The New York Yankees lost their lovable edge quickly this offseason. After an underdog year, the team turned back into its old self with a blockbuster trade for Giancarlo Stanton. That was enough to eliminate any goodwill they earned in 2017. The Yankees became hatable again.
And that’s just fine with CC Sabathia. The 37-year-old appeared on MLB Network’s Hot Stove, and let everyone know that he’s actually excited people hate the Yankees.
Jack Baer of MLB.com has the relevant quote from Sabathia’s interview:
“Last year, we were the team that everybody loved, that feel-good story,” Sabathia said. “But getting Giancarlo just brings us back to being that hated team. That’s what we like. We want to go out there, put the best team on the field and crush everybody every game.”
There’s embracing the hatred and there’s really embracing the hatred. Sabathia definitely went with the latter there.
And we have to say, we like it. The Yankees are the most popular team in baseball. As a result, they are also the most hated team by fans who root for other clubs. That’s not really a secret, so why should the players feel they have to hide from it? We would posit that baseball is more fun when there’s good-natured beef.
What we’re saying here — and bear with us on this one — is that baseball can be a little more like wrestling. It’s OK for players and teams to embrace the role of the heel every so often.
That doesn’t mean we want Sabathia to break a chair over Rick Porcello’s back while he’s on the mound next season. Or watch Aaron Judge and Stanton twin choke slam someone through a table in the outfield. (OK, we actually do want to see that last one.)
We just don’t mind a little emotion and personality in the game from time to time.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik