TOP 10 YANKEESHATERS
Legal disclaimer: None of the individuals listed here have either approved or disapproved of our contention that they are great Yankeeshaters. We could be wrong and, in fact, some or all of these individuals may love the Yankees. Or simply not care at all. But we doubt it.
Larry Lucchino, Red Sox team president. How can you not love this guy? A New York Times reporter asks him to comment on losing Jose Contreras to the Yankees after a bidding war, and Lucchino refers to the Yankees as the “Evil Empire”. Better yet, an Evil Empire with tentacles. Talk about a sportswriter hitting the quote mother-lode.
Bill Simmons, Page 2 sports columnist for ESPN.com (among other assignments). Simmons spews anti-Yankee venom almost as often as we would like to hear it. As far as we are concerned, Simmons’ Paradise lost, again and Paradise lost, postscript columns are among the best ever written. Excerpt (following Game 7 ALCS loss to Yanks): “My favorite highlight of the last few days: Wells and Clemens pouring champagne on Babe Ruth’s statue. Clemens should have been back in the locker room hugging everyone for saving his fat hick traitor ass. No, I’m not bitter.”
Ben Affleck, movie star. Ben was originally named as the #10 Yankeeshater™. Then the Sporting News(Jan. 12, 2004, p. 6) quoted Affleck as saying that ‘he’d rather utter the words, “I worship you, Satan” than “My favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees”.’ Instant upgrade.
We give Affleck a lot of credit, as the Satan comment isn’t the world’s best P.R. move (after all, Yankee fans go the movies too, at least during the weeks when they have not blown their paychecks on vanity plates and Yankees-logo bling-bling). Our take: If we have to listen to less rattling jewelry in the cinema during the next Affleck movie, then so be it.
Mike Piazza, New York Mets catcher. Yankees fans continue to insist that Roger Clemens didn’t mean to bean Piazza in the head and that he didn’t mean to throw a splintered bat in Piazza’s direction. Piazza knows otherwise. At the time of both incidents, Piazza was clearly the most accomplished baseball player in New York—bar none—and Clemens’ ego had a bit of a problem with that. Piazza is a good guy, but Yankeeshating is a temperament-blind activity. Trust us, the hate is in there somewhere.
Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles owner. Angelos spent a lot of cash during the off-season in an attempt to make a run at the Yankees. The Orioles have already raided the Yankees coaching staff, hiring Lee Mazzilli as manager. We did not hear any reports of a Steinbrenner tantrum after the Mazzilli hiring. If there had been one, however, Angelos could have recycled this quote: “There goes George again. He didn’t get his way. Like a spoiled child, he berates and insults people, never realizing his tirades strongly suggest that he may well be the one who is suffering from the conditions he attributes to others.” Think he’s still pissed about that Mussina thing?
Paul Williams, Fenway Park groundskeeper. He’s the poor man’s Zimmer, an unknown 24-year-old from Derry, N.H. who was tossed around in the bullpen by the Yankees’ Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia after [heaven forbid] rooting for the Red Sox in Fenway Park. This guy has stones, possibly a few bruises, and probably lots of Yankeeshate at this point. [Note to Paul: Nelson will not return to the Yankees for the 2004 season, but a No. 43 Yankeeshater™ cap will serve a dual hating purpose: hatred for Nelson (No. 43) and the Yankees. We’ll keep this cap in inventory until the first Red Sox/Yankees matchup in 2004, then we will offer it for sale. It’s yours on a complimentary basis if you request it prior to that date].
Carlton Fisk, former Red Sox catcher and tough guy. Before Posada and Varitek, there was Fisk and Munson. Fisk watched from home plate as Bucky Dent’s homer sailed over the Green Monster in the A.L. tie-breaker game in 1978. Several years later, while playing for the White Sox in a game at Yankee Stadium, Fisk chased the pinstripe-wearing Deion Sanders down the first-base line, chastising him for failing to run out an infield pop-up. During Deion’s next at-bat, Fisk told him that there’s a right way and a wrong way to play the game and “if you don’t play it right, I am going to kick your ass right here in Yankee Stadium”. Excellent visual.
