Yankees: Yes, John Smoltz really does hate the NYY
By Adam Weinrib
FOX announcer and former Braves ace John Smoltz truly does hate the Yankees, who ruined his life.
Yankees fans — and every other fan base across this beautiful league — generally uncork the same refrain whenever Joe Buck happens to be on the mic for their national game: “This guy freaking hates us.”
It’s never true. Buck is a professional, has been doing this forever, and, yes, can sometimes be swayed by the most exciting narrative. In 2004, he was probably rooting for the Red Sox to topple the Yankees, deep down. Lots of people were. You can’t hold natural inclinations against Buck — unless you’re a Cubs fan, seeing as his father was iconically linked to the Cardinals franchise for decades.
And that’s where our narrative begins.
Because Buck is usually partnered these days with John Smoltz, the former Atlanta Braves ace, who really, earnestly does seem to hate the Yankees. And I’l tell you why: He hates the Yankees. The Yankees ruined his life. It all adds up.
You see, without the Yankees, Smoltz is part of a three-headed ace that led the Team of the Decade to multiple World Series title. But the Yankees do exist (and God bless ’em!), so Smoltz is simply a Hall of Fame pitcher who failed to deliver on his team’s promise over, and over, and over again.
Predictably, history has not been kind to the ’90s Braves, as we all could’ve predicted as the decade wrapped. After all, it’s not what you do in the first half of a decade, and it’s not what you do in the regular season that matters.
The 10-year period from 1991-2000 was unequivocally dominated by Atlanta, but the second half featured four Yankees World Series appearances (and wins) from ’96 to ’00. Atlanta snuck into the World Series in ’91, ’92, ’95, ’96 and ’99 (holy hell), but only polished off one of them — in 1995 against the extremely cursed Indians, with a horrifically wide strike zone to help Tom Glavine in Game 6. That looks … bad. And it’s mostly the Yankees’ fault.
All of this to say: It seems like John Smoltz hates the Yankees because he objectively does. They stormed from 2-0 down in the 1996 World Series to take a title from his grasp, and swept his Braves into submission in their 1999 battle for unofficial “Team of the Decade” status. Smoltz won the Cy Young in 1996, put up an 0.64 ERA in two starts, and … lost a 1-0 game to Andy Pettitte. LOL, dude.
So, remember that when Smoltz spends an entire Yankees-Red Sox game claiming the juggernaut Yankees strike out too much to win in October, but the abysmal Red Sox are “close” and we should “feel bad” for their manager Ron Roenicke, just remember that it comes from a place of hate. He hates the Yankees. He doesn’t want to say nice things about them. They made his career feel empty.
That’s it and that’s all. Your feelings are legitimate.