The iconic moment for the Seattle Mariners is The Double in 1995. Mariners fans love it because it got them into the MLB playoffs, and perhaps because it saved major league baseball for Seattle. But it is perhaps even more beloved because it came against the Evil Yankees. You’ve seen Yankee fans wear shirts with the list of World Series wins. You’ve heard Yankees fans tell everyone else they are Losers. Talk to a Yankees fan, and your eyes will soon roll to the back of your head. You’ve heard it all, ever since you were in fourth grade, listening to the Yankees win yet another "World Series" on an earphone wired to your transistor radio. Why are the Yankees America’s Most Hated Team? Because their fans are insufferable.
But all the Yankees can ever win is a mis-named "World" Series, which in truth is at best, the US/Canada Series; hardly the world. They’ve been in about a third of the Northern North America Series, and won about a quarter of them. Sure, all this gives them bragging rights. And brag they do. Right now they are the best team in baseball by far, winning over three-quarters of their games. (The next best record is barely two-thirds wins.) Just listen to a Yankees fan. Gracious they are NOT!
Sounders, on the other hand, are genuine continental champions, headed for a genuine WORLD competition. We, as Sounders fans, can be better than Yankee fans. Look at the example of how (at least in my experience, and from reports I’ve seen) the Pumas fans were respected at the CCL Final. A couple of them sat near us in CL232. They exchanged smiles with Sounders fans, and cheered when "their" team did well and most of the rest of the stadium fell silent. Sounders fans were, from what I could see, respectful, even while our team was clearly besting them on the field. In the northeast corner of Lumen the Pumas crowd displayed a couple of nice tifos. Granted, many of them are probably Seattle-area Hispanics, who have Sounders gear hanging in the closet next to their Pumas jersey. Sure, many Pumas fans left the stadium before the trophy presentation, but some Sounders fans did as well. I’m glad they were there, and I respect the support they gave their team.
The "No one likes us…we don’t care!" and "…we don’t hear a f’ing thing" chants do not reflect my sentiments, and are not representative of the kind of Sounders fan I want to be. I enjoy having opposing fans in the stadium. It makes for a more "genuine" experience. Sure, we’ll gloat a bit when we raise the CCL banner at the Timbers match. But let’s be gracious. Portland was in the MLS Cup Final last year, Sounders didn’t even make it into the conference semi-finals to play for the opportunity face them in the conference final. The line between victory and disappointment in soccer is razor thin. It is one of the things that makes the sport so exhilarating for players and fans alike. A goal in soccer is so much more exciting than a home run in baseball. But there is no reason for this to inspire hate between fans. We can respect our foes, whether we beat them or they subdue us.
Let us never get to the point where Seattle Police need to dress up in opponents’ apparel as they did a few years back at Seahawks games to ward off Seattle fans’ harassment. Let the Sounders’ records, both in CCL and throughout its short history in MLS, speak for the team. We need not rub it in. Our opponents know that Sounders are the Best. But let’s not join the Yankees and become the most hated team in MLS. YES! Sounders ARE better than Yankees. It is enough to be the Best. Be gracious champions.