2002-04-25 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

View From The Middle

View From The Middle

By Charles Rogers

These Are The Times That Try Yankees Fans’ Souls

My colleague Neil S. Friedman ("Don’t forget the S....") is a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan, as I am. He has a sticker on the bumper of his car heralding the greatest of all of the greatest teams - the 1998 Yankees; talks about them with authority (as I almost do); watches them faithfully on television whenever he can and, when he can’t, listens to them on the radio. I do all those things too

Lately, as you might know, the radio has gotten a lot of use.

You see, the Yankees cannot be seen on local TV that carries Cablevision; cannot be seen by about three million subscribers. The cable company and the Yankees network (YES) are at odds because Cablevision wants to carry YES only as a $10 a month premium channel, while YES is offering a certain amount of Yankees games to cable subscribers as part of a basic package, paying them $2 per subscriber.

The two companies have been at odds since before the beginning of April, before Opening Day. Greed is the name of their game, of course, and the Yankees fans, so far, are the losers.

As I said, I’m an avid Yankees fan. I have been known to literally push old ladies out of the line-of-sight of a television set if the Yankees have bases loaded and Derek Jeter is at bat - unless the old ladies are also fans of the Best Team Ever. Then I’ll gently pick them up and place them elsewhere.

There are friends of mine who are baseball fans too, but not necessarily Yankees followers. During summer, they are not my friends. They are acquaintances who watch other teams, like the Mets (ugh), but definitely below me in status. My wife, Barbara, is one of these, uh, acquaintances, although I admit she does watch my favorites with me and roots them on with me (sort of a "fair weather" compatriot). The other day one of these, uh, acquaintances said to me, "If you can’t watch the Yankees, why don’t you watch the Mets or some other team?"

Can you believe it?


Where do these people come from? The look on my face in answer to the question seemed to say it all, really: Incredulity; complete disbelief that there were human beings capable of uttering phrases like this. I didn’t answer, of course, preferring to sputter a lot and make gutteral sounds, as I choked and motioned the questioner away with my hand.

I have real friends at work. Real comrades-in-Yankees-arms who know exactly where I’m coming from. Neil S. Friedman is the one who says, "You don’t switch loyalties at a time like this. You just don’t. That’s ridiculous!" There were a few other words he muttered under his breath as he walked away, much like some of the words attributed to Richard M. Nixon when he talked about Watergate years after he resigned.

Then there’s Joyce Guarneschelli, who, when asked if she would watch the Mets if she couldn’t watch the Yankees, said, raising her nose in the air, "If I had to root for the Mets, I’d give up baseball altogether!"

These are my people!

My wife says the Yankees, with their YES network, and Cablevision are doing themselves harm by not coming to an agreement. That’s true. They’re losing a lot of ground and a lot of advertising and they’re gaining just plain bad publicity.

But are they losing loyal Yankees fans?

Whatayou, nuts?

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