The first five World Series I can remember seeing even snippets of on television featured the New York Yankees squaring off against five different National League teams, none of which were my beloved Milwaukee Braves.
From 1960-64, the Yankees battled against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Los Angeles and St. Louis, and by the time the Cardinals upended the Yankees in Game Seven behind Bob Gibson, I was more than a little ready to see my National League guys tangle with anybody other than the Yankees in the Fall Classic.
And though I hardly consider myself the center of the universe, I got my wish. For the next three decades, the Yankees would win a total of four more pennants; admittedly, they would engineer a phenomenal streak of four World Series titles in a five-year span starting in 1996, but taken in the aggregate, it’s hardly been oppressive.
So why does it feel like I’ve spent a lifetime under Bronx Bomber dominance? I just realized it’s because I’ve read so much and spent so much time through our hobby linking with the Yankees’ ridiculous streak of 14 pennants in 16 years (1949-64) that I tend to distort what the impact has actually been.
A couple of other things I realized: I almost certainly shortchanged the modern Yankees in the Legendary Yankee Stadium book that our company released earlier this year. It wasn’t intentional, but more the result of us having a wealth of cards, memorabilia and stories from the earlier dynasty at our disposal. I did intentionally try to mitigate that a bit by including chapters on Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, but I am probably still quite vulnerable to the underlying criticism.
And the final observation: despite the fact that enough small-market teams have managed to wiggle their way into the postseason to make crabbing about team payrolls seem kind of reactionary, I can’t shake the idea that having teams with $200-million payrolls playing teams with half or even less than that total is not a good idea.
Even if the vagaries of sport conspire to blunt the effect of those disparate salaries, it still ain’t right. I wouldn’t want to get on a airplane where the crew was paid 50 percent of what their colleagues were getting on a competing airline parked 500 feet away.
Probably just jitters over a Sunday afternoon flight in my future.