I usually write these Pinch Hitter introductions myself based on emails from the writers, but in this case, I’m going to let today’s Pinch Hitter introduce himself. Here’s the email Jack sent me when I asked for some bio information:
Jack Helmuth has worked in television and film for almost the entirety of Mason Williams’ lifetime. He has worked at Saturday Night Live, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and, most impressively, was the head writer on the ill-fated CNBC talk show “McEnroe.” He currently is the executive producer of the political sketch comedy show “The B.S. of A. with Brian Sack,” which can be seen on TheBlaze Network (available on the Dish Network; clips available on YouTube by searching the show name). His movie “May The Best Man Win” is currently available on iTunes. He is described in the ‘special thanks’ section of the David Wells autobiography “Perfect I’m Not” as a “raging, gung-ho, borderline-nut-job Yankee fan.”
Jack calls this post: Don’t Let The Yankees Take All The Fun Out of Being a Yankees Fan
I was born in 1974 and became a huge Yankees fan by 1982, which means I suffered through a lot of bad Yankees baseball as a child. I used to call Child Protective Services on George Steinbrenner multiple times a year in the late 80’s.
Then the strangest thing happened in 1993 – we got someone, Jimmy Key, who knew how to pitch a baseball. I had never seen the likes of it in all my days! Then truly weird things started happening — by the end of a game, we would sometimes…win. And for the first time in memory, the Yankees played halfway decent baseball. Hell, it was so decadent that our pitches didn’t even need two hands to play well.
Of course in the mid-to-late 90’s the Yankees started winning. A lot. And that was crazy fun. Those were the days! Heck, things were so carefree that I think Chuck Knoblauch murdered Keith Olbermann’s mom one time during a game and no one cared. It was the golden age. The Stadium was full of loud, passionate fans and the team was full of passionate, selfless players.
Now… things are different. I’ll start with the stadium, the cold and soulless monument to excess that literally has a trench to protect The One Percent from all those pesky noisy fans. I’m happy that Jay-Z can use his Blackberry in silence in the half-filled “good seats,” but how much does it stink that the Mets have a better stadium than we do? Yeah, I said it, and you know it’s true (although to be fair, the Mets lost their standing as a Major League team back in 2009).
But it’s not the stadium or the Alex Rodriguezes of the world that has sucked the fun out of being a Yankees fan, it’s the Win A Championship Or Else mantra. I was a convert to this in the mid 2000’s until I would listen to so many fans who considered a season a “failure” or “a waste” if the Yankees didn’t win the World Series.
I’m sorry, but that’s insane. Pretty much every season for the last 20 years we have been treated to good baseball, comeback victories, perfect games, historic milestones… a treasure trove of great memories, thousands of hours of conversations with dad about the team, etc. So, is all of that then negated if they run into a hot team in October, or if a player is carried off and dropped into Lake Erie by a swarm of midges? Of course not. I want to win, and it pains me when we lose, but it does NOT mean the season was a failure if we don’t.
The Win A Championship Or Else mantra belongs with George Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter. I want them to have a mad hunger to win. And I imagine the people who pay $2,500 for a seat expect what they are accustomed to — a solid return on their investment, and when they don’t get it, they get mad and boo because, hey, they paid good money to see the home team win. That’s not how I want to experience the game, either. As a fan, I want to have fun again, so I’m going to settle for a chance to win and the knowledge that I’m going to have 6+ months of great entertainment to share with my loved ones come April. Win or lose.
Associated Press photos