(The non-sports fans guide as to why America hates the New York Yankees.)
Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable sports franchises they are still one of the most hated. It’s been said that if you’re a fan of baseball you either love the Yankees or you hate the Yankees. This means out of the 30 major league baseball teams the Yankees are hated by fans of all other 29 teams. For the non-sports fan this may be a surprise for you with the ubiquitous “NY” logo being seen everywhere from rap videos, clothing in London, or the cafes in Japan. So why are the Yankees seen as the “evil empire” and why are they so hated?
For some reason in the sport of baseball there is no true hard salary cap. Above a certain amount of payroll teams do have to pay a luxury tax (meaning if they exceed this amount they pay a penalty) but the Yankees have the most money of any team in the Major Leagues. Their payroll is about $200 million dollars a year while some teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh have payrolls around $40-60 million dollars a year. With elite players contracts these days going for about $20 million dollars a year you can easily see how this discrepancy creates an advantage for New York. The Yankees can afford to and buy all the good players once they become free agents. To be fair though, some baseball owners are in the business just to make money and don’t care about having a winning team. If they did they would poor a little more of their profits in to buying better players. But how can these small market teams keep up with the Yankees if all the good players want to just get paid and go to New York?
The Underdog Effect
Everybody roots for the underdog. This is especially true if you are a casual sports fan that doesn’t care about either team playing. The Yankees have the most money, the best players, and the most championships. They are the dictator overlords of baseball. That’s why the 2001 World Series was so beautiful. It came down to Game 7 when the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th inning. When Luis Gonzalez hit that single off Mariano Rivera you can bet your ass the rest of America was cheering. People often see themselves as the underdog so they root for the underdog. To baseball fans, the Yankees represent the 1%.
Because it’s New York
If you don’t live in New York there’s a good chance you are pretty sick of hearing about how great New York is. If it’s not the t-shirts, it’s the movies, or the media coverage of the “greatest city in the world”. NYC and it’s people aren’t famous for their modesty. It’s like a guy that keeps telling people how confident he is or a girl telling people how pretty she is. You don’t have to keep shoving it down our throats we can see how pretty/confident you are but the more you say it the more people ultimately rebel against it. It’s not like a San Francisco or a Budapest that knows how awesome it is but keeps it to itself. Even the citizens of New York will tell you “sometimes I love New York but sometimes I hate New York”. I love New York but there are times the rest of us are sick of hearing about it.
Most teams are hated because they always win but with teams like the Lakers, Duke, or the Cowboys there is a relatively even playing field. The Yankees have certain advantages that make hatred towards them in many ways justified. With every sport and every movie though you need a common enemy though because that’s what makes the story lines so interesting. To American baseball fans the Yankees are that enemy.
[Photo: The Durham Bulls in Durham, North Carolina]