I head into the bar which sponsors the softball team that I play for to discover there’s a new bartender on duty. Of course, we make conversation and come to find out that this particular bar keep pledges allegiance to the New York Yankees. And immediately started lambasting the Twins with such eloquence as “The Twins suck.” Why? “They just do.” Inspirational banter to be sure.
Of course, we immediately groan as a group, but I always have a follow-up locked and loaded for such occasions — “Where are you from? Because if you’re from New York state or Jersey, I’ll give ya Jersey, you can be a Yankees fan and it’s alright. It really is. The skipper my aforementioned softball team is from the NY, so he’s a Yankees fan. A loud one. But it’s OK.”
Turns out the bartender is from Minnesota. Red flag. Then it’s talk about grandmothers who had always been a fan. Turns out, Gam-Gam was from Minnesota, as well. That’s strike two, my friend.
But during the back-and-forth about the Twinkies, the Yankees fan (of course) isn’t interested in the fact that the payroll discrepancy between the two clubs was embarrassing. Why would they? Nor was there any real intelligible response to the fact that despite the difference in market size and payroll, the Twins played five games against the Yankees in four postseason series that were determined by two runs or less.
Finally, I dropped the hammer.
“You can talk all the shit you want if you can answer me one, single question.” I spout.
“OK, what?” the bartender counters cockily.
“I will accept two answers, but it has to be one or the other.”
“Who replaced Robinson Cano at second base for the Yanks?”
“I haven’t been able to watch much this year yet, so I’m not…”
“No, no, no. You’reĀ a Yankees fan. A true Yankees fan would know who replaced Cano because you would have read about it or heard about it, even if you haven’t watched. So come on…”
A bit of a pause in thought, then a response I couldn’t make up if I had tried:
“It’s Bernie, right?”
Silent astonishment flanked me as my teammates were at a loss for words.
I was not.
“Are you tryin’ to say Bernie Williams? Bernie Baseball?! Don’t hurt yourself, alright! First, dude retired about four years ago and second he played center field so you were close in that he once played for the Yankees. And I was looking for either Brian Roberts or Kelly Johnson. Jesus Christ!”
Laughter and further trash talking ensued, but that about encapsulates nearly every encounter I’ve ever had with a Yankees fan.
But like I said, if you’re from New York or Jersey, I’ll nod my head and have some friendly back-and-forth with you, but if you’re not a native or lack some legit reason for calling the pinstripers your squad, you’re just a clown.
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