Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Force is strong with this one

Yep, looks like you're gonna have to read me over here as well. Whitney has been all over me for days (not in that way, perv) to get this post out there, but Kramerica has me rewriting my job description ("a straight shooter with upper management written all over him"), and I thought I'd give that a tad more attention than MLC right now. I promise it will never happen again.

Now, as the admirable Admiral Stockdale once said, "Where am I? Why am I here?" The short answer: MLC's Statler & Waldorf (Rob and Whit, in whatever order you choose) were kind enough to extend the fig newton branch to me here at MLC, and it looks like Nick and I accepted our assignments with the crack commando unit you call Misery Loves Company. If you've missed any of Rob's veiled shots at me over the years (and trust me, it's easy to do, what with him shouting at your shins the whole time), yes, I am the New York Yankees fan of this group. I despise Rob's team, I am apathetic towards Whitney's team, and short of my disdain for Brett Myers and his wifebeater (t-shirt) I don't pay the Phillies much mind.

Don't expect my posts to even remotely approach the length or quality of what Rob and Whit have regularly offered (and what Nick hinted at in his welcoming Mr. Manuel's Opus). If you've ever seen the "content" I deliver over at Gheorghe, you know what I am capable of: laziness, plagiarism, nonsensical pictures, non sequiturs galore, piss poor spelling, alliteration, plenty of parentheses, and of course my specialty, the YouTubes. In fact, before I continue, let me just say MLC has had way too few YouTubes (and asinine pictures) over the years, and editors be damned, I plan to change that. For instance, I'm here because I'm a Yankees fan... so, I used the Googles and Ebays, typed in "New York Yankees", finished the aforementioned job description, got a coffee from Starbucks, ignored any real search results, and voila, my inaugural MLC YouTube:

See, now aren't you glad I'm here? (Wow, that might be the worst song I've ever heard.) But before people (and by people I mean the five of you reading this) start bitching about me and my Yankees fandom, I can at least let you in on where the love of the pinstripes (and va va voom) comes from. First of all, I am a diehard baseball fan. You can have your college football and NFL, your NBA, your cricket even (stupid cigarette), but to me baseball is still the greatest sport in the history of ever (as you can see I'm also very very good at hyperbole). Always has been, always will be, despite all the ridiculousness that has gone on in and around the game in recent years.

Back to me... I was born a poor black child (for Nick's sake, kidding, I'm the whitest guy you'll ever meet) in upstate New York, more specifically, Latham. Latham is a suburb of Albany, which I was convinced was the worst state capital in the Union until I cast my eyes upon Richmond. The first Yankees team I can remember backing starred the likes of Butch Wynegar, Bobby Meacham, Ken Griffey (that's right kids, Ken Griffey the father), Dave Winfield and Donnie Baseball. Before we go any farther, I'll just let you know my idol and hero growing up was Don Mattingly. If there was ever a player, past or present, who I would want to meet, it's Mattingly. (It kills me to think he'll be wearing Dodger Blue this year, but that's neither here nor there.) That '84 Yankees squadron finished a respectable 87-75, good for third in the American League East. And it gave me the Mattingly/Winfield batting title race, which was pretty cool at the time. My pre-teen years, '84 to '88, all saw respectable Yankees teams finish with 85 to 95 wins (yeah, yeah, they had 97 wins in '85, whatever), but there would be no playoff appearances. As my Topps and Donruss card collections grew (the '86 Topps Traded set still sits in my parents house) I was sure it was only a matter of time before my team, the mighty New York Yankees, won a World Series. As that senile old dude who covers college football is apt to say, "Not so fast my friend."

A brief aside: It is not a coincidence my Yankee fandom grew throughout my youth - we had a minor league affiliate just miles from my home to fuel the fire. The Albany-Colonie Yankees, a AA affiliate in the Eastern League, played in the shadow of Albany Airport at Heritage Park from 1985 to 1995. It's not often a kid gets to see Deion Sanders, Bernie Williams and of course Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens lace 'em up before a crowd of 1,100.

