Do you see this picture of Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra together? I absolutely love it! It is one of my favorites of all time. Both legends, loving each other. Respecting each other and the game. The young and the old. There is a ton of photos of these two together that might take your breath away, but this one... it's perfection.
I grew up a Yankees fan. Before I even understood the game, I knew I was a Yankees fan. I knew because my grandfather told me I was. I knew because I grew up on stories of Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth. Instead of Nursery Rhymes, I got tales of Murderer's Row, the M&M Boys, and the Bronx Zoo. And then, something incredible happen. The Core Four. Now look, I understand that I'm aging myself. Yes, I'm young in comparison to some fans and readers. Jorge made his MLB debut on my 11th birthday. Do the math! I started to really understand baseball right around the time the Yankees won their 1996 Championship. It was then that I started to appreciate the history. It was then that I was grateful for the stories my grandfather told.
I wrote about Bernie Williams and his place in the legacy. I wrote WHAT'S IN A NAME? to give Bernie the respect he deserves, not as a member of the Core Four, but as an entity all his own; an incredible player, and human being. I got two very different responses on the piece.
On the Bleeding Yankee Blue Facebook group page, a reader implied that I was a spoiled fan, with unrealistic expectations for the team, and insinuated that I was a fair weather fan that would bail without "Derek Jeter and Co." This reader is older than I am, and I am going to assume that is the reason he feels he can define my fandom. I'm sorry, but no. Nope! Not even slightly correct. I'm actually really insulted that anyone would attempt to belittle and demean my knowledge and fandom because I have not been alive long enough to remember 1963. And honestly, I'm not even sure why this fan thinks my expectations of the team are unrealistic. But I'll get back to this in a moment.
Another fan, Mike Darwin wrote:
"Exactly! As my favorite player, I long felt Core Four was a bit of a slight; after all, he was a home grown as well, a just miss hall of fame, and (I would argue) the most feared bat in the dynasty line up. But as The Four started to retire, and I saw the relationships between them, I came to understand that I was mistaken to see this from a fan's perspective. The Core Four is about the men themselves, and how they see each other. All four came up through the system and, to some degree, debuted the same year, 1995. By that point Bernie was an established vet."
Mike... he gets it! I appreciate that. Look, writing that Bernie piece was hard. I wanted to get my thoughts about the whole thing out without insulting anyone who is passionate about "Fab Five" versus "Core Four." I thought I did well. I even got respect from the biggest Bernie fan I know for it, and that was enough for me. And then I read the comment on Facebook and was completely confused.
Normally, I don't let fan comments bother me. I take them in stride. Mostly because my gig around here is usually covering Alex Rodriguez, and let's be honest, some people can get down right nasty. Then there are those that question my knowledge because I am a female writer. All things I am used to. But never have I had anyone question me because of my age. I'm sorry, and with all due respect to the older crowd, but age does not equate a better knowledge or understanding of the game. To hold on to that belief is simply doing yourself a disservice.
Is my opinion that Bernie was in fact not part of the Core Four an insult? Does it mean that I have unrealistic expectations for my team that I think that Bernie was a strong enough player on his own to not need to be part of the Core Four? I'm not even sure what expectations the fan thinks I have. I'm not running out screaming bloody murder that we aren't winning every single game, and bringing home a championship every year. In case no one else has been paying attention, the Dynasty ended in 2000. That was 15 years ago, and we've had a whopping 1 Championship win since then. I know a little something about droughts. So there is no way that I could be considered spoiled.
Look, do not try to tell me about my fandom. Do not assume because I am younger that you know anything about my knowledge and understanding of the game. And by no means should you ever suggest that my age makes me a bandwagon fan. I did not start watching baseball because of the Core Four and the dynasty. I started watching baseball because it was part of my upbringing. I just had the good fortune of growing up and witnessing the Dynasty era. And that goes for all 90's kids. Stop assuming because we got lucky and had childhood heroes like Bernie, Jeter, Jorge, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte, that we're going to jump ship or that we lack basic understanding of the game. Hell, my 8 yr old could probably teach most adults a thing or 30 about baseball, and Yankees history. And that wasn't taught to him by someone who has been a fan since 1963. It was taught to him by someone who grew up in the Dynasty Era and was taught about baseball by a man that was born in 1926. Age, after all, is nothing but a number. Love of the game, comes from the heart. And at this point, both of our childhood heroes are playing in Old Timers Day games.
--Erica Morales BYB Senior WriterYou've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook! Also, don't forget to check out the BYB Hub!