cy Young Award: Andrew Miller, Florida

    Now, I can appreciate being bold, but what?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      St. Louis Cardinals: Weak on paper.

      I am amused.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      “1. Cleveland Indians—Just my gut feeling. Are reloading quickly.”

      Reloading even more now.

    • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

      Still not as moronic as picking Stephen Strasburg for the fucking NL Rookie of the Year Award.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Eh. The Empire had a point.

    • Dayman, fighter of the Nightman


    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      I love rooting for the empire, the evil empire that is.

  • P. Rizzo

    I will sock your nose, Pearlman. I LOVE watching Yankees-Twins, Yankees-Rangers, Yankees-Indians. Mostly because it’s cheaper for me to TRAVEL to those cities and see my team than it is for me to go to The Stadium and get a good seat for Yankees-Red Sox. (Legends seats at $2k+ or all-inclusive seats behind home plate in Minnesota for $110?).

    Have fun sitting in your dark room brooding over your computer screen while the rest of us are out enjoying beautiful weather with cold beers, hot dogs and, most importantly, OUR FRIENDS!

    Sorry you don’t have any of those, Mr. P.

    • ledarthdavid


  • David A

    Wow, some of those picks are just hilarious.

  • Tank the Frank

    Between this and Jim Rice, this has been a great weekend for calling Yankee-haters out and making them look foolish.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Another fine piece of journalism by Mr. Pearlman:


    There is a kernel of truth to it, but easy there, bud.

    • Tank the Frank

      So the basis of the article is: Winning has taken all the fun out of winning.


      • Thomas A. Anderson

        No, his main point of contention is that the Yank’s “Win the World Series or Else” mandate has sucked the fun out of just simply following a baseball team and enjoying a great season.

        He has something of a point but took it 1 million yards too far.

  • Ivan

    You know the way journalism is going, ppl like me, joe and etc might have a career in that field rite now.

  • whozat

    Do people actually choose to be fans of certain teams? I’m a Yankee fan because my dad and uncle and grandpa are/were. It’s that simple. If they were pirates fans, I’d be a depressed, angry pirates fan.

    • JMK

      Do you have the energy to get into a debate about free will?

      I sure don’t.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Didn’t really choose to be a Yankees fan, I just was.

      However, I *did* choose the Devils and the Jets.

      • thurdonpaul

        ewww if your a yankee fan, your supposed to be a giants fan, not jets :)

    • Tank the Frank

      I’m sure people become fans because their family and/or friends were fans of the same team, and you grow up rooting for that team. Then there are others who choose to root for whomever they want.

      I’m a Yankees fan because I grew up watching them and rooting for them. Fell in love with players like Mattingly, Bernie etc.

    • V

      Cardinals’ fan by birth, Yankees’ fan by marriage (starting in 2003… so, um, this current drought? You can blame me).

    • DSFC

      Anyone can be a fan of any team, but I think a pretty high proportion of the real diehards grew up with a team as a family affair. I did – the earliest memory of my entire life is going to see a Yankees-White Sox game at the Stadium in 1980 at the tender age of 4 – Reggie got tossed for arguing balls and strikes. I had a Yankee uniform at that age that I also wore as a Halloween costume. I had a number of Yankees hats. I had a Graig Nettles signature model bat. I cried my eyes out when they lost to the Dodgers in 1981 (and forever despised Fernando Valenzuela and George Frazier because of that Series). I worshipped Mattingly, Guidry and Randolph. I got mad at games when everyone booed Andre Robertson because I liked him and I thought it was mean (hey, I was 5 or 6). I remember being furious that Saberhagen edged Gator for the 1985 Cy. George Brett was public enemy #1. Etc, etc – I could go on for pages.

      The point is, Yankees games were as much a family affair for us as Christmas. My dad’s been a diehard for 50 years. My sister is one, too. For this cretin to intimate that, because the Yankees win a lot, I should renounce them and become a fucking Sox fan…..why don’t I just renounce my family name and my American citizenship? Being a Yankee fan is no less a part of my identity than either of those things.

      What a fucking clown.

