If you watched Saturday's Tigers-Yankees playoff game, you know that Derek Jeter suffered a season-ending ankle injury. In a post-game interview after the Yankees staged an improbable comeback in the ninth inning, only to fall short in extra innings, one of the Tiger stars of the game talked about how he wished Jeter well and how many of the Tigers and other major leaguers look up to Jeter as a mentor. That was a very admirable and sportsmanlike thing to say. In yesterday's game, a call at second base went against the Yankees and may have impacted the end result, as a one-run Tigers lead became three runs. In post-game comments, one of the Tigers acknowledged that the umpire's call should not have gone the Tigers' way. Again, I think this is a sportsmanlike thing to say - essentially, that your team was lucky. One other moment that deserves mention was when the struggling Alex Rodriguez was pinch-hit for against the Orioles, there he was on the top step of the dugout leading the cheers for Raul Ibanez when he hit his home runs. Whether A-Rod is overpaid or not, that was a classy thing to do.
Those of us who are fans of the Yankees sometimes forget that it is not automatic that we will win the World Series every year. (maybe "we" should be "they" - I have never set foot in the batter's box in the Bronx). Every year is a new battle for the championship. Even Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio had to earn the rings. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, it is good to acknowledge that the Orioles played a wonderful series against the Yankees and that the Tigers deserve to be up two games to none based on how well they have played thus far.
Maybe if kids see sports stars behaving in a dignified way, that will carry over as the kids become adults. Maybe courtesy will become contagious. One can only hope. So "let's root, root, root for the home team - if they don't win it's a shame" - but that's as far as it should go. It's not the end of the world if the Yankees or your favorite team comes up short.