The Greatest Team in History: A Rebuttal to Calvin Fitzgerald's "Most Hated Team in Sports"

When I discovered my buddy Calvin Fitzgerald was a fan of the Boston Red Sox, I felt pity for him for about 1.8 seconds…and even that was too much. Calvin went on to write a nice little chapter in his essay "Calvin's Sports Column" about the New York Yankees being the most hated team in sports.

I will not disagree with him—very few fans like the Yankees. And we Yankees fans like it that way. We don't want pretenders; we don't want people who just "like the Yankees" when their team isn't playing them; we don't want people claiming the Yankees are their "American League team." To be a Yankee fan is be apart of a religion of sorts, a sect that hails under the Church of Baseball.

The Yankees, starting out as the New York Highlanders in1903, were your basic down-and-out team until 1920. That year the world of baseball changed and planted the seed of what would become the greatest rivalry in the history of just about any sport. Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears? Eh, nothing special. Lakers versus Celtics? Not bad, but nowhere near equal. Liverpool versus the Manchester United? The English might think it was the best, but it's not. England against Ireland in the World Cup? Bloody, but Europeans will do that at a kid's soccer game as well.

No, nothing has pitted two teams, created such hatred, than the ruthless rivalry of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. And what happened that fateful year of 1920? The Red Sox traded a young left-handed pitcher who would go on to become arguably the best player in baseball to the Yankees. Since that fateful trade, the Red Sox, the pitiful, sorry-ass, loserdom team that they are, have yet to win a World Series since their last one in 1918.

"So what?" some might say. "The Chicago Cubs haven't won since 1908!" And that's absolutely true. But the Cubs have never been so close, so close they could smell it, so close they were ready to call their friends who were Yankee fans and rub it in their face, than the Boston Red Sox. And I know this will sting deep, but what I speak about is the 1986 World Series against the OTHER New York team, the Mets. The Red Sox, after going to the World Series (and of course losing) three times before this, were just ONE OUT—lemme repeat that, one out—from winning the World Series. Next thing you know, a series of hits and pass balls lead to a guffed easy ground ball down the first base line by a man named Bill Buckner and allowed the Mets to win Game 6 and force Game 7, which Boston subsequently choked,

The Yankees, on the other hand, went on to establish a dynasty synonymous with the word "baseball". Some of the most famous and greatest players in baseball history played for the Bronx Bombers: the 1927 Yankees (Murder's Row), the M&M boys (Mickey Mantle and Roger Marris), the October 12—a team that won FIVE STRAIGHT World Series titles, Mr. October Reggie Jackson, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, Red Sox killer Bucky Dent, etc. The Yankees have more players in the Hall of Fame than any other team—and 26 World Series titles (the most championships won by the same team in all of sports) to go with it.

Why do Boston fans, hell, why does almost every team's fans in baseball hate the Yankees? The answer is quite simple: the Yankees are the greatest team ever, so everyone wants a piece of them. They've got a stadium that drips with history, they've got a team that despite all attempts continues to show up in the playoffs, and they got a city and fan base that is nothing short of fanatical. The five boroughs back their team from the Bronx—well four; Queens has the Amazin' Mets.

We throw batteries—D Cells—at opposing teams. Bat Day had to be suspended once because of Yankees fans. We take our soda cups and tear them up into little pieces and wait for the outfielders to come near us so we could confuse them when they go to catch a ball. We spit, we curse, and we get into fights. But more than that, we're a family. I remember going to Yankee Stadium, my first time, and watching a lawyer in a $2000 three-piece suit chest bumping a sloppy motorcycle guy. "Only in the Bronx" in a common motto you'll hear to explain it. You mention the fact that you're a Yankee fan to another and suddenly you've got a friend for life. We're a group that knows we're hated—and we love every second of it.

Boston fans whine and bitch with all kinds of excuses. "You guys buy your team!" The Red Sox payroll isn't much different from the Yankees, and most of their key players came from the farm system. Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, etc.—all farm leaguers. "We deserve to win!" Says who? The only thing Boston fans know for certain is that they choke—why would such a loser team deserve to win on one occasion? They've had their chances and they've blown them; what's so different now? "We stick by our team even when they lose!" And so do Yankee fans—we weren't the best during the late 80's to mid-90's, but our fan base never died. Instead, have you been to Fenway Park? The seats are just big enough for leprechauns

The Red Sox have to go so far as to call the Yankees the "Evil Empire," create shirts that say "Yankees Suck" and even burn Yankee apparel. Worst yet, Red Sox fans chant "Yankees Suck" at events that don't have anything to do with the New York Yankees-hell, with baseball! At the Super Bowl celebration rally the New England Patriots held a few years ago, a loud, roaring "Yankees suck!" chant boomed from the crowd. At a Super Bowl celebration! That's another sport!

Red Sox fans hate the Yankees because the Yanks are so great. They're jealous—they wish they were as strong, as powerful as the Yankees. They wish they could celebrate with the same smug pride we Yankees fans hold in our hearts. Same goes for the rest of baseball's fans. We're hated because we're so great. No team will ever match the might of the Yankee dynasty. We're the most hated team in sports all right. But it's because we're also the Greatest Team in Sports. Boston Sucks! Go Yankees!