Finding Comfort in the Enemy

What's become of the best rivalry in sports?
Share |

It feels wrong to say it, but admitting you have a problem starts you on the road to recovery:

What’s happening to the New York Yankees is kind of terrible.

Now, it’s not tragic, or even particularly upsetting, but it’s at the very least a little sad. For how evil the team is perceived to be, and for all the eminently unlikable things about them, nobody deserves this. If Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera didn’t wear pinstripes, the loss of two of the best players of all time to dramatic injuries in unexpected instances would at the very least garner an acknowledgement of the unfortunate nature of the situation, if not outright sympathy.

The team they play for, though, and what they’ve done over the last century, is more important than who they are, so that the devastating loss of their two brightest stars has been met with, at best, snickers, and worst, palpable joy.

As a longtime Red Sox fan, being able to feel the joy course through my veins when waking up to the clip of The Captain (sorry, Tek) on the ground and, more importantly, with the Yankees down 1-0 in the American League Championship Series, was something I would have cherished at a different point in my life. Instead, a twinge of disappointment struck me while watching Jeter lay prone on the ground, the toughest player of his generation not only not getting up, but obviously incapable of doing so.

Was it just getting older and more mature, realizing that being a 38-year-old seems like its fairly terrible when your job is to compete at the peak of athletic performance every single night for upwards of 200 times a year? Or, worse, was it that I’d come to respect the work that Jeter and the Yankees had done for much of the last decade?

Struggling with why one likes, or at the very least sympathizes, with something is far harder than trying to discern why something makes your blood boil. Why something grinds your gears can usually be narrowed down to one thing, but figuring out where those pangs of admiration of/disappointment at the fate of someone else usually run deeper, the product of a plethora of possible factors, from the surprisingly specific to spectacularly general.

Maybe it was the juxtaposition of the clip of a supine Jeter with his first words to teammate-turned-manager Joe Girardi. (“Don’t carry me off.”) In that instant, I could imagine him approaching this thing he knew had gone terribly wrong with the same cool demeanor he assumed when dismissing a reporter bringing up the word of “panic” as the Orioles looked like they were going to be the 800-pound gorilla the Bombers would be unable to get off their backs. Perhaps in that moment I had realized that for all the oddly unabashed talk about how the now-retired Chipper Jones looked like a movie star, Jeter’s career has more often than not felt like a movie, and that as much fun as it is to hate the bad guys, the jocks, the cool kids that get their comeuppance, it’s not often that the comeuppance comes to a villain who goes about his villainy as nobly as Jeter.

Perhaps it was the idea that for the first time in his career he was finally getting the recognition he deserved as not only an integral part of five World Series champions, but as one of the handful of elite players of his generation, pushing past the epic slump that preceded his 3000th hit to have one of the better seasons of an already historically good career. He did so after nearly being dismissed from the team in the midst of a shockingly public—for the organization and especially for Jeter—contract dispute after the 2010 season, and with a living example of what can happen when someone toils in the infield past the age of 36 playing directly his right.

Looking back to only last year makes me think those reasons couldn’t have been entirely it, however. His slump in the first half of 2011 was a highlight for any fan, a slump so drastic and pronounced that it seemed to signify that his reign of terror was over and that he would fade away, taking his organization with him. Nearly a decade of talk of his supposed inadequacy at shortstop seemed to finally catch up to him, and while on the decline, he seemed genuinely distraught with his career and the company he kept for the first time. It was a beautiful sight for eyes sore from the spectacle of what seemed to that point to be one of the least enjoyable Red Sox seasons of all time, even before the Second Biggest Chokejob Ever or this year’s “Impossible Nightmare” season.

So, given that, I was left to wonder: Do these strange feelings for the Yankees go beyond Jeter?

Could it be that I’ve grown more welcoming in my mid-twenties? Has increased awareness of the mechanisms of sports—and life in general—finally reached its event horizon, turning a laser guided missile of sports loathing into some sort of amorphous blob of sports indifference? Or have years of unlikable Red Sox teams and the euphoria from two World Series titles in four seasons coupled with a full year of Bobby Valentine-and-Larry Lucchino torture porn doused fiery hatred felt as recently as 2009?

And what role did Mariano Rivera play in all this? I thanked God when Mo threw Game 7 of the 2001 World Series away, just past Derek’s outstretched glove, and was fundamentally indifferent when he went down near the beginning of this season shagging fly balls in the outfield like he had done nearly every game day for his entire career.

But, as this Red Sox season wore on, players-only meeting after bullpen blow up after salary dump, the consistency of a man filling his role on a nightly basis better than perhaps anyone had ever done anything in the history of organized sports began to create a hole in the objective enjoyment of baseball. Missing was the blaring Metallica that preceded a slight man with a single pitch coming in to collect another save, a stat he almost single handedly gave significance to, as entire schools of baseball thought revolve around recreating the platonic ideal of a closer made in his image.

How did this change of heart happen? Why feel this way about people you subjectively dislike and objectively root against?