      • thurdonpaul

        very good post on being a fan for life

      • DF

        Awesome, awesome post. At my grandmother’s funeral, the deacon began the eulogy by informing our grieving family that the Yankees were up 4-3 over the Sox. The Yanks are a family affair.

    • rafael

      Grew up and still live in Southern California.

      And yet I only started to enjoy baseball because of the Yankees. Nobody in my family or friends is their fan. Sometimes you can choose your team, I guess.

    • steve (different one)

      I’m a Yankee fan because my dad and uncle and grandpa are/were. It’s that simple.


      • DSFC

        In my case, though, my grandpa grew up a Giants fan and became a Mets fan after the Giants moved away. He’s hated the Yankees for 70+ years now and sometimes says he doesn’t know what he did to deserve children and grandchildren who are Yankees fans :)

    • Sonny Red

      I agree everyone in my family is a Yankee fan for the most part and Ive lived in New York City my entire life, so it really wasnt much of a choice. Me and mom used to watch Yankee games on channel 11 when i was a little kid, wouldnt it be kinda strange if I randomly was like, “Hey screw this the Yankees are bad(which they were at the time) i’m going to be a Royals or Blue Jays fan now” Not to mention that since there were only about 15 channels at the time (1990) it would have even been impossible for me to watch anything but Yankee or Mets games.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    And I thought I couldn’t find a sportswriter I detest more than Ken Rosenthal…

    • Tank the Frank

      Let’s not get crazy.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I dunno.
        I mean Smoltz and Penny could easily win more games than CC and AJ?
        The “sucka got no juice” article is better than that…kinda.

      • JMK

        IETC. Jemele Hill is a favorite of mine. Gets that white guilt thing all stirred up for me.

        • PinstripesForeverDouglas

          Jemele Hill is a racist.

  • Ivan

    New Rule: You cannot be a professional journalist if you are not smarter than a 5th grader, or have the imaginations of a 5th grader.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Look at his predictions for teams this eyar! Nearly all of predictions are wrong and the ones he got right are last place teams.

  • JMK

    Do you guys have a link to the predictions page?

  • V

    The fact that this hack has a job is all anyone needs to know about why the newspaper industry is dying.

  • Salty Buggah

    It’s in the article but here it is : http://jeffpearlman.com/?p=1084

  • Stu H

    When I root for the Yankees, I root for my grandfather. I root for the days spent in the summer sun, watching a game he taught me to love. I long for that time past, the time I spent with him. I won’t ever be able to experience it again, as he passed many years ago, but a piece of him is carried with me every time I watch a baseball game, sitting out in the sun.

    And last year, when I entered Yankee stadium for the last time, he was with me.

    • Salty Buggah

      That’s deep

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Stu are you trying to make me cry? I’m not made of stone.

      I enjoyed your comment very, very much.

  • DSFC

    I like the AL MVP prediction, too. Nice one there Jeffy

    • V

      Add the following to the list:

      “4. Detroit Tigers—Dontrelle Willis looks done … and Edwin Jackson is average.”

      “2. Philadelphia Phillies—Raul Ibanez isn’t overlooked—he’s overrated.”


    • V

      1. Arizona Diamondbacks—Pitching overcomes all … this year.

  • Salty Buggah

    His bio at the site says that he ” lives in New York with his wife and two children, and enjoys swallowing gum.”

    Seriously? Heh.

  • Greg G.

    Ah, yes, the Yanks have a 7.5 game lead, so it’s time to whip out the “best team money can buy” meme.

    It would anger me if it weren’t so damn predictable.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      He’s just bitter because when the Mets tried it went so horribly wrong. ;)

  • Chili Davis

    Sorry, Pearlman. I’ve been a Yankee fan since I knew what baseball was. My first glove was a Don Mattingly model. I’ve got a picture of myself as a 5-year-old in Cooperstown wearing a full Yankee uniform. They’ve always been my team, they’ll always be my team. I love the Yankees and that won’t change, regardless of whether they’re playing the Red Sox or the Nationals, so F off.

