It is always instructive to get a glimpse of the inner core of Yankee fans.
The other day I was walking down a pleasant street in the Berkshires with my wife and four friends.
Puffy clouds played in the clear New England sunshine above the soft green hills.
Most of us were fixated on lunch, some on art or window displays. My new friend Joe from Queens was otherwise preoccupied. Great career, family man, terrific shape, funny. And a Yankee fan.
“Ha!” he gloated. “Look at this! Not a Red Sox cap in sight. For years that’s all you saw in this town. Red Sox caps. Red Sox banners. Red Sox t-shirts. Red Sox bumper stickers. Red Sox tattoos. Red Sox flags. Red Sox schedules in the windows. Red Sox art. Red Sox names for sandwiches. Guess they’re not so cocky now. How’s that Bobby V thing going for them? How are Beckett and Lester doing? Where is Papelbon? What ever happened to Red Sox Nation? Ha!”
That is how I remember his spontaneous monologue.
(I told my new pal I might try to reconstruct his diatribe, and he said, not to worry, that no matter how I remembered it, he probably said worse. Or would have, if he had thought of it. Joe from Queens was thoroughly delighted at the downswing of Ye Olde Towne Team.)
I did not see any Yankee regalia in the Berkshire streets. The only ball cap I saw was from the University of California. Go figure. The entire Red Sox nation had vanished as the Sox plummeted downward in the Eastern Division.
That night my new pal excused himself after dinner and disappeared to his room. Yankee radio and Yankee television were apparently jammed in that corner of New England, but he was following the Yankees on the computer.
The next day he supplied details of derring-do by Kuroda and Swisher, Jeter and Chavez, or some such combination. Yankee heroics, Red Sox disaster. The mixture made him downright giddy
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.