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Go Yanks!
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Recently, over at Murderati, Jeffrey Cohen agonized over how he can be a fan of those rich, arch-conservative Yankees. ( I'm a Yankee Doodle... Something )

Even if you don't follow baseball, you should read the entry for the wonderful description of a childhood visit to the ballpark.

Like Jeffrey, I'm a Yankee fan too, and find it a bit perplexing. I'm someone who's a knee-jerk proponent of any underdog, however mangy. I was only a kid when I began to root for the Yanks and kids, I think, tend to ally themselves with winners rather than underdogs.

My friends and I used to pitch to each other. We'd bat through the Yankee line-up, staying in character, choking up for Bobby Richardson, flailing pathetically for Clete Boyer, swinging for the trees at the corner of the yard when it was Roger Maris at the flat stone that passed for a plate. But we saved our mightiest efforts for Mickey Mantle. He was the one who we wanted to smack our scuffed and dented baseball into the underbrush at the far end of the lawn.

The Mick was probably the main reason I was a Yankee fan. He was like Superman or Bat Man -- a hero.

To me the Yanks weren't villains. Would a hero play for the villains? They were the good guys. And, naturally, the good guys always won. So in 1962, in the deciding game of the World Series, in the last of the ninth, when San Franciso had the bases loaded, with the Yanks up by a single run, and the fearsome Wille McCovey hit Ralph Terry's pitch as hard as any being lesser than the Mick possibly could've hit it, of course, it had to be straight at Bobby Richardson's glove at second.

After the early sixties, Fate deserted the Yankees. They actually lost the Series. Sandy Koufax made the great Mantle look like Clete Boyer. I couldn't stand to watch the end. I walked away from the television set and out the back door.

For a dozen years or so the good guys were in exile, even finishing last. All the players from the dynasty retired. Finally there were a couple championships, then another long stretch of mediocrity. Until the Yankees strung together a few more World Series victories starting in the mid-nineties, those of us who had become Yankee fans in the sixties had endured more than three decades with two championships. Better than some franchises, but hardly reason for hatred.

Now the Yankees are leading their division. It's been a few years since they've gone all the way. I'll be pulling for them. Please don't hold it against me.

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