Neil wrote demanding equal billing with Kirk. Without further ado, then, this is the grand response
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Warning: I'm not as funny as Talal, nor as well-spoken as Kirk...
First, I have to say that I laughed out loud when I read your rendition of our conversation on Saturday night. I'm really looking forward to "classes" this summer.
Have to say that I agree with about 95% of what Kirk wrote. I'd even one-up him on the Evil Empire bit. The pattern he described for the mid-90's to now was actually a repeat of the mid-70's into the 80's.
In the mid-70's, the Yankees won the Pennant in '76, '77 and '78. They were close in '79 and '80 and won it again in '81. They had some home grown talent (Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson and later Dave Righetti). Many were free agents (Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage).
Then, after being beaten by the Dodgers in '81 (I still remember Kenny Landreux catching the final out of the series) The Boss - no, not that one - but George Steinbrenner, went on a spending spree. Jack Clark, Steve Kemp and most forgettably Ed Whitson were among the players that were brought in.
Those teams were just awful. But I loved them just the same. Thurman Munson (who died in 1979), Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph were my favorites. Don Mattingly as well.
You're right, the mid '90s teams (champions in '96, '98, '99 and '00) had a combination of free agents and home grown stars.
Since 2001, my beloved Yankees have made it to the playoffs almost every year but have been beaten by the Angels, Red Sox and a few other teams.
I take being a fan very seriously. I joke that I bleed "pinstripe". But I also respect fans of all stripes. Even Red Sox Fans and Mets Fans.
(Incidentally, I rooted for the Red Sox in '86. Because, as a true-blue Yankees fan, no matter how much ya hate the Red Sox, ya gotta hate the Mets more. Cross-town rivals and all.)
Why am I a Yankee fan? I'm from New York. I remember my first Yankee Game. It was 1980, and the Yanks lost to the Royals 4-1. A camp counselor who I later developed a crush on took me to that game. I was 7. She was probably 18.
Kirk's point about history is a good one. The Yankees are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Even Steinbrenner can't ruin that.
I am thrilled that Talal is willing to be a Yankee fan. I am more thrilled that he is willing to learn about baseball.
My goal will be to teach baseball first, let him join Yankees Universe and then go into the history. I could do it in the opposite order (show the history, let him join the Universe and then teach him baseball) but then it wouldn't make sense.
In the end, the goal is to teach baseball. Not Yankee allegiance.
I don't know if I'll be able to say the same if and when Pam and I have kids. Yankee fandom might come first.
(Kirk, by the way, thank you for reassuring my wife about Boston. A friend of ours put the fear of god in her head some time back and she even suggested once that if we ever move there I'd have to stop wearing my Yankee cap. I've been trying to tell her that Fenway is where I'd expect getting hassled.)