Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Favorite Yankees

I'm rooting for the Yankees and I am making no apologies for it. I'm not going to defend their free spending ways, their perceived arrogance or Derek Jeter's perma-smug facial expression. I understand how everyone who ever had Mark Teixeira play for their team could probably hate the guy. And don't get me started about the orange-faced cheater, Alex Rodriguez. I still root for this team, however. In fact, I've rooted for them for longer than any other baseball team. They were my dad's team, and his father's team as well. And while I eventually found myself picking a certain National League team as my favorite of favorites, I am not going to bury my Yankee-loving roots. It also makes it just a little more fun to root for a team that everyone else seems to hate. It seems like there are always Yankee fans at road games that I see on TV, but everywhere I happen to go I hear nothing but venom and hatred for the team in pinstripes.

Here are my top 10 favorite Yankees of the moment. A week or a month from now this list could look a lot different because I'm not all that great at ranking things, but I took a stab right now nonetheless.

10 - Hideki Matsui

Matsui, when healthy, is an RBI machine. He doesn't give a whole lot else, but it's something I've come to appreciate especially when watching the often-frustrating Cardinals offense struggle with men on base. I'm not sure how much he has left in the tank, and it seems like this might be his last year with the Yankees, but I've enjoyed watching him play. He seems like a decent guy and isn't super flashy or obnoxious.

9 - Graig Nettles

When I played little league baseball, my glove had a Graig Nettles signature emblazoned on it. I wore a hole in it with my thumbnail, which made every other glove I ever tried just not feel right.

8 - Mariano Rivera

The best closer of all-time.

7 - Mike Pagliarulo

"Pags" was an early favorite of mine despite his penchant for low batting averages. He had a cool name. He ranks 493rd (tied) on the top 500 home run hitters of all-time list according to Wikipedia.

6 - Dave Righetti

"Rags" broke the single-season saves record on the last day of the 1986 season by saving both games of a doubleheader, which cranked him up to fully awesome in my book. I was really ticked when Bobby Thigpen shattered his record 4 years later by getting 11 (!) more than he did.

5 - Rickey Henderson

Not all of the players on my list escape the cocky and obnoxious tag. Rickey backed it up, though, and I've always been one to appreciate a stolen base. I'd always pretend I was Rickey when I would try to steal bases in my youth.

4 - Bernie Williams

A consummate pro and an all-around great guy. If you hate Bernie Williams, you hate baseball.

3 - Don Mattingly

It was hard to put Mattingly below anyone on this list, but it has seriously made me ill to see him in a Dodgers uniform along side Joe Torre. Torre doesn't bother me, but Mattingly... that's just wrong!

2 - Dave Winfield

Winfield was drafted by four professional sports teams, including an NFL team despite the fact that he never played college football. He was the Yankees best slugger throughout the '80s until Steinbrenner ran him out of town. To me, he just sounded like a baseball player.

1 - Reggie Jackson

I was too young to remember the 1977 World Series, and Reggie was a California Angel during the years I really started watching games. But thanks to my parents and their stories, I always associated him with the Yankees. He was about as humble as Muhammad Ali, but I remember seeing him hit grand slams and felt like he was the only player capable of doing it. He was my first favorite player, but eventually Ozzie Smith won me over. Reggie Jackson also had his own Nickelodeon show!

Go Yankees.


night owl said...

A top 10 list of favorite Yankees? That is just so wrong!

I could never do that. Maybe a top two list. Or top one. I'd definitely be able to do a Top 1 list of my favorite Yankees.

Least favorite Yankees? Oh, that's a great post waiting to happen.

Erin said...

I think you're totally wrong when you say everyone hates the Yankees. (Though you've heard me say that before..) Just because many do, doesn't mean they are the majority. I will give you that they are a love 'em or hate 'em type of team, but that's going to come with the territory of their success. People are going to hate on a team and find new reasons to hate on them when it is a team that probably bashed their favorite team time and time again. If you aren't a Yankee fan, you will get sick of hearing about them since they are all over the place. That IS obnoxious and I know you'd not disagree.

I am not a Yankee fan, but I have such dislike for the Phillies that I honestly don't know who to root for. My issue with the Yankees has to do with their payroll, first and foremost. Thus, if I want them to win, I am rewarding them for their jerkiness. I do get tired of hearing about them. And their current team makes me truly upset. It bothers me that players go there for so much money and in turn, it makes me think less of the player more than the team itself. Lately, it seems all of the magic of being a Yankee has been diminished.

One of my grandfather's good friend played for the Yankees, you know that. As such, my grandfather got to hang out with Yankee greats and that makes my head spin. To me, that sounds so amazing. I would not think hanging out with any of today's players would evoke the same feeling. But again ... I don't know how you could begin to compare hanging out with Mickey Mantle to dingbat Alex Rodriguez.

kevincrumbs said...

Could care less who wins the World Series but at least the Yankees back up their obnoxiousness by actually winning things. That I can respect.

Collective Troll said...

I would titled it "Ten Players I Like Even Though They Played For The Yankees". I agree with all but your first pick. Dave Winfield is one of my childhood favorite players and I didn't even mind when he signed with the Yanks back then, it meant I got to see him play more often. Mike Pags was a big fav in my family, too.