Yankee Stadium: Where Winning Happens
Is there anything better in life than winning?
Life, in the Darwinian sense, is one giant genetic competition, so it should come as no surprise that this fundamental need to win consumes our entire existence. Most of our lives are spent trying to win at something, although it doesn’t always manifest itself as a sport, or even a physical, biological struggle. We compete to get good grades in high school so we can compete at a good college so we can compete for a good job so we can compete for more money so we can compete with the asshole investment banker at the bar for the hottie in the red top so we can produce better versions of us: our own lil’ competitors. Gotta love science. C’est la vie.
Suffice it to say that the need to win is ingrained in our very being. And god bless America, because no other capitalist country promotes competition better than the good ol’ U.S. of A. Business, pleasure, sports, movies, food, whatever, America produces the biggest and baddest and best and winningest that the world has to offer. Why? Because Americans are winners. We have been since the Revolution, and we will be until we blow the world up, choke on greenhouse gasses, or get taken over by the Chinese, whichever comes first.
Point is, I’m addicted to winning, just like everyone else in this country and on this planet, and the easiest fix we have for this addiction is sports. Religion may be the opiate of the masses, but sport is the drug of choice for dudes. It allows us to satisfy our need for victory, and all we have to do is sit on the sofa and chug beer.
In fact, sports are a lot like drugs. The good highs are amazing but much less frequent than the lows. It’s easily accessible and seems cheap at first, but after 10 years and thousands of dollars spent on tickets and jerseys and hats and even more thousands of hours wasted watching meaningless games in August and adjusting fantasy rosters and arguing which Yankee pitcher would make the best beer pong player, you wonder if it was worth it.
Of course it’s worth it. It’s worth it for the playoffs, even if your team isn’t playing. It’s worth it for the web gems, for the box scores, for the way your stomach feels after four hot dogs and six $8 beers at The Stadium on a blistering afternoon in July. And it’s definitely worth the dumb debates, because let’s face it, without sports guys would have to actually learn how to communicate, and raise your hand if you’re willing to do that. I though so.
It’s worth it when your team rips off nine in a row, that’s for sure. Good LORD this feels great. After a disappointing 2008 and a lackluster April, I was beginning to sour on the Yankees. Say what you will, I’m a fair weather fan, I’m not a true Yankee, whatever. If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I care too much… I cared that the Yankees weren’t very good, and that they weren’t planning for the future, and that they looked like a bunch of bored billionaires. Which is why I’m absolutely psyched that they ae winning, and winning with pitching. A-Rod’s return certainly helps, but it’s the rotation that has carried this team to nine consecutive victories. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to the bullpen, which has pitched much better of late and held it down for 8 1/3 last night after Joba had to leave the game with a stiff knee.
It’s a great feeling. Two weeks ago CC was struggling, Joba couldn’t get through the 1st, Teixeira was under the Mendoza line and Toronto was running away with the division. Now? Yanks are 1 game back of the Sox and 1.5 back of the fading Jays (welcome to the AL East boys), A-Rod is back, Tex is mashing, and CC looks like the ace we all knew he would be.
I do have to address my inner Eeyore though: the home runs.
The Yankees lead the majors in home runs with 66, which is great, until you realize they’ve hit 39 of those at the New House, and they’ve played one less game at home than on the road. 75 dingers have gone ballyard at Yankee Stadium in only 20 games. I don’t have to be Russell Crowe from A Beautiful Mind to tell you that’s a lot of home runs, to the tune of nearly four per game. Maybe (hopefully) this is an aberration, and maybe the number of home runs will go down as the Yankee pitchers improve. Problem is, home run rates tend to go up in the summer, not down. Not to fan the flames of panic, but the Phillies are coming to town, and they lead the NL in round trippers. You can cite their bandbox ballpark, but Yankee Stadium is playing smaller than Citizen Bank, and the Phillies have hit more home runs on the road than at their home, in fewer games.
For now, though, no more complaints about a nine game win streak.