Many books try to link a premise with a larger theme. If you try hard enough, you can find connections between any items. But Chris Donnelly does a better-than-most job of convincing readers How the Yankees Explain New York.
Let’s be honest: a lot of people outside the Big Apple think its residents have a superiority complex. New York is bigger, better, and badder than anywhere else in the U.S. of A., if not the world. It’s understandable that Bostonians or Chicagoans or Oreganos (I believe that’s what they called people from Oregon) dislike New Yorkers, especially its sports franchises, and revel when the Yankees (or Jets or Knicks) don’t do well.
While he’s not offering alibis, Donnelly is a good educator when it comes to comparing a couple of famous “bosses”: William Tweed and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (originally from Ohio). There are also chapters that show how the city reflects the city during different decades, such as the fiscally-challenged 1970s and the Wall Street/”me-generation” 1980s, when Steinbrenner opened his wallet to sign high-priced free agents in an effort to buy a championship, a philosophy which many outside the metropolitan area view to this day as typical New York hubris.
Other sections of the book are similarly educational and entertaining. Here’s our conversation.