Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sports Imitates Life?

When the New York Yankees announced in 2007 that they would indeed be making a push for the playoffs and a World Series in 2008, it was widely assumed that they would be the favorites to win the AL East. It was to be a coronation really, the season would end with the Yankees atop their division and would return to the playoffs.

A younger, less experienced, but talented and charismatic team had other ideas however. During Spring Training 2008 they too announced that they too would be making a push for the top of the AL East.

Many felt the Tampa Bay Rays were too young and inexperienced to make a serious run at the Division. The Yankees were a well oiled machine, with a stronger financial backing. Simply put, the Yanks were a lock. The media had already given them the title.

Five months have passed since the season began and oh how the tables have turned. The Yankees, though they held out as long as they could, have finally conceded to the division to the likely nominee of the AL East to the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Rays. And while the Yankees have at least publicly accepted this, many of their supporters have not.

Polls show that a significant number of Yankee supporters will not support the Rays in the national race for a World Series. Some have even suggested that if the Yankees can't represent the AL East in the playoffs, that they would rather support the likely wild card candidate, the Boston Red Sox. When it is pointed out that the Red Sox are against everything the Yankees stand for, it is clear from their responses that these Yankee supporters are simply too hurt at this point to accept the fact that their team didn't win.

The Devil Rays will have to mend some fences if they hope to garner the support of these fans during the playoffs. Many are still fuming about an incident in March in which a Yankees back up catcher had his wrist broken. Joe Maddon, the Rays manager, dismissed the incident as playing hard baseball; but many fans felt their team was being disrespected by the younger, brasher Rays.

It is not clear what will happen in October, but if the Rays hope to garner the support of a significant number of Yankee supporters, they will have to work hard to heal the divisions between the two sides and unite the AL East.

13 comments:

TribeGirl said...

I would support ANYONE over the RedSox. (Sidenote - thank GOD Manny is gone since I love him, now I no longer have to follow him on that stupid team!) I would even support the Pittsburgh Steelers over the RedSox and we Clevelanders HATE the Steelers with every bone in our body, every heartbeat, every breath we take.....it's full of shear hatred! But yes, I would support them over the RedSox if in a magical world they were thrown into this mix. Point Being - GO RAYS!!!!!!

BTW - I've been watching this RedSox/Rays game all night, and it's currently top of the 13th inning. ESPN is definitely biased toward the Sox - they have a love fest going on, sorta like the media did with Obama. Aren't the ESPN announcers supposed to be neutral? If I wanted some media bias, I would watch the game from the local coverage on my MLB package, but I couldn't deal with the accents. GO RAYS!!!!!

Bucky7588 said...

I would rather be shot several times and made a eunuch than support the redsox (i kept it PG for the kiddos). Besides, Tampa is a feel good story...and now that theres no "Devil" in their name, they win...clearly, they are now God's team, and do you know who the last person to root against God was? Hm? Satan.

Steve said...

I hate the Red Sox.
I hate them just because they are the Red Sox and I hate them because they made me root for the Mets in '86.

I like that, the Ray's are God's team. That should shake up a few people. Maybe they should be, the Born Again Rays. They could have a little Jesus walk across the water in the tank holding the devil rays during the 7th inning strech.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Tribegirl, Bucky, Steve, I'm loving these comments.

Bucky, I just forwarded your quote to a Red Sox fan I know. The logic is flawless, and they needed to see what rooting against the Rays is akin to.

Tribegirl, I think it would be fun to watch a football team take on a baseball team. I think that none of them would bat for average, but all of them would hit for a ton of power, and half of them would be convicted felons before the 9 innings were over.

Steve, I hear you on the '86 Mets. I was still too young to really grasp the tragedy that was rooting for the Mets, but you couldn't root for the Red Sox. Lesser of two evils.

Michelle said...

Clearly the Yankees left their bats and baseball skills in Tampa this spring, hence the Rays taking over the AL East. I would certainly rather cut off both of my arms than root for the Red Sox. At least the Rays are fun to watch, unlike the Yankees at this point.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I hear you Michelle. The Rays are arguably the most exciting team in baseball right now. They went from perennial last place takers, to leading the American League East over the course of one year.

Fred Trigger said...

you know, I think you guys all hate the pompus "we are gods gift to earth" red sox fans more then the sox themselves. The sox are actually an intriguing team to watch, and to root for. Its a shame that those "fans" are there, but not all of us are like that. Just throwing it out there (I mean, I think I would root for the yankees before I cut off both my arms there, Michelle.)

Roberto Alejandro said...

some strong sentiments out there. all over a thinly veiled election parody. interesting.

TribeGirl said...

You're right, Fred. I think the real feeling is that I can't STAND RedSox fans. They are the worst. I mean, yes we (Cleveland) HATE Pittsburgh, but it's a fun and long time rivalry, and the comments and crap talking is intelligent and fun for the most part. When we lost the Browns, the Steelers fans were just as brokenhearted as we were. But Red Sox fans are the most annoying people on the planet. I actually like and respect the players. Well, except for Youkilis and Papelbon - they are douchebags. You are actually the exception to the rule when it comes to RedSox fans because we can banter back and forth without it getting all weird and stupid so the above comments don't pertain to you - you're only about one of five Sox fans that are fun to talk with and can be cool about it! BUT, I'm still glad Manny (he's my all-time favorite since his Tribe days) went elsewhere so I don't have to watch the Sox every night anymore!!!

TribeGirl said...

OMG!!! Can you imagine if the football players did play against the baseball players? The collisions at home plate? A football player charging the mound if he got hit by a pitch? Classic stuff!!! They WOULD all be convicted felons and the pretty little baseball players would all be in comas!!!

Roberto Alejandro said...

but they would still be pretty, which is what really matters. just ask A-Rod.

Fred Trigger said...

That really did happen. Remember Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders? Man, I wouldnt want to be pitching to a guy that breaks bats over his knee.

TribeGirl said...

I caught a whiff of a snotty ARody comment....I love ARod, you NY guys are so funny when it comes to ARod, I'll never get it. But he is handsome, and has the smoothest skin ever - and it's not makeup, because you can tell on HDTV when he's sweaty and playing...

I forgot about Deion and Bo.....How about Ray Lewis and Osi Umen whatisface (before he got hurt) playing some baseball? Good stuff! Or Steve Smith? He'd get all kinds of mad and punch someone in the nose!