Yankees Counterpoint: Reason Strikes Back 

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Things got a little weird at the Proven System offices last week, as they will in the heat of summer. A few internal memos were misplaced, some wires were crossed, and at least one key staffer was found unconscious on a park bench in Staten Island, wearing only a mall-purchased tee shirt with the inscription “Bye Hater!” emblazoned across the front.

It was obviously a strange situation — one which left us with our guard down — with the ultimate result that the System was briefly infiltrated by a dissident Yankee sympathizer, anxious to spread his particularly persuasive brand of propaganda. This development was followed by a rigorous “scrubbing” or debugging of the entire campus, which was closed to all but those possessing the highest possible clearance levels. Even those personnel were thoroughly frisked and interrogated. The situation is now under control, and as a corrective, equal-time oriented measure, we now provide the expert Yankees commentary of the brilliant Phil Sheridan, the long-time, highly distinguished sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the interest of total fairness — always a benchmark for the Proven System ethic — I will ask him to respond to the exact same questions so adroitly massaged by Comrade Nelson last week.

Proven System: Are the Yankees, as some have suggested, emblematic of all that is sinister, bloated and excessive in American life? How do we grade the achievements of a team with their payroll and resources, against those of say, the Twins or Angels?

Phil Sheridan: I recently started a column thus: "The New York Yankees are everything that's wrong with America." (Or close to that). So you can guess where I come down on the first issue. I was writing in response to the enormous, market-busting contracts for Sabathia and Teixeira. I received a lot of unpleasant correspondence from fans of the Yankees. The more coherent of them argued that the Yankees had cleared a lot of salary from their payroll and weren't adding that much in total, and/or that the Yankees had an obligation to use all their considerable resources to try to win. Both of these arguments have merits but were beside the point I was trying to make.

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