Yankees: The Love-Hate Relationship

Since I’m not Nick Swisher I can probably write this post without receiving hate mail.  Probably, being the operative word. I’m going to come right out and say it, being with the New York Yankees is both a blessing and a –for lack of a better word – curse. When the Bronx Bombers drafted David in 2008, we couldn’t have been happier. Who wouldn’t love to play for America’s team? It soon became evident, however, that playing for the Yankees comes with its fair share of challenges.

I have the upmost respect for every single individual within the Yankees organization. I think it is safe to say that they have the hardest jobs in Major League Baseball. What A-Rod said on the last day of the season pretty much sums up what it’s like to play for the Yankees: “I love New York City and I love everything about being a Yankee. The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low.” In 25 words he managed to sum it all up.
As a wife, I have an insider’s perspective. While I can’t attest to the feelings of individual players, I can tell you what it’s like to sit on the sidelines and watch your husband fight for his job on a daily basis. No position in sports is safe and A-Rod is a prime example of that. What transpired the last few days of the season proves that no one is invincible or omnipotent. My heart truly goes out to him and every other guy on the team who poured his heart and soul into this year.  Overall, it was a great season for the Yankees, but they fell short at critical moments.
The behavior of fans and spectators alike is the hardest aspect of this sport. As much as 90% of this game is mental, and when you don’t have the support of your fans it makes it a lot harder to succeed. I love the passion that New York has for its team, but I think we can all recognize there is a lack of compassion and understanding that goes in hand with said passion. While it can be argued that this type of “tough love” can fuel your fire, there is a point where your tank is still empty; using negative comments to encourage success is a sad way to go about this lifestyle.

This past year I experienced, first hand, nasty fans that made terrible comments about the Trenton Thunder and its players. Most of the time I bit my tongue, but there were times I turned around and kindly said something. I never had to speak up for David, but I did find myself standing up for the team and his teammates. Fortunately, I was never met with anything but understanding. It seems when people know you are a wife it’s much harder to speak poorly to your face – even if it’s just about the team. It’s good to know there are still fans with hearts out there.
There were several times I vented to David about the actions and words of the fans but every single time, he had the same response – “get used to it, this is what playing for NY is like.” Of course, I was quick to reply, “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR. WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO GET USED TO IT?” David has become well aware of the scrutiny that accompanies playing at Yankee Stadium and subsequent to that, I’ve had to as well. It takes tough characters to stand tall and not crumble despite adversity and criticism and every man who has stepped foot onto the field, in a New York Yankees uniform, fits the bill.

I’m not going to get into the million reasons the Yankees don’t deserve to be treated with the lack of respect that they, at times, receive because I know that no matter what I say, people will still have a conflicting opinion. Unless you have lived the life of a professional athlete, you really can’t comprehend what they go through. Even as a wife, I have no clue. I can tell you what I know and I can share my experiences, but I will never know what it feels like to step out in pinstripes in front of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers.
“You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”  It may sound simple, but it’s far from it.
Remember – “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

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  1. Reply

    MLBNewman

    October 19, 2012

    Well said, Camille! I quoted Derek Jeter in my 2003 MLB.com story about our “I Live For This” (my favorite) ad campaign back then at http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20030917&content_id=530897&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=null & he said:
    “I was going to be playing professional baseball. That’s all I ever talked about. The thing that means the most to me is, I wanted to be remembered as a Yankee. They either love us or hate us. I enjoy playing at home in front of the greatest fans in the world. But I also enjoy going on the road, where they’d be booing us and hating us. The bottom line is, when you compete, you want to win. I live for this.”
    Mark/MLB.com
    http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

    • Reply

      Baseball Serendipity

      October 19, 2012

      Absolutely! Sounds like a great interview. Derek is amazing and the way baseball fans around the world reacted to the news of his injury was very upsetting. Deep inside, every baseball player wants to be a Yankee but they are just happy to to what they love for a living. It’s a dream that is rarely realized.

  2. Reply

    Alicia Barnhart

    October 19, 2012

    Enjoyed reading this post Camille! I work in talk radio so have to hear fans complain about the Buckeyes all the time. I admit I complain about ARod since I wasn’t crazy about that trade or the resigning. But in general we overreact and are really hard on our teams. I was happy with how far the Yankees went with all the turmoil… looked like they’d collapse the entire second half of the season. And on Jeter, that broke my heart, he is one of the best and the negative reaction is jealousy! He is a class act on the field and keeps his private life out of the public really well. Again I loved this post, its nice to get an insider’s thoughts!

    • Reply

      Baseball Serendipity

      October 19, 2012

      Thank you Alicia. It was a pleasure writing it. I agree with you 100%. I understand complaining, trust me, I’ve done it with my beloved Heat, dare I talk about 2010-2011 season? Dreadful! But that’s different than the level at which fans sometimes take it. Hopefully it will change! Hahahaha 🙁 that thought was both amusing and sad.

  3. Reply

    This is a very simple game...

    October 22, 2012

    Great post! I think it’s good for everyone, even a team’s own fanbase, to be reminded that there are men inside those uniforms, not robots. Men who will slump from time to time and who won’t always be able take the inevitable criticism stoically even though they know that’s the job. And, really, we fans should prefer it that way. Robots would never give us the passion and little heartfelt moments we want from our teams in good times.
    — Kristen

    • Reply

      Baseball Serendipity

      October 22, 2012

      Thank you Kristen! I think it’s very easy for everyone to forget that baseball players are human and have ups and downs when they are blinded by the multi-million dollar salaries and notoriety that follows many of these guys.

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