As the New York Yankees enter another season, bolstered up and ready to strike, we should all take a step back and truly understand why this team is so dangerous. But I don’t mean they’re dangerous just because of their potent lineup and pitching and bullpen depth. I mean that even before the 2012 season has even started, teams are already fearing the Bronx Bombers; the Evil Empire...
"Now batting for the Yankees…number two…the shortsop…Derek Jeter…number two."
"Batting fourth for the Yankees…Alex Rodriguez."
At Yankee Stadium, the home of the New York Yankees, clapping, cheering, and screaming would only follow upon hearing the names of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
On the road, anywhere else:
Nothing but boos.
Despite the heavy New York fan base around the country and regardless of whose name is being announced on a normal roll call, the Yankees are hated, loathed, and despised wherever they go.
Year after year, season after season, the Yankees find themselves playing October ball. Unlike the other twenty two teams (now with the addition of two more wild cards) that do not play passed the 162 game schedules, the Yankees punch their ticket for bonus baseball every year; sometimes late in the season or sometimes even before the season begins.
Hitting home runs at a record pace has created the nickname the Bronx Bombers. The big free agent signings to the ground breaking trades, occurring at the hands of Brian Cashman, has made Yankee Stadium the place to play. Their annual appearance in the postseason, 39 American League Pennants, and 27 World Series Championships have ultimately made them the team to beat.
These accolades, impressive for any resume, have not only led to placing the Yankees on the top of baseballs hierarchy but have built up anger, jealousy, and envy throughout the world of Major League Baseball.
These variables have put together the equation that has transformed the New York Yankees into… The Evil Empire.
The Yankees Universe is filled with hall of famers, retired numbers, and more history than any other organization.
27 World Series rings and counting…
But when all is said and done and when all the statistics are calculated and games are won, the New York Yankees truly are the Evil Empire.
Normally, the word evil has a negative connotation attached to it. Evil is known for striking fear, spreading bad, and creating mayhem. Even though their intimidating lineup, scrappy pitching, and the sandman that enters towards the end of the game do strike fear in the eyes of their opponents, the Yankees do not spread bad and their organization as a whole is only attached to positivity.
But with all that being said is The Evil Empire still a fitting nickname for the New York Yankees?
The Yankees are at the pinnacle of sports. Other teams strive to be them while striving to beat them even more. Some are successful. Some are not.
If God could create the perfect organization, he would most certainly do it in the image of the New York Yankees.
They are simply the Mona Lisa of baseball.
Again, is The Evil Empire still a fitting nickname for the New York Yankees?
They are loved and they are hated; the most dichotomous reaction to any team.
Let’s Go Yankees! Yankees Suck! Let’s Go Yankees! Yankees Suck!
Labeling the Yankees as the Evil Empire is a compliment. Being a bull’s eye or target every year is a compliment. Constantly trying to perform as the Yankees do is a compliment. Even with the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays as an elite force in the AL East and the Red Sox getting better every year, the Yankees are the face of baseball.
What other team stirs up as much hype? What other team brings in more fans and more revenue, even in places like Colorado and Cincinnati? Who else is capable of selling out (the old) Sun Life Stadium, a place where the Marlins have seen just as many empty seats as Shea Stadium did in the month of October?
The answer is simple. No one.
Put Buckner back in Fenway. Give Steve Bartman season tickets at Wrigley. The Yankees would still bring a greater uproar and larger commotion stepping into Progressive Field on a Tuesday night in the middle of July.
That is why the Yankees are The Evil Empire.
Not because they have a spot in October every year with no reservations needed. Not because their bankroll is more lucrative than five Donald Trump’s. Not because everyone and their mothers want to hear the bleacher creatures call their name.
They are the Evil Empire because it is good to be feared just as much as you are respected.
Because more noise is produced at Yankee Stadium than anywhere else. And because no matter where they go, no matter where they play, someone always says:
"Uh oh. Here come the Yankees."