Last season was an abnormality for the Yankees. Nothing was different about a deep postseason run, of course, but the way they were received was unfamiliar: they were beloved.
Led by young stars Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino, as well as likable vets like Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner, the Yankees weren't expected to compete for a title but fell one game away from the World Series. They had the support of more neutrals than normal during for the ride.
But this offseason they returned to a familiar atmosphere when the team traded for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. All of a sudden the Yankees were the Evil Empire yet again, and CC Sabathia wouldn't have it any other way.
"Last year we were the team that everybody loved, that feel-good story," Sabathia said on MLB Network's Hot Stove. "But getting Giancarlo just brings us back to being that hated team. That's what we like. We want to go out there, put the best team on the field and crush everybody every game."
It looks set to only get worse, too. The Yankees have long planned to stay under the luxury tax for 2018 to reset their tax penalties ahead of next seasons free agent class, headlined by Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.