And — miracle! I almost find it hard to type these words — I found myself rooting for the Yankees against the Philadelphia Phils in this fall’s World Series.
As I look back, there were three reasons I can figure out for my evolving change of heart toward the Yankees:
First, they hadn’t won the Series for eight straight seasons — from 2001 to 2008 — and had lots of turmoil and chaos. Reminded me of the Democratic Party before Bill Clinton.
Second, the Phils had won the year before, and they were described as the “favorites” by a lot of sportswriters. Right there — that took away the Republican “feel” that I had for the Yankees; could it be that it was the Phils who now were the favorites, the real Republicans in this Series?
Finally, there were the players. I really learned to like the players and to read about them. The great Derek Jeter, “Godzilla” Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Jorge Posada, and, most of all — there was the great Alex Rodriguez — A-Rod — who overcame a difficult personal crisis in the beginning of the 2009 season, when he admitted to having used steroids (rather than lying or maintaining silence like you-know-who).
Defying his critics and doomsayers, A-Rod more than vindicated himself as one of the great hitters in the history of baseball — with a postseason batting average of .365, six home runs, 18 RBI, 15 runs scored, and a .500 on-base percentage.
Had A-Rod become my new Willie Mays? Not a chance — no one would ever replace the Say Hey Kid in my heart. But still, I liked A-Rod.
So I am still not a loyal Yankees fan. I root, of course, for my home team — the Washington Nationals. But, its nice not to hate anymore, whether in politics or in sports. Its much nicer to like. And I like the Yankees — at least for now.
Ok, Josh- - you won. Sorry, Dad. You understand the power of a father’s love for a son better than anyone I know.
• Lanny J. Davis, a Washington lawyer and former special counsel to President Clinton, served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is the author of “Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics is Destroying America.” This piece is also published at http://pundits.thehill.com/