October 17, 2003

From The Smoking Gun: "The New York Post made a colossal error today on its editorial page. The paper somehow printed an editorial bemoaning last night's Yankees loss to the Boston Red Sox." According to Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan: ''We had prepared two editorials, one in the event of the Yankees winning, one with the Yankees losing. 'When we transmitted the pages to our printing facility, the wrong button was struck and the wrong editorial sent.'' The mistake was caught and corrected in later editions.

A Yankees Fan Writes:

Dear Red Sox Nation:

I'm sorry your team lost last night.

I'm not being sarcastic. I'm not gloating. I am truly sorry. The 2003 Red Sox were a better team than the 2003 Yankees, a more exciting team, a team with more spirit and the talent to back it up. I'm sorry your manager was too stupid to claim the prize that was being handed to you. Now I finally, truly, and definitively understand what intelligent Sox fans have been complaining about all season.

I am a Yankees fan by accident of geography and timing. I grew up in the New York City area, I learned about baseball from Yankees fans, I attended my first games in the late 1970s, and I was hooked. I don't understand the concept of "switching teams" - your team is your team. You don't choose it, it chooses you.

But the 2003 Boston Red Sox claimed a piece of my pinstriped heart, and they wouldn't let go. I thrilled at their heart-attack comebacks, cheered at the improbability of Bill Mueller winning the batting title, marvelled at the 2003 Sox outslugging the legendary 1927 Yankees. I loved their blue-collar spirit, I loved their hugging, their solidarity, their tenacity, their fierceness. I admire Pedro Martinez, with his outrageous talent, his ultra-cool swagger, even his arrogance. Anyone that talented can get away with a little arrogance if you ask me. And this team happens to play in the best baseball park in the country, bar none. They were irresistible.

Even more than your terrific 2003 team, I admire you. Your loyalty is beyond question and beyond the imagination of most Yankees fans. I ought to know. I frequented Yankee Stadium in the mid- and late-80s, when good seats were plentiful and people said the Bronx was too scary for baseball. Most New Yorkers were Mets fans then. Now I hear an amusing boast: "I've been a Yankees fan since 1996!" Sorry, that only works if you're 10 years old.

I understand your hatred of all things Yankees - how could it be otherwise? But being a fan is like being married. My marriage to the Yankees has brought me much happiness, and I owe it a lot.

Yet now I feel alienated from most Yankee fans. Their arrogance (and hey, they're not Pedro, what have they got to be arrogant about?), the sense of entitlement, the ignorant notion that if it's called Red Sox it must be a losing team. So-called Yankees fans stream for the exits in the 7th inning of a losing game, and they boo even their best players when they're slumping. (We're not all like that. I'm not. There are others like me. But...)

You guys are sometimes sore losers, but I wish my fellow fans were better winners.

I don't believe in a curse. That's just stupid. Many teams have won less. There has been a lot of heartbreak, there's no doubt about that. But that's baseball, and that's life. Both are chock full of heartbreak. No supernatural explanations are necessary.

Some people say when that when the Sox win it all - and they will - their fans won't know what to do, so accustomed have they grown to losing. I know that nothing could be further from the truth. You brave souls will know exactly what to do. I won't be invited to the party, but I'll watch it with great joy in my heart.

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