Tonight the Orioles play the New York Yankees. Yes, it’s only Spring Training, but…
I hate the New York Yankees. Of course I do. I’m a life-long Orioles fan. But it’s been a long time since hating the New York Yankees mattered. Since 1997 (the last time the Orioles made the playoffs), the Yankees have won eight Division Championship Series, six American League Championship Series and four World Series. These statistics aren’t meant to depress you. They are meant to get you fired up. See, in order to really hate the Yankees, the Orioles have to start to matter.
Last year we were 5-18 in the month of April – already 10 1/2 games out of contention. It only got worse from there. By June 30th, we were 22 games back. The epitome of insignificant.
The definition of rival is “one who attempts to equal or surpass another, or who pursues the same object as another; a competitor”. Once upon a time, the Orioles and Yankees were “rivals”. In the late 70′s and early 80′s, we competed for the top of the American League. When the Yankees would come to the old Memorial Statium there was a sea of Orange. For those that dared to wear the pinstripes, they did so at their own risk. I still remember going to a game where my dad was able to get a rise out of Yankee manager Billy Martin by yelling from the stands. He wouldn’t have been able to do that if the Orioles didn’t matter.
So, here’s to 2011 being the year where our rivalry with the Evil Empire is renewed, and to filling Camden Yards with Orange on the days the Yankees come to town. Remember, Buck doesn’t want to hear excuses. He wants to play with the big guys. And I’m ready to have my hate for the Yankees start to matter again.