Instead of trying to sum up four years of
college in one sitting, I thought I’d do something a little
bit different for my final column. I only have about 750 words left
with this paper to get my two cents into print. So what I’m
going to do instead is write this last piece Golden
Apple-style.

Dan Rosen

This is my ideal final column — the one argument about
sports that I think trumps them all. For a tragically Mets-obsessed
New Yorker, that can only be one thing: The Evil Empire.

Come on, I had to do it. I’ve been itching to rip through
some Yankees’ pinstripes since, well, as long as I can
remember.

What’s not to hate? Their fans are arrogant. Their players
are … well they’re damn good. But, for crying out
loud, they paid Roger Clemens. A team deserves to be torn apart
just for that.

It’s not that the Yankees break the rules. They play, or
should I say pay, straight by the book — as my roommate Mike
has always made sure to tell me since he decided to root for them.
That doesn’t mean that I, or anyone, should support the
Yankees, though.

Believe it or not, I pity those that do. They have less fun.

I can remember talking to all my Yankee-fan friends a few months
into my freshman year here, when my beloved Mets made a Herculean
run all the way to the World Series and lost to that team in
pinstripes.

It was a great October that I’ll probably remember for the
rest of my life. I still wake up screaming about Benny “The
Hawaiian Punch” Agbayani (who I insist bears a stunning
resemblance to the smiling, red cartoon Kool-Aid pitcher guy)
burying a 13th-inning home run into the bleachers at Shea Stadium
in Game Three of the Divisional Series against the Giants.

Or Edgardo Alfonzo hitting just about everything that came out
of a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher’s hand into the gap for a
double during the Championship Series. That guy was an incredible
player before he got hurt.

But all that the Yankees front-runners could think to say to me
on the phone was that it must have been a miserable year to root
for New York’s other baseball team.

No, it wasn’t. It was ridiculously fun.

That’s the Yankee mindset, though. If your team
doesn’t win it all, it’s misery. People get canned.
Payroll gets doubled.

They can’t appreciate it at all — the magical season
that you can’t believe, when your team scratches out key
victory after key victory; when 30th-round draft picks like the
aforementioned “Hawaiian Punch” (who is playing for
former Mets manager Bobby Valentine in Japan right now, by the
way), that have no business making it to the playoffs, play like
heroes for a few weeks.

As a Mets fan, I’ve seen a year like that just once that I
can remember: 2000. I like to pretend that I can recall the
’86 Series and Bill Buckner — but I was four. What I
know about that year, I’ve seen on ESPN Classic. (That said,
I do like my dad’s suggestion of turning the Ted Williams
Tunnel in Boston into the Bill Buckner Tunnel, complete with a
statue of the first baseman preparing to receive a ground ball.
That way, cars would drive right under his glove, just like Mookie
Wilson’s bouncer).

Speaking of 2000, Bronx lovers also had to pretend that they
liked Clemens that year — the second most despicable player
in major league baseball history behind John Rocker, if you ask me.
I say “pretend” because I don’t truly believe
that anyone actually likes this guy.

I’m admittedly a little biased, since sometime right
before the All-Star break in 2000, the Rocket reared back and
slammed Mike Piazza in the head with one of his patented
“brush-back” pitches (Please, he meant to hit him).

Clemens also should have been thrown out of the Subway Series
when he threw a broken bat (yes, a bat) at Piazza. I mean, really,
who throws a broken bat? It still makes my blood boil.

Minus the Clemens incident, though, I loved every minute of
2000. I was disappointed when the Mets lost, but that’s not
what I remember most about that great season.

Yankees’ fans relive a banner year until the parade down
Broadway and then it’s on to the off-season. “Who are
the Bombers gonna overpay next?” they’ll ask and
“How many days ‘til next October?”

Every game before the World Series is inconsequential in the
Bronx. They’re nervous about whether or not their team will
mess it up, so they can’t have fun along the way.

Don’t even get me started on their czarist owner, George
Steinbrenner (who went to Ohio State). He ripped Drew Henson from
the Michigan football record books for an inordinate amount of
money.

But that’s what they do. Money is no object for the
Yankees.

Yes, the Mets have a huge payroll, too. But there’s a
difference. Teams like the Mets can’t give tons of money to
guys like Henson or Hideki Irabu and then have them play terribly
in the big leagues and still be successful as a team. Look at what
happened with Mo Vaughn.

Now, the pinstripes have paid for A-Rod and Sheffield. Kevin
Brown and Javier Vazquez. And everyone in America expects them to
be in it until the end.

They’re part of the best rivalry going in sports, with the
Red Sox, and their regular-season games this summer promise to be
intense previews of October.

Me? I’ll be wearing my Jose Reyes jersey over in Queens,
watching those rag-tag Mets struggle to reach .500 with a makeshift
lineup and a wrinkled, old pitching staff. And I’ll be loving
every minute of it.

Ya Gotta Believe.

-Dan Rosen wants to thank everyone who made his four years in
Ann Arbor great, from Sess and Nickle to Pizza Poundcake. He
welcomes Yankees rants with open arms and can be reached at
href=”mailto:danielsr@umich.edu”>danielsr@umich.edu.

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