Tony Tarasco, former Baltimore Orioles right fielder. You know he’s replayed it over and over: Game One of the 1996 ALCS. Eighth inning. Jeter at the plate. Orioles ahead. Crowd cheering. High fly ball, but catchable. “I’ll never have to pay for crabcakes in Baltimore again if I make this catch,” Tarasco thinks to himself. Then it happens. Executing a move that will later become known as a “Bartman”, a kid reaches over the railing and deflects the ball over the fence. The umpire rules it a home run. The Orioles go on to lose the game and the series. Tarasco’s lasting memories are the kid’s toothy-grin interviews and the Yankee fans’ euphoria over winning a game in undeserved fashion. [By the way, we know the name of the kid. So does everyone in Baltimore. No need to say it in here].
Stephen Laurenzi, fan. The Yankeeshate in this case is presumed and entirely unverified, but the story goes something like this: On a sunny afternoon in May of 2000—with the Red Sox in town to play the Yankees—the 24-year-old Laurenzi fell from the upper deck and hit the screen behind homeplate headfirst. While Laurenzi—wearing a No. 21 Paul O’Neill T-shirt–laid unconscious in the screen, the Yankees allowed the game to continue for two more outs. When Laurenzi came to, the Yankees had him handcuffed and escorted out of the stadium. The Yankees lost the game to the Sox 4-1. Laurenzi was charged with disorderly contact and probably got a bill from Steinbrenner for the dent in the screen. [Note to Stephen: If you have turned against the Yankees—and who wouldn’t in your shoes—we have a free Yankeeshater™ cap for you. No. 21.].
Pedro Martinez, Red Sox pitcher. Pedro proved that sometimes Weebles don’t wobble, but simply just fall down. Martinez summarily tossed meat pumpkin Don Zimmer to the turf by the head during the ALCS after a hemorrhoid bout or some other ailment sent Zimmer bolting after the Red Sox ace. Pedro also did a little pointing to his own head while jawing with Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. The Yankees got even in game 7. No love here; just hate.
Elaine Benes, Seinfeld sidekick. Elaine, George and Kramer got the owner’s second-row box seats for a Yankees/Orioles game at the stadium, but Elaine was quickly ejected after refusing to remove her Orioles baseball cap. The more-subtle Yankeeshater™ cap–Baltimore version might have spared Elaine from ejection. Elaine’s behavior, by the way, is the most brash form of Yankeeshating, known as “Death Star Hate”.
Ken Griffey, Jr., Cincinnati Reds outfielder. Griffey has unpleasant memories of his father’s playing days with the Yankees, as he was banished from the clubhouse because some members of the staff didn’t like kids running around. Later in life, Griffey made it clear he would not play for the Yankees as a result of the treatment he received from the organization as a kid.
Larry Izzo, New England Patriots football player. Here’s a guy who has his priorities in order. After the Patriots shocked the world by beating the Rams as 14-point underdogs in Super Bowl XXXVI—and thereby earning their first championship title after years of heartache—Izzo dug deep to find just the right cheer for the victory parade in Boston: Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!
Dan Chesson, Seattle-based Yankeeshater™ (and still a Mariners fan?). In 2002, Chesson was asked by security personnel at Safeco Field in Seattle to remove his “Yankees Suck” T-shirt. Chesson did so, under protest. Shortly thereafter, Chesson called the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming a violation of his rights. The press had a field day with the topic, and the Mariners later eased the ban on “Yankees Suck” T-shirts. A classic “thinking man’s” approach to Yankeeshating.
Curt Schilling, newly-acquired Red Sox pitcher. OK, so there’s not much Yankeeshating history here. But, here’s a guy with great potential. Just after he signed with the Red Sox, Schilling said, “I guess I hate the Yankees now.” That was a pretty great start for a guy who appears to “get it.” But there’s always room for improvement. Tip to Curt: Drop the “I guess” part of the quote.