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It's too easy to hate the Yankees

October 21, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

I need to have a word with David Clipp.

I need to find out how he did it.

I suppose the answer is that it took him nearly 100 years - 96, to be exact. The last straw came when the Baltimore Orioles allowed star pitcher Mike Mussina to walk away and sign with the New York Yankees.

The old saying is that the fan's allegiance follows the uniform, not the player. But in this instance, Clipp's allegiance bucked the trend and after years of supporting the Orioles he switched to become a Yankees fan.

Clipp, of Boonsboro, turns 100 years old either tomorrow (in The Daily Mail) or today (in The Morning Herald). I run on tape delay in the morning paper, in case you didn't know.

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I, too, wish to become a Yankees fan, but the problem is that given my appalling lifestyle I probably won't come within three or four decades of Clipp's century mark. So somehow I need to take the equivalent of the Evelyn Wood speed reading course in terms of a fan transplant.

Actually, I don't even need to become a fan. All I would ask for is the ability just not to hate the Yankees so much. I need counseling. I need to learn acceptance and tolerance of those not like myself. It's going to be a hard road. The way I despise the Yankees makes the Arabs and Israelis seem as harmless as a spat between Stan and Ollie (for those over 60) or Lenny and Carl (for those under 40) or themselves and their shrink (for everyone in between).

Speaking of shrinks, what's truly psychotic is that I like the Yankees' individual players. Love Shef. Always been an A-Rod fan. Gotta admire Jeter. Who are you going to hate on this team, Bernie Williams? All right, Matsui, but then you get accused of being a xenophobe who's still not over WWII.

It's just the collective team I hate. Maybe it's the socialist in me - I just can't stand an enterprise rich enough to go out and buy whatever or whoever it wants. The fact that the Yankees play by a whole different set of rules from everyone else. Buffalo Bill probably felt the same way about the Vanderbilts.

Maybe it's the arrogance of the fans, the notion that they have the same right to the World Series crown as an Alabaman to a gun. True story: In New York last week, I heard a caller to a New York sports radio talk show say, straight-faced, that Fox announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were too biased against the Yankees, and needed to be replaced with someone more even-handed, like John Sterling. That would be John Sterling, the braying, rabid homer who broadcasts Yankees games.

Maybe it's the fact that they're so good. If they're down 3-2 in the ninth, you go ahead and turn off the TV because you just know they're going to come back and win.

I feel like they do this on purpose. Like they could win 7-3 easily enough if they wanted, but they have this sadistic need to "get your hopes up" just enough with a late-inning deficit so they can come back and crush you like a bug with a dramatic, 10th-inning homer.

So for me, they ruin October.

I can't watch their games, because I've seen this script before. And in the National League, I can't root for the team I like, I have to root for the team I think will have the best chance against the Yanks.

And curse of curses, they have managed to turn me into something of a Red Sox fan - something I never asked for, never wanted. Through sheer force of evil, they have cast my lot with one of the most storied, all-time losers in baseball history. How can this be?

Since I one day plan to retire in New York, I thought this might perhaps provide me with an emotional "in," the ability to root for the home state. But if I still can't root for the University of Maryland over WVU, how much chance do I have?

Maybe a lot, since New York airwaves carry the Yankeecentric YES network, that for brainwashing purposes, makes the Khmer Rouge look like Eastern Elementary.

So go ahead, put the nodes to my forehead and commence with the thought reform. I can't go on living my Octobers this way. Like Mr. Clipp, I want to find happiness, but I don't want to wait until I'm 100 to get it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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