I had a phone interview this morning for a possible position with a business consulting office in Pleasanton. I have a link to this site on my resume, and as a result, baseball comes up fairly often in interviews, which is great. Baseball is more fun to talk about with potential employers than, say, speed skating, and I never have to feign interest. In fact, I think half the time, I have to force myself to stop talking.
The man I spoke with this morning, a fellow named Ed, mentioned that he was originally from northern New Jersey and grew up a Yankees fan. Ed said he came of age at an interesting time, in that nexus after the Giants and Dodgers left for California, the dreadful Mets arrived and the Yankees still ruled. Halfway through his childhood, though, things changed.
The Yankees are one of those sports franchises that people either love or hate, like the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Red Wings or the Los Angeles Lakers. Traditionally, they spend the most money, have the most obnoxious fans and beat only the most sympathetic, lovable teams. But I don’t reserve the same animosity in my heart for the Yankees that I do for the Lakers. Partly, this could have something to do with me being from Sacramento and a longtime Kings fan (and to say that is to know heartache.) But the Yankees also have an interesting history.
Essentially, the Yankees have traditionally been one of two teams throughout their history:
- Perennial World Series contenders
- Second division clubs with some awful luck
Granted, they’ve probably fallen into the first category a solid 85 percent of the time. But the remaining 15 percent is heart wrenching. It is comprised of times like the deaths of Thurman Munson and Billy Martin, and the injury-filled declines of Don Mattingly and Mickey Mantle (the retirements of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio were sad too, but that didn’t stop the Yankees from the World Series in those days.)
Ed hit high school right around the time Mantle retired and, as he said, the Yankees couldn’t beat a Triple-A club. The highlight I remember about them from the early ’70s is that two of their pitchers swapped wives.
That’s never good.
(Postscript: They had me in for a four-hour interview at their offices the following day. I sat in on a webinar, interviewed with three separate employees and had lunch at the office. It was the most intense interview I’ve been on in a long time, though they definitely have a cool company.)