Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, July 08, 2004

BASEBALL NATION: Top Ten Reasons I Hate The Yankees, #10-#6

Before I get this list started, let me make a confession: once upon a time, I was a Yankee fan too. I liked Don Mattingly and Buck Showalter, even Joe Torre. And Paul O'Neill was my all-time favorite. But after '01, things got too crazy for me. The Yanks' already-bloated payroll shot up, the Yankees got Mondesi and Weaver, two guys I really didn't like, and I simply matured as a baseball fan, realizing it's a lot more fun to hate the Yankees than to root for them. So without further ado, here we go.

10) FRED HICKMAN, YES Network Pregame/Postgame. If you said this guy had the personality of a doorknob, it would probably be a compliment. This affirmative racism success story is a walking cliche-spewer. Every baseball cliche you've heard? This guy's got it: "Sheffield took one for the team with that beaning." "The Yankees did a nice job playing little-ball in the 5th, as they manufactured two runs." "Jeter made a nice play on that Baltimore chop." I'd rather watch paint dry than sit through a half-hour of this guy. And to top it off, he's the biggest Yankee fan this side of Mrs. Steinbrenner. Need I say more?

9) YANKEE STADIUM I'm tired of hearing about this "baseball cathedral" and how it's the greatest stadium. I know, I know, Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, they all played there. But remember: they also played half their games on the road. Too bad they got rid of Sportsman's Park: what a shrine that was! And aesthetically, the place stinks. Recent polls of the ballparks generally place the Yankees among the bottom of the list. The place just isn't that nice! So it's better than Shea- c'mon, that's not saying a whole lot. After my recent trip to the Phillies' beautiful new digs, I have basically no interest to go back to Yankee Stadium. And Curt Schilling was right about the aura and mystique- they sound like the names of strippers or the like. Nothing else to it.

8) BERNIE WILLIAMS- After having centerfield be patrolled by exciting players through the years like DiMaggio, Mantle, and even Rivers and Henderson, the Yanks put in this dud. Bernie's just a bore to watch. I'll admit he had a couple of good years, but now the guy is clearly washed up. Has he had a big hit since '96? And his fielding has gone nowhere but south. And even in his prime, the people who wanted to compare him to Ken Griffey Jr. just had to be kidding. But hey, those comparisons gave him his huge contract, which is why he's currently as overpaid as he is. Bernie's about as streaky a Yankee as it gets, making him way too frustrating to watch. He'll bat .200 in June, then go .400 in July. And he always takes a month off every year, which ticks me off. There's always another injury; this guy's no Cal Ripken. At least if he would've kept wearing the bar glasses he wore in the early '90's, that would add to his personality.

8) JASON GIAMBI- What would a list about the Yankees be without two number 8's? When the Yanks signed this steroid-riddled guy, it was the beginning of the end for me. You look at the guy in '96 and you look at his pictures now, he's a different person! This guy may go down as one of the biggest disappointments in Yankee free-agent history. After posting Triple Crown-esque numbers in Oakland, his numbers cooled off in '02. And since then, Giambi's been awful. The .250 in '03 was pathetic. Any Yankee fan's gotta worry about that balky knee. And he's one of the worst fielding first basemen in the game. The only good thing you can say about him is that he's a better fielder than Mike Piazza, which isn't saying much at all. And he's had one big hit as a Yankee- in April '02 against the Twins in extra-innings; nothing ever since. So I guess if Winfield was Mr. May, that makes Giambi Mr. April. Wonderful.

7) JOHN STERLING/ CHARLEY STEINER - Yankee radio broadcasters. Talk about impossible to listen to! Sterling is about as full of himself as it gets. All he seems to care about are his jokes and his shtick. The "Theeeeeeee Yankees Win" thing makes me cringe just thinking about it. As I listen to the classy Vin Scully while writing this, I think it's fair to say Sterling is Scully's opposite. The guy's a real homer. I guess he has to sound half-dead when the opponent hits a homerun, to avoid the wrath of King George.
And what happened to Steiner? He was so good on ESPN-radio with Dave Campbell, and then went to the Yankees and sold out. Steiner has also become a real homer, and I'm tired of hearing talk about the mystique of Yankee Stadium. I'm still waiting for him to actually criticize a Yankee! I don't know how this guy will get a job after doing the Yankees-- he's really sold out. Then again, as long as he sucks up to King George, I don't think he'll have to worry about anything.

6) JOE TORRE, manager- this guy has gotta be one of the biggest crybabies I've ever seen. When any other player makes contact with the Yanks, whether it was Clemens hitting Jeter in '98 or Huckaby in '03 or Posada running into Alfredo Almanzega in '04, it's always intentional if the other team does it. And Torre is firs to cry bloody murder! But when Clemens beans Piazza on the head, it was totally unintentional. Yeah, it just slipped out.
Everyone says he's such a great manager because his team makes it to the series each year. Hey, when your owner outspends everyone, it's no big deal. Why should Torre take the credit? Just because he's not as dumb as Grady Little?
And the fact Torre hasn't been fired and gets along with all his players- the Yankees are a totally different team than in the '70's. I'd love to see what would've happened if Torre would've managed the "Bronx Zoo." Besides, George has wisened up in his old age, and has come to realize that the manager-a-year policy is not the wisest of ideologies. So gimme a break.


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