To Those About to Hate, We Salute You.
So I’m stumbling around the internet during my lunch break, and I run across this particular item by fellow Royals fan and writer Chris Rasmussen. (you’ll find the article here) . In this particular case, he is perplexed as to why anybody would boo Johnny Damon on Opening Day in Kansas City, and pretty much why anybody would boo the Yankees in general. To paraphrase his reasoning, things have changed far too much, and the divide between the teams is now so wide, that it simply does not make any sense to express one’s displeasure in any sort of manner. Hell, he even speaks of Yankee fans as "not that bad".
Let me set this guy…and others like him straight on why it is not only justified to hate on a particular athlete or team…but it’s in fact healthy as well for a man's very own soul. Now, I’m not going to lie to you…I booed the shit out of Johnny Damon on Tuesday afternoon from about 12 rows away. Now, I know I'm not really accomplishing anything there...and yes, the 5 Boulevard Wheat's may have had something to do with it. But I had great seats, and made my feelings known to him that he’s a smarmy-assed little jackass, who stands for everything that is not only wrong with baseball..but with mankind in general.
Johnny Damon was once the young face of a resurgent Kansas City Royals organization. Drafted by Kansas City, and generally well known for his hustle and boyish charm, he signaled a new wave of thinking in the way the Royals did business. He married a Midwest girl. They had several kids. They called the Midwest home. He talked to the media about how happy he was. It seemed to be the perfect fairy tale story we in the Midwest love to tell. So we soaked it all in, as the future looked as bright as the gleam from Doc Sadler’s giant forehead.
But something happened along the way. Johnny Damon filed for free agency, and took a better job. Nothing wrong with that right? We all find ourselves in that situation from time to time to provide for our family correct? Well, Johnny did that…right before he left his wife, badmouthed the organization that raised him, and basically became a first class prick to the very people who idolized him when he was nothing.
You see, I didn’t boo Johnny Damon on Tuesday for fun. I didn’t boo him because I had some sort of false information in my head as to why he left and why the Royals couldn’t keep him. I booed him because he’s not only a jackass, but he’s also because he represents everything I hate about professional baseball. Besides, do you need much more or a reason? Isn’t it perfectly acceptable to boo, taunt and scream down others on the field because..oh I don’t know…they’re the enemy? Has a kinder and gentler society made us lose our bite and edge when it comes to competition? Especially when it comes to professionals?
Look, I’m not dumb. I know the economics behind it all, just as I’m well aware of the idiotic brain trust that drove the Royals into the ground for 15 years. But I’m smart enough to recognize a world class prick when I see one. That’s why you would not see me boo Mike Sweeney. You would not see me boo Jermaine Dye. I probably wouldn’t even boo Odalis Perez, who was one of the worst pitchers ever to take the mound for KC. No, I hate Johnny Damon because he appears to me to be an asshole. Pretty simple.
In terms of hating the Yankees as a whole, I think the entire hate business is over-analyzed to some degree. But even worse, I think people have a problem recognizing hate for a team or player…and full-bore, all-out, 100% complete and total LOATHING HATRED toward them.
For example. I don’t really like the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t really like any of their players or fans. You could almost say there is a pretty good sense of hate there in the technical sense. But I’m certainly not going to simply it enough to say I hate them as much as I despise the Huskers. Nor is it even close to the ballpark in which I fester my deep-rooted and family fueled hatred of all things Kansas. But those feelings are in fact there…and I certainly don’t think sports are important enough to hate anything beyond a recreational level. Hell, there are some teams I don’t particularly like because of their uniforms or former players. (Pittsburgh Steelers anyone?).
But in conclusion, I don’t really blame Mr. Rasmussen for recognizing his lack of hatred toward a long-time rival. (And yes..if you’re over the age of 20..you’ll know there certainly was a rivalry there…right about the time George Brett was planting his right fist into Greg Nettles’ skull.) However, I certainly think he’s looking a bit too deeply for reasoning behind his lack of anger. As in Damon’s case, there really isn’t much more to disliking a player than recognizing your own internal ability to spot a jackass without ever speaking a word to them.
So the Yankees and other mega-built superpowers will continue to compete for titles, while smaller markets and teams will continue to struggle. The fight will continue, probably for generations…and for those of us fighting on the side of underdogs everywhere…the hate is the only real weapon we have.
You suck Johnny. Rot in hell.