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WRATH: The Rivalry
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I’m a diehard Yankee fan. But for the last few weeks of the season, when I should be celebrating the Yankees’ renaissance as a contender and the meteoric rise of Joba Chamberlain, the Mets have stolen my attention and glee. Heresy, you ask? Well, it’s not quite the debacle of walking out of the Evil Empire into the Boston Tea Party, but it is a bit disconcerting when more of my TV attention is on the Met games rather than Yankee games. And yes, maybe it is heresy, but before my fellow fans excommunicate me, let me kneel before the box and hope to be forgiven, and perhaps I’ll be understood.

Traditionally a Yankee fan has two enemies: the cursed Boston Red Sox, whom we take an unending drooling pleasure in squelching year after year (okay, they got lucky in 2004—the curse lives on), and the crosstown team, the New York Mets.

Now, in reality, as a Yankee fan, you really don’t care about the Mets, you only keep an eye on them for some extra good fun. Life is really all about crushing Red Sox Nation. The Yankees and Red Sox have provided the usual great rivalry this year (including a delicious sweep at Fenway, again), and the Yankees themselves have staged a marvelous turnaround and fought back into contention with an exciting season-long comeback into the playoffs.

When you have a big sports rivalry, there are two main sources of pleasure. First, you love the intense games and the competition to better the other team in direct confrontations and in the standings. You sweat out every game, every inning, every side story and of course, every pitch—especially when the game is on the line. That’s the foundation of your banana split, the four scoops of ice cream. But what you really enjoy, almost as much (and often a great deal more) are the spoils of victory. These are the fixings of your dessert, the toppings—whipped cream, chocolate and fruit sauces, cherry and sprinkles. That is, when you win and they lose. They’re out, you’re in. You get the thrilling pleasure of taunting, ridiculing and belittling your friends who happen to be on the other side of the fence.
But like I said, while you obsess about the Red Sox, you do keep an interest in the Mets; but this year, everything has gone topsy-turvy and the Mets have stolen my attention.
How’s that? How can a lifelong diehard Yankee fan be distracted from his own games?

Simple. The perverse pleasure of watching the most historic collapse in baseball history—and the Mets, no less—is riveting. Who can watch Yankee games with the slaughter going on next door? Granted, the Yankees drama was over—they were in the playoffs—though they had a shot at the division title.
Then to hear the idiotic statement by the Mets TV analysts announcing that the Mets have grit and it will show (this came after an anemic three-hit performance capped off their seven-game slide, allowing the Phillies into a tie for first). What? Over the most crucial part of the season, did the Mets not just illustrate the most pathetic display of a flaccid spirit ever witnessed in baseball history (regardless of whether they can salvage their season) with their swoon occurring against the worst teams in the National League? (Normally the announcers are pretty good, as opposed to the blithering, boring idiots the Yankees employ.)

And the usual satisfying accompaniment to the toppings of this delicious dessert—the taunting, ridiculing and belittling of Mets fans—is entirely absent. Mets fans are so sick, you can’t even engage them in a little banter. "What team?" they ask. "Who are you talking about? I’m not a baseball fan, you must have me confused." You can’t find Mets fans anywhere. They’ve either experienced total amnesia or have holed up like bears in hibernation, waiting for the upcoming winter to thaw out and get to the promise of next spring. You can’t blame them, but I can blame the Mets. They so thoroughly dispirited their own fans that they robbed Yankees’ fans of simple sports pleasures like drubbing the enemy and rubbing it in.

Okay, enough about the Mets (who stink). It’s playoff time and either one more heartbreak postseason or happy rendition of the Joba Rules. This time, however, the Yankees rule!

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