Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Will Someone Please Beat the Yankees?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Will Someone Please Beat the Yankees?

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

8:01 p.m.: first pitch of the baseball season is thrown in Anaheim.

8:02 p.m.: Royals, Pirates, Devil Rays, Marlins, Reds, Expos, Tigers and Brewers are mathematically eliminated.

8:03 p.m.: Yankees hold team meeting to discus World Series shares.

When I say "mathematically eliminated," I mean that if you take 109,791,893 (the league-leading number of dollars the Yankees spent to pay players last season), subtract one (the number of outs the Yankees came within winning their fourth consecutive Series) and add 120 million (the dollars given Jason Giambi as part of a massive offseason renovation), you tend to reach an obvious conclusion.

The Yankees are the team to beat. Again.

OK, the fact that even Sports Illustrated ("Oregon State is No. 1!") picked the Yankees to win it all, gives me reason to hope that maybe the Yankees won't.

But is it wrong to have such hopes?

I mean, last fall in the post-Sept. 11 finish, it seemed almost un-American to hate the guys in the pinstripes. They weren't just the Yankees. They were New York's team. They had poignant tributes. They had a policeman singing God Bless America. They had me almost breaking down and pulling for them, which I figure explains why they lost in Red Sox-like fashion.

You have to understand. I grew up a Detroit Tigers fan in the Stone Age, the era when the only baseball on TV was the Game of the Week, a Saturday afternoon contest featuring teams from all over the country, so long as they were playing either the Yankees or Dodgers.

Not that I'm bitter, mind you.

When the postseason rolled around, and my Tigers were eliminated, I would root for the other American League East teams. I pulled for the Red Sox, the Orioles and the Brewers. But the Yankees? Unless they were playing the Dodgers, I couldn't do it. …

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