Kevin Cullen

Enough already

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / July 24, 2008

The Yankees are in town for a weekend series, and this would be a nice time to retire the stupidest chant in the world: Yankees suck.

Now, before you go all Hank Steinbrenner on me, hear me out.

I don't like the Yankees. I never did, though as a kid I liked the way Bobby Murcer played the outfield, and for some odd reason I always wanted Horace Clarke to do well.

But I am a Red Sox fan, have been all my life, and so that means I don't like the Yankees. My two sons don't like the Yankees either.

But here's the critical difference: I respect the Yankees, and I've taught my sons to do so, too. They are 14 and 11, love baseball, and know that Derek Jeter plays the game as well and as hard as anyone has. If I were picking sides in the schoolyard, Jeter is the guy I'd pick first.

If you watch him in the on-deck circle at Fenway, Jeter turns and talks to the kids. He's one of the few players who seem to comprehend how lucky he is to be playing a game and making millions doing it. He's class, all the way, and he's the Yankees captain, epitomizes them as a team, and the hell with the Boss, this is Jeter's team.

So when you say the Yankees suck, you're saying Derek Jeter sucks, which is preposterous.

A-Rod? Well, that's another story, and I don't want to go there because it kind of ruins my whole thesis.

But, really, beyond being crude and moronic, the phrase "Yankees suck" is simply outdated. Its origins are from a bygone era, when we all knew deep down in our hearts that no matter how far ahead the Red Sox might have been in August, no matter the score and inning of a game in October, the Yankees were going to win. And there was nothing we could do about it.

But that's over. It's been over since October 2004, when "Yankees suck" should have been put out to pasture. Shouting "Yankees suck" at Fenway Park today is like yelling "No Taxation Without Representation!" at Faneuil Hall.

Whatever you think of "Yankees suck," it used to mean something, but now it doesn't. It is mindless, as those who chant it often are. I was at Game 7 of the Celtics-Hawks playoff series, and when it became apparent that the C's would win, some in the crowd started chanting "Yankees suck."

"Dad," my oldest asked, "why are they saying that at a Celtics game?"

"Because," I replied, "they're too stupid to think up anything else."

Personally, I have never yelled "Yankees suck," just as I have never sung the chorus to "Sweet Caroline," or participated in The Wave. I have, I must admit, watched "Sox Appeal," the low-rent version of "The Dating Game," which takes place at Fenway Park during a Sox game.

But I watch that for laughs. Sort of like the way I watch the news. But, again, "Yankees suck" has never sprung from these virgin lips.

Now, sit back, and think long and hard for a moment. Have you ever said "Yankees suck"? Think of the people you have seen or heard saying this over the years. My experience has been that most people who shout "Yankees suck" are either drunk, obnoxious, or stupid and very often a combination of all three. They are an embarrassment to the rest of us, and their chant makes us look like a bunch of local yokels.

I know this will fall on deaf ears, and "Yankees suck" will be sung lustily all weekend in the bleachers and grandstand, then on Brookline Avenue as guys who have already had too much to drink mosey down to Kenmore Square, looking for more booze or a fight.

But if in this day and age you continue to yell "Yankees suck," it says a lot more about you than the team you think you're insulting.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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