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Self Parody Alert: The New York Post declares Lance Berkman "A True Yankee"

Oct 8, 2010, 3:05 PM EDT

Deep thought: are there any "True Royals?" How about "True White Sox." What are the rules here?

This morning I mocked Joel Sherman of the New York Post and others who talked up all of that “Berkman will never be able to hack it in New York” junk at the time of the trade. A close relative of that specious line of thinking is the little game in which New York columnists and radio people decide who is and who isn’t “a True Yankee.”

It was a meme that sprung up around the time the Yankees traded for A-Rod. He was better than Derek Jeter, you see, and the tabloid guys just love, love, love Derek Jeter, so they had to find a way to elevate Jeter and diminish Rodriguez. The “true Yankee” thing was great for that. It was so malleable! It could be about leadership. It could be about championships. It could be about character. Whenever there was a need to distinguish between heroes and villains on the Yankee roster, the designation of “true Yankee” did the trick.

I thought that all went away last year, but I guess not, because Sherman and the Post trotted it out again today for Lance Berkman. The headline: “Crucial hits make Berkman true member of Yankees.” Sherman:

Lance Berkman resided
in an interesting place as he came to bat in the fifth inning last
night. Technically, he was a Yankee. He had the uniform, drew a paycheck
signed by a Steinbrenner, enjoyed the company of a clubhouse saturated
with All-Stars. But even Berkman admitted he wasn’t really a Yankee.

I think that’s stretching it, by the way. He acknowledged that he wasn’t all that helpful down the stretch and that his teammates were the ones carrying the team to the playoffs. He said that he didn’t feel “part of the team” due to his lack of contributions. That’s reasonable. But that’s a different thing altogether, I’d argue, than admitting that he was not “a True Yankee” as that loaded phrase has come to be used. That there was some performance threshold that must be exceeded — in terms of numbers, clutchness, character and dramatics — before one can be a True Yankee

Thankfully, however, none of that matters now:

spending the majority of his career as a play-against-everyone No. 3
hitter and first baseman for the Astros, Berkman has been relegated to a
platoon, eighth-place-batting DH — an accidental tourist on the world’s
most famous traveling team. Yet, he considers this heavenly
nevertheless . . . . the
homer and double last night were particularly sweet. They allowed him
to step inside the velvet rope and really join the Yankees.

While I’m tempted to ask whether Sherman realizes just how much of a self-parody this kind of thing has become, I won’t. Rather, I’ll congratulate him for finding a new use of the concept of “True Yankee.”

Rather than merely be deployed to keep someone out of the club, now it’s far more versatile: it’s a means of covering the writer’s butt when his original take on a guy (Player X can’t hack it in New York) proves inoperative and a new, slightly less-ridiculous take must be deployed.

  1. BC - Oct 8, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    George Brett is a true Royal, I’d figure…

  2. Joe - Oct 8, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Can the Twins please please please come back and knock these a-holes out of the playoffs so we don’t have to put up with this garbage any longer than is absolutely necessary?

  3. CG - Oct 8, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    You want the Twins to knock the NY Post and Joel Sherman out of the playoffs?

  4. Matthew Flint - Oct 8, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    It may be better seeing them get knocked out of a bigger stage

  5. pancake - Oct 8, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    He is not true scotsman.

  6. jaypeso - Oct 8, 2010 at 4:05 PM


  7. MK - Oct 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    If the Yankees piss you off so much, why even read this post? Just to vent? What?

  8. Al - Oct 8, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    I think the past 2 seasons have really cemented Grady Sizemore’s place as a True Indian.

  9. Giant Space Ants - Oct 8, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    I know Lincecum was great yesterday, but only Paul Bunyan is a true Giant.

  10. Route36West - Oct 8, 2010 at 10:54 PM


  11. Old Gator - Oct 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    How long do you have to work for Rupert Murdoch before you become a true asshole? Fifteen minutes? I guess Sherman has won his leather wings.

  12. Klingon - Oct 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    why doo all these so called journalists remind me of middle school girls positioning themselves to other cliques for acceptance?

  13. RoyceKilday - Oct 11, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Sounds like a little bit of psycho-babble to me, but I can attest that Lance Berkman is one of the finest men and best players (hitter and 1st basemen) we have had…from his career with Rice University, signing with the Astros, team players and career in Houston. The reverred Yankees (and for good reason) will like Berkman more and more as as long as he is there. Personally, I would love to have him come back to Houston if New York doesn’t happen for him again.
    I predicted that Berkman and Oswalt would help the Yankees and Phillies moving into and in post season, and so far so good. I enjoy Bleachers! Keep ’em coming!

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