Post-Imperial Melancholy

40millionofmisery.jpgIt is clear that the Red Sox will soon delight their long-suffering fans by reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. We applaud them for their historic comeback, as much as it irks us to lose to them, of all teams.

Undoubtedly, there are many readers who have no sympathy for the Yankee fan, and not merely the joyous citizens of the so-called Red Sox Nation. To fans of all other baseball teams, the Yankees and their fans appear much as Americans appear to the citizens of all other nations — spoiled with obscene prosperity that they then, adding insult to injury, proceed not merely to enjoy, but to expect, at all costs. To the rest of the baseball world, the Yankees are the hyperpower, led by a boasting, undiplomatic, bloviating madman named George, using their tremendously disproportionate wealth to tilt the playing field in their favor and to insidiously appropriate the resources of the less fortunate.

When the Yankees are humbled, it is a time to rejoice — not merely for the partisans of the side that has bested them, but also for all those who feel that the Yankees’ extraordinary success has led, in one way or another, to their own failure, in the same way that many in the world rejoice when the United States fails. Recall the reaction of the French(y) intellectual Jean Baudrillard to the attacks of September 11th:

[W]e have dreamed of this event, … everybody without exception has dreamt of it, because everybody must dream of the destruction of any power hegemonic to that degree…. It is almost they who did it, but we who wanted it.

Could this not express the reaction of all the Yankee-haters in the land this day?

Of course, this analogy has limits — I don’t want to take this too far into the absurd and suggest that the Red Sox and their fans hate freedom in quite the same way that terrorists or Frenchmen (quelle est la différence?) do. And in contradistinction to the ruler of the United States, the autocrat of the Yankees demands accountability from those to whom he entrusts the pursuit of his goals — he’s even been known to fire people from time to time.

But as New Yorkers discovered in the fall of 2001 — in September, and once again, in November — as much success as you may have had, as pleasant as your life may have been compared to the suffering of others, when you are hurt, you feel the pain all the same.

EARLIER: Rooting for the Overdog

9 replies on “Post-Imperial Melancholy”

As an American, I may be spoiled with obscene prosperity, citizen of a bullying nation headed by a bloviating madman, but please, I beg you, don’t compare me to the fucking Yankees. Not even Bush has such a gross sense of entitlement. What’s the cross-cultural analogy for A-Rod hacking Arroyo, then whining when he gets caught?

Oh, I don’t know. Hmm…. How about lecturing the world about the importance of open markets and then, say, imposing steel tariffs? And then complaining when the WTO calls us on it? That’s just off the top of my head…
Besides, if you read closely, I’m not necessarily comparing you to the Yankees. I might be comparing you to the French, or to the terrorists. Basically, my point is that you are either with the Yankees or with the terrorists.

Matt, Millar was actually blocking first (without the ball) as A.Rod approached the base, creating a prior obstruction that left him with no choice but to pre-empt the out. He was totally justified in acting on his own last night, and it’s ridiculous that a pansy-ass conference of umpires ruled him out. Was he supposed to wait for them to give him the go-ahead? That would have demonstrated a pre-October mindset.
Anyway, baseball talk aside, there’s clearly no comparison between the Yankees and the U.S. Completely different stories.

Meghan you have got to be out of your mind a. that was not Millar in the base line and b. those jackass umpires called A-Rod safe before he even touched the base — so tell me what is fair? A-Rod is a pansy-ass and deserves every bit of bashing he is getting.

Chris — Meghan is right. We Yankees should never surrender our right to score runs to foreign powers, like the French or the umpires. We should never submit our baserunners to some kind of “global test” according to some set of “rules.” I think you just hate A-Rod because of his freedom.

All of you who are arguing about the “rules” are clearly part of the “reality-based baseball community.” The Yankees were an empire! They made their own reality!
But not anymore…

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