The Yankees as Evil Empire

For days I’ve been putting off this post, but with news of the Tigers trading Pudge Rodriguez to the New York Yankees, I can hold out no longer.

The Yankees are the Evil Empire of baseball, an eternal force against which all others must contend. The Yanks are the archetype of the invincible. If they didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them.

At right is the Yankees helmet my son picked up as a freebie on helmet day at the Big Stadium in the Bronx. It was a day game in 2003, and the Kansas City Royals crushed the Yankees 15-3 or something close to that.

With a pair of free tickets in hand, we took the No. 4 train from Midtown to the ballpark, a total urban experience. I’ve driven to plenty of ballgames and hiked in from parking lots, but for me nothing beats the thrill of riding a train or subway packed with fans to and from the game.

Having spent a good five years working at Rockefeller Center, I’ve soaked up thousands of tabloid baseball headlines on the backs of the Daily News and New York Post. Over the years I’ve formed temporary allegiances to the Mets and even rooted for the Yanks, indulging in a healthy respect and admiration for them and their fans, maybe the most passionate in the game.

So any victory against them — and one is never expected — is all the sweeter.

Below is another view of the Yankees batting cap, and I dare anyone not to liken it to the helmet of Darth Vader.

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