OK, back to this long and rambling walk down memory lane. My teenage years at first saw the middling Yankees become the atrocious Dallas Green-led bottom feeders of the late 80s. Asshats and douchebags like Mel Hall and Jesse Barfield roamed the hallowed Stadium's outfield, while Andy Hawkins (nice loss in a no-hitter, chief) and Dave LaPoint were considered the aces of the staff. Gary Glitter fan Luis Polonia managed to make some news for all the wrong reasons in 1989. Mattingly's prime was being wasted, yet he remained the consummate professional, continuing to piece together what I was sure at the time was a Hall of Fame resume. As I headed off to college in 1994, the Yankees were tops in the A.L., destined for a meeting with the Expos (remember them?) in the World Series, or so I thought. That's when the ad wizards behind Major League Baseball decided to cancel the rest of the season and the World Series. Still pisses me off to this day.

You've hung in long enough, let's wrap this up quickly. I finally experienced World Series bliss in 1996, when the Yanks managed to come back from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves (I will choose to remember Mr. Leyritz for his signature home run in Game 4 rather than his most recent day in the sun). Then it got really ridiculous, with the Yankees also winning titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000. All of a sudden I was a front-running Yankees fan, spoiled by the success of an evil franchise who bought their way to titles. I consider myself a fairly rational fan, and I readily admit baseball's structure is severely flawed and the Yankees took full advantage of that system to put themselves in position to win. But who cares, I finally got to see my team win. I'm a fan of a team; there is no better feeling for a fan than to see his team win the ultimate prize in their sport. Good enough for me. We can debate baseball's economics some other time. Plus, the good times soon came to an end, but you're not going to hear me bitch and moan like Sal from Canarsie about "the Yankees having not won a title since 2000." It's been an up and down run in the Aughts (is that what we're calling the 2000s?) as far as playoff success goes, but I still enjoy every inning of it (well, almost every inning... I can think of a few, hi Kevin Brown, that made me want to murder someone). I still hate Rob's team, the current uber-franchise in baseball, and I'm not sure when I'll be ready to rationally discuss the recent past between the Sox and Yanks, but I have a strange feeling MLC might be the Jackie Chiles' balm for these ills.

My name is TJ, and I'm a Yankees fan. I'll see you back here in two fortnights (if not sooner, say when The Rocket does indeed sprout that third ear), when Pettittes (oh, man) and Posadas report to Legends Field in Tampa for the start of Spring Training.


rob said...

nice spacing, genius. typical mouth-breather yankee fan.

TJ said...

Fix it Mr. Head of IT.

Nick said...

Nice start tj. Better than yoemanlike. More than just 6 IP with 3 runs or less.

I'd say you gave us 7 2/3 fairly smooth innings.

Welcome aboard or is that a-bored?

Itsmetsforme said...

As if being raised in upstate ny is an excuse for anything. I haven't enjoyed anything this much since I saw Doc Gooden pitching for the Spanks.

Opening up a Met Sawx blog to this is just...well. As much as I'd love to see more development of the "how one can love baseball and love the modern Yank$" theme, having the Yanks fan input stretches the "misery" concept a bit, no? Putting their perfectly horrible fans aside for the moment, this organization proudly gets out in front of any trend that symbolically shits on baseball--free agency, steroids, the dh. (Why Yanker stadium is not covered in artificial turf I'll never know.) How is that compatible with love of the game?
I guess vacant-entitled-bandwagoning also loves company.

TJ said...

Tough crowd. I guess I better pack up and go home. No room at the Inn.

rob said...

mlc is no place for the weak-willed, teejay.

Whitney said...

For the record, I am Statler and Rob is Waldorf, based on muppet dimensions.

TJ said...

Sorry...I'm halfway home to Gheorghe...the YouTubes are calling.

rob said...

new picture should help

Itsmetsforme said...

i just wanted to break him in. Plus soreness from all these B-12 injections makes me crabby.

TJ said...

You should balance it out with some of Lidocaine injections.

Itsmetsforme said...

yeah i have this guy named Al i met at the video store do the lidocaine shots. seems like a nice enough guy.