Rodney M Bliss

Darth Vader Was A .310 Hitter

Do you think Derek Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer?


Based on what?

He had over 3000 hits and batted over .300 for his career.

It wasn’t that high, was it?

I was sitting in Globe Life Park in Arlington Texas with a coworker and fellow baseball fan watching the Texas Rangers play the Tampa Bay Rays. Mark is a New York Yankees fan. I’m a Seattle Mariners fan. We’d just driven three hours from Shreveport, LA to watch a baseball game. After the game we were going to have to drive three hours back to Shreveport to be at work the next day. Six hours of driving for a three hour baseball game seemed like a worthwhile tradeoff.

Mariners fans typically don’t like the Yankees. In fact, most baseball fans don’t like the Yankees. There are entire websites devoted to hating on the Yankees. There are certain teams, (Boston Red Sox and New York Mets) where wearing Yankee gear to the game could end up in a physcial confrontation. It’s probably safe to say the Yankees are the most hated team in baseball and possibly one of the most hated teams in all of pro sports. I describe them as the Darth Vader of baseball teams.

Part of the reason people hate the Yankees, is that historically they are simply a dominate team. The World Series has been played for 113 years. Out of that century-plus of baseball championships, the Yankees have been involved in 40 of them. The Yankees have won 27. The team with the second highest number of World Series wins is the St Louis Cardinals with 11 wins in 19 appearances. Less than half the Yankees totals.

Despite what General George Patton quoted to the 3rd Army, Americans DO NOT love a winner. Dominate your sport too much and other teams, and their fans will hate you for it. Just ask football’s New England Patriots, or soccer’s Manchester United.

The other reason that people hate the Yankees is all that winning has bred a certain arrogance. My friend Mark is a great guy and our baseball “rivalry” is all in good fun. But, many fans, and especially players are arrogant and rude. And it seems to happen the most on the Yankees team.

And the Yankees are absolutely essential to baseball’s success.

I mean that. The Yankees, as much as they are hated and vilified, are good for baseball. And it’s what makes them the Darth Vader of baseball. The first Star Wars movie (now called Episode IV: A New Hope) saw Darth Vader as the epitome of evil. He ruthlessly killed those he disagreed with. He blew up planets. He was a very, very bad person.

And yet, he was essential to the success of the movie. Without a great villain, the movie wouldn’t have been very interesting. It’s the bad guy that makes it fun; even when we are rooting against him. That’s the Yankees. They are the bad guys of baseball. They are powerful and attempt to crush all those in their path. And they are hated for it. And yet, without them, there wouldn’t be nearly the interest in the sport. The New York Yankees logo is one of the most recognizable emblems in the world. Rappers and rock stars, construction workers and couch potatoes: They all will buy and wear Yankees gear even if they don’t know an infield fly from a can of corn. It’s the fact that the Yankees are so loved by people from New York and so hated by everyone else (including people from New York: I see you Mets fans) that drives interest in the game.

The great thing about cell phones is that you can look up trivia answers at the ball park. As the Rays and Rangers slugged it out on the field I checked my friend’s comments about Derek Jeter, former Yankees captain.

Definitely a Hall of Fame worthy career, even if I hated to admit it. Probably about what Darth Vader would hit.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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