Everyone hates the Yankees. That's the fun of being a Yankee fan, isn't it? There's no sympathy from fellow sports fans.
Say, "I root for the Bills, the Knicks, the Orangemen, the whoevers," at some point in time those words would induce an
understanding nod from sports fans. Every team knows the misery of a lost year, a missed chance for greatness, and a dream fallen tantalizingly short.
Unless you are the Yankees, and that's the fun.
We're the center of attention wherever we go, the biggest road draw, the insignia that is more than brand, and the day after the World Series, we'll be the lead in on half the baseball programs around the country. Everyone hates us for it, and that's the fun.
But to be hated is one thing- fans boo Yankees at All Star Games from Boston to San Diego. But for one of those teams to be the Yankees' rivals is something else. What does it mean to be a giant-killer if the giant never noticed you?
It was part of the joke of the "rivalry" between the Yankees and Red Sox before 2004; nothing that one sided could be a rivalry. For me, the Red Sox still top the list because (despite their recent collapse) they have money and a smart front office; Boston has staying power.
The Rays are worthy rivals, and we see them often. The Angels spent time as our rivals, but when we beat them in 2009 it also seems to have marked the close of their championship window. The Athletics were rivals for a few years before that. The Twins missed their chance at a rivalry. If the Rangers' current attendance boom holds up and their farm system produces a few big players, they could be rivals through the rest of the decade.
But if you ask me today, which team has the right combination of pitching, hitting, and playoff pain to be a rival, I have to think Detroit sits atop the list.