Next up is Andrew from Scott Proctor’s Arm.
Andrew splits his time between New City, N.Y., and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., where he is a junior print journalism student. He has been blogging since May 2007 (when Mr. Proctor was still a Yankee) and has loved every minute of it.
Here’s his post:
Last season was tough for all Yankees fans to handle. Under a new manager and in the final year of the old Yankee Stadium, the Yankees missed the playoffs. This marked the eighth straight season in which the team failed to meet expectations. Once again, they proved that having the highest payroll doesn’t mean much in October.
But for me, this season was even stranger. Being a 20-year-old, my earliest baseball memory was the 1996 World Series. I was 8 at the time, and didn’t fully grasp what exactly happened. Not until I saw signs reading “World Champions” did I finally understand how big this moment was. After that, Yankees would continue to reach the playoffs year after year. One could say that winning was my birthright.
The words “winning” and “Yankees” were synonymous for an impressionable young fan like me. I began to think this success was normal. Another year would pass and another championship would be celebrated. After five years of following baseball, the Yankees had won four World Series titles and no one seemed to get in their way. Life as a baseball fan couldn’t be better.
But the loss in the 2001 World Series immediately brought me back down to reality. While I was upset, I realized the world didn’t end and life would, eventually, go on.
And life continued to go on for the next six years, though 2004 was the hardest. Even the oldest Yankees fans had to be shaken by what transpired during those four games in mid-October. Sometimes I deny it even happened.
I have almost grown numb to these playoff “failures” over the last few years. The older, poorly-constructed pitching staffs were no match in a short series. When the Yankees tried to go younger last season, injuries and ineffectiveness derailed another highly-paid campaign. It happens, but around the Bronx over the last 15 years, we’re just not used to it, especially fans of my generation.
Seeing the Yankees out of the playoffs for the first time as a fan was definitely a weird experience for me, but a lack of a championship is something I’ve been able to handle as I’ve matured as a person and as a baseball fan. I’ve begun to realize that winning is a privilege and not a birthright.
I wish the same could be said about some Red Sox fans I’ve encountered at school. You see, Quinnipiac University is located right between Boston and New York, the epicenter of the rivalry. After the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, one of my (former) roommates exclaimed, “It’s been three long years!” It’s amazing what a stretch of winning can do to a fan base. Needless to say, watching the Rays quiet this “dynasty” up at school was rather fulfilling.
The 2008 season was humbling for Yankees fans. It made me realize just how difficult and special it is to win just one World Series, let alone four in five years. Those teams of the late 90s were special indeed – I just wish I was a little bit older to fully appreciate them. We should all be grateful to have witnessed their performances on the field.
Thanks, Andrew. I hope you don’t run into any Cubs fans at school. Coming tomorrow: Brian from In Mo We Trust.