It recently occurred to me that people's relationships with their sports teams last longer than any other. I have been a Yankees fan for nearly half a century, an amount of time that exceeds associations with barbers, restaurants, schools and even marriage.
In 1971 the Yankees began a downward spiral that in no way diminished my devotion to them. They were a team comprised primarily of journeymen in a crumbling stadium who were always fun to watch. In fact, those years of sitting in the bleachers and general admission seats are some of the best memories of my youth.
As time went on I shared ups and downs with the Yankees organization, including memories such as my children (at ages 6 and 8) and I meeting George Steinbrenner at a Manhattan restaurant, where he wrote them each a personal note on a yellow legal pad.
However, when the new stadium opened in 2009 the Yankees underwent a transformation that affected every aspect of the organization, changing the swagger -- and yes even arrogance -- to a level of elitism I have come to find intolerable.
Making a phone call to Yankee stadium with a question or a request is like reaching the most exclusive club in the world with Pentagon like security that is completely unwarranted. The cost of taking a family of four to the stadium can be as pricey as a vacation. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will soon be gone and I'd prefer watching paint dry than see Alex Rodriquez earn another undeserved pile of money. Robinson Cano runs to first base as if he was approaching shark infested waters and it's easier to obtain an email address for a cabinet member than Brian Cashman. In 2008, the Yankees banned fans from bringing sunblock into the stadium and then sold it inside at a huge markup.
The Yankees have been called an Evil Empire but lately they've come to remind me of the beautiful rich girl we all knew in high school. She was always aloof and condescending when anyone attempted to approach her, but once an opportunity to converse with her finally occurred, it turned out that the elitist behavior merely masked a shallow, humorless and vapid personality.
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