Ultimately, it seems that this precipitous drop has made the value of villains become clear. Without rivalry, without a nemesis or an archenemy, the idea of meaningless competition becomes, well, meaningless. Feeling bad for the Yankees and Derek and Mo, I feel bad for the Sox and Dustin and Tito. Take it as an admission that, good or evil, everyone’s clock is ticking, and that because of this, an appreciation of everything is necessary.

So, I suppose that’s it. I’m fundamentally happy about the downfall of the Guild of Calamitous Intent. I just wish that Henchmen #424 and #21 didn’t have to go down to get there. I liked those guys.


Share |

Comments

the fate of someone else usually run deeper, the product of a plethora of possible factors, from the surprisingly specific to spectacularly general.
coc hack online

I really enjoy reading and also appreciate your work. hardwood installation raleigh

No wonder why you receive countless of feedbacks.million dollar business secrets coupon

Really amazing blog!!! I enjoyed the complete article? enormous written. armor products

I really enjoy reading and also appreciate your work. termite pre-treat port st lucie

I will prefer this blog because it has much more informative stuff. nursing homes stuart

It feels awe-inspiring to read such informative and distinctive articles on your websites. lawyer stuart fl

Well, I have got the best information from here the site is fully stuffed with the knowledgeable information.
discount car insurance

I’m eager to find the valuable information and for me this is the right place to get the good stuff.cheap car insurance for minors

Hi Dear, have you been certainly visiting this site daily, if that's the case you then will certainly get good knowledge.Virtual Ceo Lifestyle review

Your articles are more than wow! And also the best way to make understand the things mentioned in it.
payday loans scv

I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new mens shoes

Outstanding blog, in my opinion site owners should acquire a great deal out of this blog its very user welcoming. Inbox blueprint bonus

Your articles and contents are encouraging. lifeinsurancerates

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up The best trading winning strategy for binary option

This sort of message continually rousing and I like to peruse quality substance, so glad to discover great spot to numerous here in the post, the written work is simply awesome, a debt of gratitude is in order for the post. cccam server Europe

At this time a person allow it to be uncomplicated personally to grasp and also actualize the thought large format printing nyc

These websites are really needed, you can learn a lot. The Psystrology Method Review

I'm in no doubt coming back again to read these articles and blogs.easy coin tricks

Everyone has made ​​mistakes. But they have to fix it like they made ​​a mistake when he saw the numbers too much at the same time. banner stand nyc

I don’t suppose many of websites give this kind of information.
pay day loans in saint paul mn

Personal computer packs may be attractive getting our company's pcs all over the place. It also ranges from cover backpacks, bookbag and so package occurrences together with copes with.
Ashy Bines Raw

Amazing, this is great as you want to learn more, I invite to This is my page. How to Turn a Guy On Without Touching Him

Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that.
easyonlinepaydayloan.com

This is very interesting, but it is necessary to click on this link: The Amazing You Review

Nice answers in replace of the question with real point of view and explaining about that.club flyers prints

Hi Dear, have you been certainly visiting this site daily, if that's the case you then will certainly get good knowledge.speak to sell virtual bootcamp

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material...
Quickplay

Hi Dear, have you been certainly visiting this site daily, if that's the case you then will certainly get good knowledge.

homeowners and car insurance bundles

Amazing, this is great as you want to learn more, I invite to This is my page. Capture His Heart Review

This written piece gives fastidious understanding yet. http://topessaywritersreviews.com

I was searching the blogs for a long time and that is good to know that I have found such blogs here. Great working! Keep it up!
pay day advance online

Hey buddies, such a marvelous blog you have made I’m surprised to read such informative stuf iPro Academy 2.0 Bonus

I thought haven’t read such distinctive material anywhere else on-line. tentacle war

In this particular article, you will see a summary, satisfy browse this post. Capture His Heart

In this particular article, you will see a summary, satisfy browse this post. language of lust download

Just saying thanks wouldn’t just be enough, for the fantastic fluency in your writing. online payday loan

It’s a classic great for me to go to this blog site, it offers helpful suggestions Orlando Roofing Companies

Thank you I am glad about the encouragement! I love your site, you post outstanding.
buy soundcloud likes cheap

Superb way of explaining, and great blog to get wonderful information. skywalker 15' round trampoline

Hurrah, that’s what I was trying to get for, just what a stuff Presented at this blog!! Thanks admin of the site adrian astrology reviews

Fine method of telling, and enjoyable article to acquire factual statements. the fat diminisher system

Your texts on this subject are correct, see how I wrote this site is really very good. Red Smoothie Detox Factor Review

On my website you'll see similar texts, write what you think. Magnetic Messaging Review

I was pinning away for such type of blogs, thanks for posting this for us.Email Marketing Software

You have shared the best blog. This is what I really need immediately.
payday loans no checking account

I see the greatest contents on your blog and I extremely love reading them.Sequoia Capital India Shailendra Singh

I truly get pleasure from while I read your blogs and its content. lifr indurance

Your contents are too straightforward to browse and easy to understand. virginia payday loans