Everyone, across this great nation, hates the New York Yankees. They hate them more than the Boston Red Sox, a similar behemoth with similar fans who live in a smaller east-coast city and succeed more often. That’s just the way it is. That is wrongheaded, but it will never, ever change.
If the Yankees had gotten the last laugh once this decade, that hatred would be palatable. Boo all you want. Scream yourself hoarse. Finishing the season atop the mountain — or even on the right side of history — negates all that yelling.
Unfortunately, Yankee Haters have gotten everything they’ve ever dreamed of since 2009, and especially over the course of the past five years. Derek Jeter’s gone. Mariano Rivera’s out. The 2017 Yankees arrived ahead of schedule, then lost to their newfound rivals, the Houston Astros, right at the horn.
Then, they were eliminated by four different rivals in the postseason at the end of the next four seasons. So, what’s left to hate about them?
Their offense is nonexistent, so opposing fans can’t hate them for mashing the ball. They’ve been a middling playoff team for several seasons, so fans can’t hate their unadulterated dominance. They rarely spend as much as their competitors — or, at least, spend as recklessly — so that’s out (or outdated, if you’re still chanting it).
All that’s left is to boo them for ruining historic moments by making fundamentally sound decisions.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had no interest in sending soft-tossing left-hander Lucas Luetge out to face Miguel Cabrera from the right side of the plate, even though Miggy was one hit away from 3,000. Boone intentionally walked him to get a two-out, lefty-lefty matchup between Luetge and Austin Meadows. This was the correct move. It was the move any manager who wanted to win a baseball game would’ve made.
Somehow, it sent objective members of Baseball Twitter spinning into a frenzy, as if they wouldn’t have also laughed maniacally if Cabrera had made Boone look like a fool and spanked the ill-equipped left-hander into center field on a line.
Yankees incur wrath of Baseball Gods, Baseball Analytics Experts (??) by walking Miguel Cabrera intentionally.
Why are you booing me? I’m right!
Not only was there very little wrong with Boone’s decision, but it wasn’t even controversial. Hindsight is 20/20, but Meadows didn’t get good wood on a Luetge looper, flipping it into center field. It shouldn’t have dropped. Detroit fans should’ve gotten their “Yankees Suck!” chants off in a 1-0 victory instead of a 3-0 one.
Detroit fans and writers were understandably upset. They wanted to witness history! They had every right to expel hatred on a team that’s long tormented the baseball landscape (even though the Yankees are 0-3 against the Tigers in their only three playoff matchups).
But the level above the simple knee-jerk discourse insinuating the Yankees were an affront to baseball on Thursday by playing intelligently (for once) is difficult to swallow.
I forgot the portion of the Unwritten Rulebook that encourages you to decrease your chances of winning. Must’ve missed that.
Unlike in Clayton Kershaw’s non-perfecto last week, this game was very much on the line. And, in that instance, Baseball Nerds united to come to Dave Roberts’ DEFENSE for wrecking history in the name of keeping Kershaw intact. This time, Baseball Nerds united to scream at Boone for doing something by the book? Your true colors are showing.
How is this the world we live in?
Might need to redefine that. If MLB teams were penalized by “karma” for trying to increase their chances of victory by inducing lefty-lefty matchups, the Rays would’ve spent the past 15 years in last place.
Boone inducing boos in Motown with his tough-but-fair intentional walk makes perfect sense. The baseball world uniting to scream at the Yankees for displaying (on-field) situational awareness feels very misplaced.
If the Yankees could simply finish the job one time — in a series, in a season, in a storytelling sense — the hatred would all feel a lot more natural. As of now, it all just seems performative and infuriating.