  • donttradecano

    3. New York Yankees—They’re becoming the 1980s version of themselves, Remember Steve Kemp, Don Baylor, Roy Smalley, etc …

    Someone should keep a list of all the hate thrown the yankees way for when the season is over.

  • http://conservationvaluenotes.com Jon G

    Yeah, I saw this — guy is a moron.

    Ahhh, yes, through thick and thin. After dealing with the 80’s, and then wanting to throw a brick through my TV when the strike hit in 1994 — when the Yanks were headed to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years — we deserve what we get. It certainly ain’t always good. I remember several years in the 80’s where they had like a 55-31 record first half and then folded second half. It was tough to have been brought up a Yankee fan.

    In 1995, I was doing some work for The Nature Conservancy on a 321,000 acre ranch in the SW corner of New Mexico, 60 miles from the nearest TV. Had to drive down the “Geronimo Trail”, a 60 mile dirt road through the Peloncillo Mountains, to watch the playoff games in a tiny Mexican restaurant in Douglas, Arizona. Occasionally rattle snakes, and once even a racer, would cross the road as they do in the southwest while I struggled to find radio coverage until I could get to the TV. The Peloncillos, for you Tombstone fans, are where the Clanton’s had their hideout…

    In 1998, I had to sneak a battery mini TV with me during a backpacking trip in Great Smokey Mtn National Park with a forest ecology and management class to be able to watch/listen to El Duque’s masterpiece in the playoffs.

    What other stories do you have of what you’ve gone through as a Yankee fan that illustrate just how idiotic Pearlman’s statements were? I know I, for one, had an absolute blast at the Yanks-A’s game on Wednesday night!

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      This would be good as a stand alone post topic.

      I’ve not had it too bad, but then I’m young–I first started following baseball around the age of 10, which coincided with the late nineties.

      If I survived 2004–and I did–with my fandom intact, I can survive anything.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

    Honestly I don’t even know how I could have become a fan of another team unless I hated everything about my circumstances as a child (and the Yankees weren’t winning anything important during my childhood).

    * Everyone in my family who is a baseball fan is a Yankees fan.

    * I lived very close to Yankee Stadium (still do).

    * My mom doesn’t really watch any NL baseball.

    This is how people who are young become die-hard fans of teams. Who’s on TV? Who does my family like? Did you go to a lot of ballgames?

    The first time I actually paid attention to another team–as a team–in earnest was the 1993 Phillies because I decided I liked some of their players but by then my fanhood had already been forged.

    Or maybe I’m just not human. Hmm.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      It was John Kruk’s mullet wasn’t it? Women find it irresistable.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        I liked Curt Schilling and Terry Mullholland. Things changed later (very quickly for the latter!).

  • Mike HC

    That Pearlman article was similar in tone to many of the anti Yankee comments made on this blog.

  • bonestock94


    Send him hate mail here, I already have.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    My first memory of the Yankees is my mom explaining Munson’s death. She took me to one game–we left in the tenth, and heard it won with a Yank homer in the 11th (some things never change). Dave Winfield gave my grandmother his chair at a book signing.

    My five year old daughter gets her math practice through baseball. She already doesn’t like the Sox, but hasn’t learned the restraint to not say “we don’t like Bostpn right daddy?” when she sees a ‘B’ hat.

    I remember channel 11, Scooter (Holy Cow!), Goose before he started talking, Guidry, Nettles, Cerone. Billy Martin!

    That dude is an idiot.

  • Lanny

    Pearlman is the typical bleeding heart.

  • bonestock94

    lol, he responded to me.

  • Pete C.

    I’ve been a Yankee fan since Bobby Richardson caught Willy Mcovey’s linedrive in 62. Believe when I say “I remember the down years”. And back in the late ’90s I told my son who’s 20 now, enjoy it while you can because it can all disapear tommorow, He didn’t believe me until ’04.
    From the time I made his Boston loving Grandfather return the Mo Vaughn shirt, till now my son understands the importance of finding a team you root for and staying with them through thick and thin. Fortunately for him he chose the Yanks, spending his life in foster homes would have been rough during those formative years, JUST KIDDING (sort of).

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