Heard somebody grumble the other day that this year's New York
Yankees are hard to hate. That statement is just so ignorant.
Always remember this: No Yankees team is hard to hate, even
these small-ball, Ken-doll Bronx Bunters.

That's why I'm coming out with my three-volume series, The 4,008
Best Reasons to Hate the New York Yankees, among them...

1. They fired Red Barber.

2. They hired Steve Howe. A seven-time drug offender.

364. Rooting for the Yankees takes all the courage, imagination,
conviction and baseball intelligence of Spam. It's like rooting
for Brad Pitt to get the girl or for Bill Gates to hit Scratch
'n' Win. (This is why I'm proposing legislation that would allow
only those born in one of the five New York boroughs to be
Yankees fans. All others who root for the team will be considered
overdog-loving, Eveready-chucking, bandwagon-hopping,
fair-weather, brownnose, pucker-lipped human goiters and be
required to turn in their pinstriped underwear or be tossed into
the East River with only Chuck Knoblauch to throw them a life
preserver.)

1,011. The Yankees are the only team that doesn't sew its
players' names onto any of its unis. Like kids are supposed to
memorize the roster after their bedtime prayers. Let's see, 3 is
Ruth, 4 is Gehrig...and 55 is Ramiro Mendoza.

1,312. Everybody is so charmed by Yankee Stadium public address
announcer Bob Sheppard, with his teeth-clenched, perfect-diction
English. He sounds British. Is he British? No, he's from Long
Island! Why, then, does he speak like Thurston Howell III? Bunch
of Yankees fans drunk on lighter fluid in the stands, screaming,
"I paid a buck to see ya mutha naked, Rocker!" and the club has
some guy on the P.A. making like Alistair Cooke. Fuhgeddaboutit!

1,500 through 1,850. Convicted felon and Lucky Sperm Club member
George Steinbrenner III, the despotic Yankees owner, fills half
of one volume by himself. For example, Georgie Porgie, as Boston
Red Sox manager Jimy Williams calls him, just elevated his vice
president of player development and scouting, Mark Newman, over
his general manager, two-time American League pennant winner
Brian Cashman, because Cashman lost two arbitration cases last
winter. And forgot to salute.

1,855. After every nauseating, soul-sucking Yankees victory,
radio play-by-play man John Sterling bellows, "Yankees win!
Tha-a-a-a-a-a-a Yankees win!" like a goat stuck on an electric
fence. Hey, John, give it a-a-a-a-a-a-a rest.

1,856. After every nauseating, soul-sucking victory at Yankee
Stadium, tens of thousands of tin-eared fans hang around and sing
the Frank Sinatra standard New York, New York over and over,
until you pray the ghost of Sinatra himself will appear on the
DiamondVision, screaming, "Stop!"

2,651. The Yankees' payroll this year was the largest in
baseball, by the GNP of Guam. If YANKEES WIN WORLD SERIES is
worth a headline, so is BULLDOZER DEFEATS TULIP.

2,651. According to The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, the
word yankee was originally a "term of contempt." Isn't that
great? The Yankees named themselves after an insult! It's like
calling a team the Atlanta Rednecks or the Los Angeles Cokeheads.
Iron that on your wife-beater.

3,199. In the spring after their 1996 championship the Yankees
charged fans to have their pictures taken with the World Series
trophy.

3,200. After they lost the 1976 World Series, the Yankees voted
their batboys $100 shares. Their opponents that year, the
Cincinnati Reds, gave theirs $6,591 each.

3,911. For decades Yankocentric Eastern seaboard media--like this
magazine--have overhyped Yankees players to exhaustion, so much so
that six of baseball's 30 All-Century team members were Yankees,
including righthander Roger Clemens, who currently is New York's
fourth starter and can't get a Bic lighter out. Do you realize
the Yankees have retired the jerseys of a .273 lifetime hitter
(Phil Rizzuto) and a .257 lifetime hitter (Billy Martin)? What,
no Bucky Dent (.247)?

3,989. Lovable Yankees coach Don Zimmer, who has had more hard
objects bounce off his skull than Gilligan, was on the bench for
the perfect games by Don Larsen (1956) and David Cone ('99) and
never got off in between.

4,008. Hating the Yankees is an American tradition that has been
honored throughout this century. Remember, nobody ever wrote a
play called Damn Diamondbacks!

COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA

Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Brad Pitt to get the
girl or for Bill Gates to hit Scratch 'n' Win.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)