Disliking the Yankees is as much a part of Baltimore as steamed crabs and canned Boh's.

Our blood simmers at the sight of their interlocking N and Y. Our ears ring with the sound of their loud, loathsome fans. Our memories of a once-great rivalry are clouded with recent indignities – Mike Mussina wearing New York gray, Jeffrey Maeir hanging over the Yankee Stadium wall.


And every time we scream 'O' during the national anthem, we're also saying "Oh, what I wouldn't give to see the Yankees fall flat on their pinstriped behinds for a change."

We despise them.

When it comes to baseball, New York is the most evil of empires, the giant in the room, the schoolyard bully. By virtue of determination or deep pockets, the Yankees have their way. Seems they always get their man, and the Orioles always get … Marty Cordova.

But with the Yankees in town for a three-game series beginning tonight, I got to thinking – who's the most likeable (or shall I say least unlikeable?) Yankee of them all?

Fantasy sports sometimes forces us to set aside our beefs, our biases and root root root for the visiting team. Sounds like sacrilege, I know, but it happens.

I'll be the first to step to the plate on this one and admit that I, as a result of fantasy baseball, do pull for Derek Jeter. I'm not saying I feel good about it – I'm just saying it happens.

So who's it going to be? If you had to have one Yankee one your fantasy team, who would you take? Not necessarily the best player – because honestly, what self-respecting O's fan could cheer for Alex Rodriguez? – but the most tolerable. Jason Giambi? Jorge Posada? Robinson Cano? I'm curious.

Speaking of the Yankees, this is a beat-up bunch that arrived at Camden Yards today. Jeter is nursing a hand injury, Johnny Damon has a sore right foot and Mariano Rivera is battling a bad back. New York has lost one corner outfielder, Hideki Matsui, to a wrist injury and is in danger of losing another. Gary Sheffield was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a torn ligament and dislocated tendon in his left wrist and is expected to be out for a while. He might be back by the All-Star break; he could miss the rest of the season. Even Bubba Crosby is ailing.

As a result, Orioles fans can look forward to seeing a depleted New York lineup featuring the likes of Melky Cabrera and Terrence Long. They can also anticipate a stadium half-full of loud, loathsome fans, which is pretty much par for the course when the Yankees come to town.

The best defense? Scream 'O' and scream it loud.