If I took an informal survey of my friends, I'm sure most of them would say they want the Yankees to flame out in the American League Championship Series. They might say: "The Rangers have never been to the World Series. Wouldn't it be awesome to see Texas topple the Evil Empire? Shoot, knocking off the Yankees would be like winning the World Series, anyway. As long as Texas keeps the bad guys out of the Fall Classic, it doesn't matter who actually wins the big enchilada as long as it's not the Yankees."
My response: Isn't it a better story when the villain gets vanquished on the grand stage?
The three other remaining teams are chock-full of talented players. The Rangers have several tantalizing story lines that I'm sure Fox would love to exploit — its bankruptcy struggle, Josh Hamilton's road to redemption and the possibility of a Cliff Lee matchup against the Phillies. Philadelphia is looking for its second World Series title in three years. The Giants haven't won a World Series since 1954 — before they were in San Francisco. But at the end of the day, baseball fans and non-fans know the Yankees. They have gone to the World Series 40 times — and won 27 of them. And for most of those postseason runs, the Yankees have been abhorred by many. The names Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera have been synonymous with the World Series for the last decade. Yankee haters, don't you just want to wipe those smug "We've got enough rings to cover an entire hand" grins off their faces? And A-Rod? Who around here doesn't love to hate A-Rod for what he did to the Mariners?
As fun as it might be to root for your team, it can be more enjoyable to root against the enemy. What fun is it to have two perfectly nice teams playing for the title? Yes, another team wins, which is nice for a change, but you miss out on seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance when it really counts.
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If the Rangers win today, the enemy is gone. And then, suddenly, so is the thrill.