Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: New York Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin is held back
- As a New York Yankees fan, I spent much of childhood going to games with my dad.
- Now with me living just north of Boston, the idea that a 43-19 Yankees team still could lose the division to the Red Sox is terrifying.
- By betting on the Red Sox to win the AL East, I can pay a fan tax in case the Yankees ultimately win the division.
I love the New York Yankees. For my family, the Yankees are more than just baseball; they represent generations of memories. My dad grew up in Brooklyn, and much to the chagrin of my Boston-born grandfather (a die-hard Boston Braves fan), he identified with the Yanks at a young age.
Luckily for me, I was born in New Jersey and grew up loving the Yankees with my old man. In fact, from 1988 to 1992 we had Sunday season tickets and spent many weekends traveling into the Bronx to take in games. While it’s hard to think about now, those Yankees were terrible.
With the exception of Don Mattingly, the team had very little talent and wasn’t all that competitive. But I still loved going to games and especially enjoyed getting in early for batting practice to try to score a home-run ball off Mattingly’s bat. Sadly, I never caught that or any other foul ball in all of my years at Yankee Stadium, although my cousin did snag one from Steve Sax, something that still ratchets up my jealousy level to this day.
One year my dad let me pick a game to go to as my birthday present. Naturally, I chose “Bat Day”, which included a promotional Mattingly baseball bat for everyone in attendance. Now as an adult, handing bats to a stadium full of drunken men seems like a bad idea, and it certainly was back then.
While filing back to our cars after the game, a couple of fans went from exchanging words to engaging in an all-out brawl with those promotional bats as their weapons. My dad and uncle pulled my cousin and me into a bar while we waited for the calamity outside to end.
Just as I mentioned above, memories …
Fast forward to 2011 when Sports Insights, previously located in Durham, N.C. and my employer of about a year and a half at the time, decided to move to Beverly, Mass., just north of Boston. Let me tell you, there is nothing more fun (or miserable) than being a Yankees fan in Red Sox country.
As a father myself, I’ve done my best to pass on the family love for the Yankees to my two-year-old son in enemy territory, and I’ve never been prouder than when I heard my son’s daycare teacher say that he was entertaining the other kids by chanting, “Let’s go Yankees (clap, clap … clap, clap, clap!)”
So where does betting come into all of this? With the Yankees and Red Sox owning the best two records in baseball, one of these teams will likely be playing in a wild-card game this postseason. That’s a scary prospect considering the Yanks are an insane 43-19 at the time of publication.
So what is a sports bettor and Yankees fan to do? Fan-tax it!
If you’re not familiar with fan-taxing, here’s a quick definition: The process of hedging one’s fandom by betting on your favorite team’s opponent — in this case their bitter rival.
So if your team loses, you win a bet. If your team wins, you pay a tax in the name of the losing wager. Sportsbooks are currently offering the Red Sox at +145 to win the AL East. If the Yankees end up winning the division, I’ll have bragging rights which, as a Yankees fan in New England, are priceless. On the other hand, should Boston win the division, I’ll have a +145 payout to help ease the sting.
If the Red Sox do ultimately win the AL East, maybe I’ll have enough to go ahead and buy that Mattingly baseball that has eluded me for all these years.