Like all good-hearted people, I hate the Yankees.
When you break down that statement a bit, though, things get more complicated. The only members of the current roster whom I actually loathe are Satan and Miguel Cairo, and Miguel Cairo isn't worth more than passing bile. What I really hate is the franchise as a collective entity. And most of what I hate about it is the front-running, gimme-gimme fans with their sense of entitlement and their love of rooting for the overdog.
But only most of it. I also hate their cheap propagandists, Michael Kay and John Sterling and Paul O'Neill and Suzyn Waldman. A list to which we may as well add Joe Morgan and Jon Miller. Who, really, deserve our derision even more than the pitiable Lord Haw-Haws of YES and WCBS. Because Morgan and Miller are supposed to be neutral observers. They're supposed to be pros.
Watching tonight's game, you'd never guess who was in first place and who'd only just closed within double digits. You'd have no idea which team played an all-or-nothing game to go to the World Series and which was sent packing in the first round of the playoffs. If it wasn't Jeter's radiance it was Clemens' heroic journey back to the bank or Ron Guidry's ancient glory days. Those guys in the other dugout? Um, there was Jose Reyes, discussed mostly as Jeter's foil. And a couple of mentions of David Wright. El Duque got a retrospective of sorts — of his days as a Yankee.
Seriously, let's review some of the things I saw before I got so disgusted that I retreated to Howie and Tom:
* An “acrobatic play” by Derek Jeter that sure looked like a routine assist on a groundout to me.
* Did you know Jeter has cute little nicknames for his teammates? Like he calls Robinson Cano Canoe? That's why they call him Captain Intangibles. Championship stuff there.
* Later, Morgan went out of his way to praise Jeter for a tag play. The way he put his glove in front of the baserunner's hand was gritty and gutty and showed all the kids out there the way the game's supposed to be played, I guess. Only it was Canoe who did that. I mean Cano.
* A lame softball interview with Satan by Peter Gammons, who's so much better than this. Miller almost got in a mild dig at Clemens, noting that he was in fact with the team despite not pitching tonight, but then the Yankee chip in his head started beeping and he made Clemens' attendance sound like a tour of duty in the Peace Corps. And how did Clemens do against the Mets Friday night? Apparently he was beaten by Jose Reyes. No mention of who'd opposed him and thrown a shutout. None whatsoever.
* A while later, Morgan did recall (in chatting with Willie Randolph, who looked like he'd just been force-fed an entire lemon tree) that there'd been a Met pitcher in that game who'd done OK in the shadow of the Great God Clemens. And so he asked Willie about Odalis Perez. (I know they talked about Oliver a couple of innings later. Too little too late. And then Morgan came up with some tortured musing about the Yankees would have won if they hadn't had baserunners on at unlucky times. Or something. I got dizzy trying to follow it.)
Look, 8-2 is a beating. Chien-Ming Wang was masterful. A-Rod hit a ball to Montauk. Our various problems — crappy hitting, bad relief, dopey plays, whatever the hell's wrong with Beltran — weren't exactly erased by one good game by
Odalis Oliver. But the bowing and scraping in the direction of Monument Park started long before the game cratered.
I've given up on respect in the tabloids and on talk radio — the circus is always going to be run by hucksters and suck in its share of rubes. But is it too much to ask that the self-appointed world-wide leader in sports do a little better than three hours of mash notes to one side of the room? The only saving grace of last night's loss was if you watched it on ESPN, you barely knew the Mets were there in the first place.