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America's Team?
by Michael Aubrecht

First, let me begin by warning you that this is not one of my usual articles. It's not the in-depth study of an under-appreciated team or a long-winded tribute to a forgotten player. It's simply another one-sided editorial that is always guaranteed to spark some heated debates and meaningless controversy. (Actually, it's not even meant to be taken seriously, but some of you may not be familiar with the term "satire" and will still respond accordingly.) In fact, as I sit here at my keyboard, I am already deleting gigs of Pamela Anderson screen shots while making space on my hard drive for the countless emails that I will probably receive as a result. As a writer, I am always willing to take chances and I even believe in the old cliché that the pen is mightier than the sword. In my opinion, if Maximus would have had a #2 pencil and a good thesaurus, he might have lived through the end of Gladiator. So with that in mind, my latest rambling has to do with the term "America's Team".

I've been wondering what makes a sports franchise worthy of the title "America's Team"? In the 1970's, many football fans considered the Dallas Cowboys to be "America's Team". Over the years, some have felt that the champions at the end of a season, who go the distance and win the title (in any given sport), should be christened as "America's Team". Others consider our Olympic Athletes, who compete against the world, to be the only ones worthy of this patriotic title. To me, "America's Team" should be more than just a representative of the United States competing on a playing field. It should share in our country's storied history and be woven into the fabric of our American culture. In my opinion, only a baseball team should be eligible for this title, as baseball was the first professional sport recognized in America and is still considered our national pastime. No other sport shares the richness of American history, traditions and folklore that baseball does. It remains an intricate part of our country's foundation and has always been an important part of our healing process during times of war, economic depression and most recently, terrorism.

I believe that "America's Team" should come from a special place, a city where people come from all over the world to experience the American way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They should be a competitive franchise with legendary players, championship titles and a logo that is recognized around the world as an American icon for winning. Finally, it should be a team that stays true to its roots, its city, and its fans. That's "America's Team".

It sounds like a rhetorical question, right? Who is this great American team, from a great American city, that symbolizes our great American way? If they insist on labeling a sports franchise as "America's Team", then they need to get it right. It's such an easy answer... There is a team that represents all of the above, has a patriotic name, a red, white and blue logo and even shares its home with the Statue of Liberty. I agree that "America's Team" is a ridiculous title but it's almost too perfect of a fit for the only franchise that I believe is worthy of this honor: The New York Yankees.

- pauses for reactions from the crowd. Yankees fans on their feet applauding, everyone else throwing empty beer bottles (except Boston fans who are still trying to get the screw tops off.) -

Before you object, let's examine some "common sense" qualifications met by "America's Team": (I know these are obvious, but humor me as I have to get this across to the Red Sox fans...)

1. Baseball is America's national pastime and nobody has been historically better at baseball than the Yankees. (Nobody has been historically better with the American dollar either.)

2. Babe Ruth, recognized as the most famous American athlete ever, wore the blue pinstripes. (He wore another uniform before that, what was that team... the uh? Sorry can't remember.)

3. The slang term for "Patriot" is "Yankee". Both had a lot to do with America. (Only one was a mediocre movie made by Mel Gibson.)

4. You go anywhere in the world wearing a dark blue cap with "NY" on it and people immediately know you're an American. (Travel hint: Leave your ball caps at home if you're ever traveling in the Middle East.)

5. The Yankees have won 26 championships. The only professional sports team to come close is the Montreal Canadians with 24. (and like I said, they're Canadians.)

6. Our Nation's capital, Washington DC has many monuments and parks, Yankee Stadium has one, Monument Park, (and it's a lot cleaner.)

7. Yankee great Yogi Berra is responsible for more memorable quotes than any president in the history of the United States. ("90% of the game is half mental".)

8. "America's Team" has 12 letters in it, so does "New York Yanks". (OK, I know it's a stretch but I'm not even going near the Yankees, JFK and Abraham Lincoln numerical coincidences.)

Now that I have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, the term "America's Team", however inappropriate, must be given to only one franchise - The New York Yankees, we can move on to more important issues like rooting for the Montreal Expos and getting Lite beer out of the ballparks.

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All essays researched and written by Michael Aubrecht.
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