The (gulp) Likable 2009 Yankees

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I hate what I am about to say.

I mean, I really, really hate it. I detest the very existence of it. It’s gag-inducing. It’s embarrassing. It’s completely blasphemous. Frankly, it might even be dangerous.

But, here it goes:

The 2009 Yankees are a likable team.

(Dodges lightning bolt).

Seriously. They are. Apart from two players – corporate ding dong Mark Teixeira and WWE wrestler-as-closer Joba Chamberlain – this year’s Yankees team is a respectable, hustling, personable bunch. (At this time last year, A-Rod had what I fully believed was a lifetime membership in the above Weiner Club, but I can’t even bring myself to hate him anymore, after everything that’s happened. I just feel bad for him.)

This Yankees club is built around – can you believe it? – clubhouse guys like Nick Swisher. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Just two years ago, the idea of the uptight, clean-shaven Yankees employing a mohawk-sporting goofball like Swisher was unthinkable. But it’s true – this year’s team actually features some likable characters. Hell, even one of their biggest (poor word choice, perhaps) stars, C.C. Sabathia, is by all accounts a good, fun-loving guy. He’s even an activist, for crying out loud (Sabathia spoke publicly in 2007 against the increasing scarcity of black players in Major League Baseball).

And then you have the two guys that even the most strident Yankee hater is hard-pressed to loathe:

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

Sure, there’s a populace of Red Sox fans who refuse to say a good thing about Jeter, but as a general rule, the more knowledgeable the fan, the more respect he or she has for the Yankee captain. I mean, what can you really say about him, other than he is a solid shortstop, a proven playoff winner, and an absolute social swordsman? What’s to hate?

Then there’s Rivera, the – earmuffs Papelbon – greatest closer of all time. Not only is he dominant, he’s dominant at 40. And, he refuses to take any credit for his success, claiming instead that his ridiculous, wiffle-ball cutter was a “gift from God.”

Yes, apparently history’s finest closer is also a humble, reserved, regular guy. He doesn’t preen and pose before pitches (Take notes, Jonathan). He doesn’t taunt batters or launch obnoxious fist pumps after strikeouts. Rivera has no need for histrionics. He just goes out and pitches. Does his job. And does it better than anyone else.

So, yes, the 2009 Yankees are unfortunately likable. They are, in fact, everything that the 2009 Red Sox weren’t:

Spirited, passionate, determined, hungry.

They are a team of guys who stand on the top step of the dugout, ready for things to go their way. They are the kind of team that wins World Series championships.

They are, really, a team that very closely resembles the 2004 Red Sox. And we all know how that went.

So, do I think they’ll win it all?

Yes. Absolutely.

And I almost hope they do.

Maybe then Red Sox Nation will get its fire back.

  1. umm… excuse me?! Posada is NOT likeable. I think he should be added to the unlikeable list.

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