this season the Yankees are rerunning their blatant lie from last year: a house ad claiming they “have won the most championships of any team in the history of sports.”
Alleging Yankee baseball supremacy is one thing, but when a team’s marketing department starts dropping lines like “in the history of sports” in its commercials, the numbers and facts had better back up the bravado. And by numbers and facts, I don’t mean Bill James idolatry or his D&D nine-sided-die subterfuge that passes for “statistics” and performance equations favored by nerdy American League general managers.
The numbers and facts are cozily ensconced in the massive Real Madrid trophy room. At last count, Real Madrid had won 29 Spanish League titles, 17 Spanish Cup titles, nine European championships and two UEFA Cup championships. They also have 18 regional championships, one UEFA Super Cup title, one League Cup title and seven Spanish Super Cup wins. That gives Real Madrid 87 total championships, not exactly tapas portions when it comes to victory-feast catering.
Celtic, meanwhile, has 39 Premier League championships, 32 Scottish Cup wins, and they’ve hoisted the Scottish League Cup 12 times. That gives them 83 championships total, a solid second behind the “Galacticos” of Real Madrid.
Add up all of the Yankees’ hardware, including 13 postmodern modern-era American League East championships, and the Bronx Braggers have a total of 78 titles, which is good enough for third “in the history of sports.”
Much as I hate to defend the Yanks, some of the titles Vrusho cites aren’t that big a deal. Given the relative competition faced, I’d say winning an AL East title in most years is a bigger accomplishment than winning the Scottish League Cup or the Spanish Super Cup, the latter being a two-leg pre-season tourney featuring a field of two clubs. Likewise, the UEFA Supercup was a little regarded battle between the Champions League winner versus the victors of the since discontinued Cup Winner’s Cup.