Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Better Expression of My Views on Sports Than I Could Write

It’s difficult sometimes for me to explain my hatred for the New York Yankees. It’s one of those principles that seems utter nonsense unless you already understand it. So it’s impossible to make anyone understand it. However, Joe Queenan of the New York Times does a very good job.

It all revolves around the smugness of the franchise: everyone hopes to win, but the Yankees (like the Dallas Cowboys, Duke University basketball, the LA Lakers, and Manchester United) expect to win. A team can go on a years-long winning streak, like the Green Bay Packers, or Chicago Bulls, and not necessarily have this smugness, the presumption of victory. Everyone has to work for victory, but these teams are still conscious of having to work for it, and that consciousness in a Bulls fan, Packers fan, or Blue Jays fan prevents smugness from developing.

Developing legions of insincere fans from all over the world also helps build that smugness. The Montreal Canadiens won almost every hockey game they ever played for decades (and even a few games that they weren’t even playing at all). But the paradigmatic Canadiens fan was still a Quebecois. But there is nothing more insufferable than a dedicated Yankees fan from Arizona or Paris.

Being a Canadian who likes baseball, we all converge morally on Toronto, because the Blue Jays are all we’ve got. Even when the Montreal Expos still existed, Toronto was really all we had. Being ten years old during the second world series victory in a row helped imprint the Blue Jays on my personality as something to which warm, fuzzy thoughts and feelings apply.

The most difficult thing about being a Blue Jays fan is that they’re in the toughest division in the entire sport. Every Blue Jays victory has to come with a Yankees, Red Sox, or Tampa Bay Rays loss. You shouldn’t count the Baltimore Orioles as a team, however, because a 1-11 record this season disqualifies them from that status. So not only have the Blue Jays become my only untainted expression of patriotism, but they are also my weapon against the itching smugness of the Yankees. They’re down to third in the division right now, but a 7-6 record is still good in the first two weeks of the season. The Jays keep above .500 win percentage, and maybe this could be the year we knock the Yankees out.