Since I’ve been alive, the New York Yankees have played in seven World Series prior to 2009. Their opponents were the Los Angeles Dodgers (1981) Atlanta Braves (1996, 1999), San Diego Padres (1998), New York Mets (2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) and Florida Marlins (2003). For me, Each of those series had one common thread:
I took none of them seriously.
Heading into Game 1 (save for ’01, but as a New Yorker, those reasons weren’t baseball-related). I believed we would win, and I dismissed any and everything I heard from fans of the opposing teams. I mean, Atlanta, San Diego, the other half of New York*, Phoenix and Miami aren’t cities that I feel the need to pay attention to when it comes to sports.
* – Brooklyn & Queens, that means you
See, Philadelphia is a different animal. They eat, drink, live, breathe and die sports, harder than damn near any North American city with at least three major sports. When a Philly fan is down (i.e., Super Bowl XXXIX, ’93 World Series) he mopes like his dog got shot in the head in front of him…after getting run over by a semi. But when that fan is up, he’s like Leo DiCaprio hanging off the front of the Titanic.
Both types of fans are pretty insufferable. But those of those fans have nothing on the third type of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphian with hope. The Philadelphian who believes. The Philadelphian who thinks he truly has a shot.
A wise man once said about the four major cities on the Eastern Seaboard, “Boston has the brains, New York has the money, Washington has the power and Philadelphia has…cheesesteaks?”
If you’ve been to Philadelphia as many times as I have, you will begin to see the in-Philly-ority complex they have about themselves. For some reason, they can’t seem to get the respect as the other three cities mentioned and (barring the move of the Unites States Capital moving back up I-95) probably never will.
But in sport, the great equalizer of all urban areas, they have a shot. And they know it.
And trust, they’ll let you hear it.
That’s why, as a Yankee fan, I’m looking forward to the 2009 World Series, which begins tonight (weather permitting). The Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies are the two best teams in baseball. The Phillies are the defending champs, and the Yankees, long the kings of the sport, look to reclaim the throne.
And the hatred…my God, the hatred!
Actually (to bring this all full circle), the hatred is more northward than southward. As a New Yorker, I don’t really care for Philly. They’re mean people who speak funny and are usually behind the times in most trends. (Yeah, I said it.) But I don’t hate them.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia HATES New York, simply because…we’re New York.
I attended a Phillies playoff game two years ago. I wore my Yankee jersey to the game. The Phils were playing the Rockies, so I thought I was safe. After all, Phillies fans had no reason to hate the Yankees…after all, we never did anything to them, right*?
* – I mean, there was that four-game sweep in the 1950 World Series, but let’s let bygones be bygones, right?
“F—K THE YANKEES!” was the welcome I received in Section 305 (behind the right field foul pole). A smattering of boos followed. Actually, more like a thunderstorm of boos…of the Noah’s Ark reality.
So I look forward to this series, because both sides will be into it 100% percent.
And I can’t to rub it in their faces after we win in six.