27 Reasons to Love the Yankees


The New York Yankees celebrated their 27th World Series after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies. (Ed Betz/Newsday/MCT)

Published: November 19, 2009

Game Six, bottom of the ninth, Yankees up 7-3 with Mariano Rivera on the mound closing the game. The energy of the crowd gushes through the television screen as I teem with excitement. One out. Two out. Game over! Screams of joy fill my room and the hallway. Suddenly, all is right with the universe. The New York Yankees, after a nine-year drought, finally won their 27th World Series.

For this fan and the legion of fans across the world who simply love and adore their Yankees, the elusive 27th World Series title christened the new Yankee stadium in style. And while the Yankees have a devoted fan base, there are many detractors as well. These detractors envy the fact that, with a payroll of slightly over $208 million,  the Yankees can obtain superstar players such as Alex Rodriguez, who earns a mere $33 million per year, in order to aid in the team’s success.

What you won’t hear is that, for their indulgence, the Yankees had to pay a luxury tax over the last six years to the tune of $148.3 million to Major League Baseball.  Those monies collected go back to small market teams to reinvest. Only those small market teams pocket the cash and do nothing to put a winning product on the field.

So pardon this Yankee fan if I see it differently. Most of us grow up having someone close introduce us to our first Yankee experience. As for me, I can remember being three years old and sitting on my grandpa’s lap, watching a game on the television with my dad and uncle there, cheering the team on. After that, I could never go back. I had officially become a Yankee fan.

The Yankees are known for possessing a certain swagger. This year’s team had character proved by their 15 come from behind walk-off wins. In addition to their swagger and winning ways, it was evident that this year’s team was having fun. From pies in the face to chest bumps and secret handshakes, the Yankees’ playful attitudes had everyone feeling that this was going to be a special season.

The winning traditions continue. Instead of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Bera and Ford, we now have Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Posada and A-Rod. With the addition of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixieira, this season’s team was unstoppable. With any successful organization, there needs to be an excellent leader. The Yankees found one in manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi became the third Yankee player to return as manager and win a World Series title. So, I guess if I weren’t a Yankee fan, I might be a little jealous of what the Yankees have accomplished since 1923 and I might view Yankees fans as spoiled. But since I am a Yankees fan, I don’t see it that way—the winning never gets old.

Yankees fans are a special breed. They are passionate about their Yankees.  Just look at the 2009 attendance figures; 3.7 million fans attended a game in the new Yankee Stadium, only second to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ attendance.  The Yankees also were second in road game attendance this year, with about 2.8 million fans or haters seeing them play in opposing ballparks. It just proves that there are Yankee fans all over the country.

The fans are always seen celebrating, but there have been dark periods in Yankee history. As mentioned before, it has taken nine years to get this 27th win, but there have been dry spells in their winning streaks even greater than this one. Before their victory in 1996, the Yankees waited 18 years to achieve that championship ring. Prior to winning their 1977 championship, the Yankees had a 15-year losing streak as well.

Being a fan of the New York Yankees is a lifetime commitment. Anyone can argue that the Yankees are just another baseball team, but that’s simply not true. They are the New York Yankees, the Bronx Bombers. The fact that they represent New York has created a cultural icon. Would Babe Ruth be The Great Bambino if he didn’t play for the Yankees? Who would Spike Lee or Paul Simon have supported without the Yankees? And honestly, do you think Jay-Z would be rapping about the greatness of the Mets if the Yankees didn’t exist?

Quite frankly, there are sports teams and then there are the New York Yankees, by far one of the most decorated and celebrated sports teams in history; just the right team to represent the best city in the world. It also doesn’t hurt that they play this game of baseball on the world’s biggest stage.  You can’t come to New York City without encountering someone wearing Yankee pride. With a new $1.3 billion stadium, fit enough for a royal court, the New York Yankees did not disappoint.

I think Joe DiMaggio, the legendary center fielder, said it best, “I’d to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.” As for me, I’d like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankees fan.