I got into a mild argument the other day with a relative who is a football Giants fan. The argument was centered a round a comment he made when I mentioned how upset I was on Sunday night when the Jets-Bills game went on so long that my DVR stopped recording before the game was over despite my having set the DVR to record an hour extra. It’s a philosophy I have when recording live events to record for extra time and an hour has always been more than enough for football games. Even those that went into overtime like the Jets-Bill game did. But this time the DVR stopped taping during overtime so I couldn’t see the finishing score that humiliated the Jets.
My relative replied to my comment that I was a gluten for punishment. The line revolved around the point that the Giants are 5-1 despite a humiliating loss to the New Orleans Saints this week. But it goes much deeper than that. He’s a bit younger than me and was indoctrinated into football fandom during the Bill Parcells era. Though the Giants have had some bad years since then they’ve usually been a better than average team. The Jets, on the other hand, well, there’s a reason we continue to say “same old Jets”.
As a Giants fan who has seen his team win the Super Bowl three times in his lifetime (and appear one more time) he’s grown accustomed to a certain level of football being played by his team. He thinks winning is an entitlement and not necessarily a precious commodity that must be earned.
After watching last night’s Yankees-Angels game (game 3 of the ALCS) and seeing Yankees fans reactions to the 5-5, 11-inning loss it is apparent to me now more than ever that Yankees fans harbor the same attitude toward their team that this relative harbors toward the Yankees. I guess their entitled to think think this way to a certain extent. Their team has won the World Series 26 times and has the right to a certain amount of swagger as a result. But the fans treat winning as a right and can’t appreciate it.
Let’s look at what is regarded as the reason the game was lost last night. In the bottom of the 11th inning manager Joe Girardi took right handed relief pitcher David Robertson out of the game despite Robertson getting the two batters he faced out in favor of another righty, Alfredo Aceves. Aceves promptly allowed two hits the second of which knocked in the Angels winning run. The move was based on the type of pitchers the two are and the types of hitters they’d be facing. As a manager you rely on your scouting reports to help you make these kinds of decisions and Girardi felt that based on the reports Aceves was the better pitcher to face the next hitter. But in this instance the move failed.
If I were a Yankee fan you could bet that I’d be upset about the loss. It was a chance to go up 3-0 against an Angels team that has been very tough for the Yankees to beat. I can’t blame Yankees fans for being critical of the pitching change and upset at the loss. However the vehemence I’ve seen from them is inexcusable. Everything from “this wouldn’t happen if George Steinbrenner was still in charge” to “I can’t believe Joe Girardi still has a job”.
All I can say to our crosstown brothers and sisters is: get a grip! Your team just won 6 games in a row (5 of which were in the post season). They were bound to lose a game. They’re still up 2-1 in the series. If you were real fans you’d be excited that they still had a lead in the series with their top pitcher slated to start game 4 instead of griping about the only game the team has lost in over 2 weeks.