Today's Yankee haters base their hatred on the premise that Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman "buy" their team. Baseball is a business, and that is more apparent in today's world of free agency than it has ever been. So why do the Yankees catch so much flack for doing what should be done in any competitive business environment? They're not doing anything wrong, but it falls much into the same category as the Microsoft monopoly case. If Microsoft eats up everything that's out there, there is no business. Likewise, if the Yankees snatch up every star free agent that's out there, there will be no competition left in baseball. Albeit a scary thought, that is far from happening. The last time I checked, there could only be 25 players maximum on a team (40 at September callups, but most of those are Minor Leaguers). So, the Yankees' wealth advantage is not as heavy a weight on baseball's competition as it's made out to be. Besides, the Yankees aren't the only team who spend excess money on star players. The Red Sox are next in line for that crown, as they have the second highest payroll in baseball.
People love to root for an underdog, which is why hating the Yankees is almost second nature to anyone outside of New York. The Yankees are rarely ever second fiddle because they're always in contention. This is heavily credited to their large revenue that comes from being located in the media capital of the world, New York. Consequently, this drives up their merchandising and advertising profits exponentially when compared to if the Yankees were located in, say, Kansas City. Notice how all of the big name teams are in big name cities with a large population? Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, just to name a few. The Yankees and Mets had the first and fourth largest payrolls in 2004, respecitively. Bringing in these stars drives up those profits even more, just look at all of the Mets jerseys with 'Beltran' on the back, and he hasn't even played an official game for his new ballclub yet. Of course it's smart business to go out and get as many big name players as you can. It's like the cliche goes, you get what you give. If your GM decides to pocket a large percentage of the revenue, you're not going to have a Randy Johnson or a Carlos Beltran on your team. And as a result, ticket, merchandising, and advertising sales will decrease along with the fanbase. No one wants to buy a Mike Sweeney Royals jersey. No one wants to advertise by the waterfall in Kauffman Stadium. No one wants to spend $30 to go to a Royals game, forcing the front office to lower the prices in the $20 range. To criticize the Yankees for buying their players is not only hypocritical (your team has probably done it at one point or another, unless you're a fairly new expansion team like the Devil Rays), but it's like saying that they have done bad by seizing the opportunities presented to them.
For those that claim that the Red Sox took the lead in the Red Sox / Yankees rivalry with their comeback from a 3-0 defecit in the ALCS, you are correct. Baseball is a 'what have you done for me lately?' sport, so bringing up the 26 championships the Yankees have accumulated is a moot point. A good example is the Phillies / Marlins rivalry. From 2003 to early 2004, the Marlins clearly had the Phillies' number. Should the Phillies go out and beat the Marlins in the regular season matchups like the Red Sox also did to the Yankees last year, the Phillies regain the lead in the rivalry. Now, to those of you who claim that the Red Sox "lucked" their way to a World series championship, I hardly consider winning your last 8 games of the playoffs a fluke, even when you were one game away from elimination. It's a feat that no other team has done before, so there had to have been some hard work and dedication involved, along with keeping a positive mental attitude. I think people underestimated the 2004 Red Sox, especially when Curt Schilling bravely said, "There's nothing more satisfying than making 100,000 New Yorkers shut up." Those kinds of comments are what spark those comebacks. They keep the fuel burning longer and give the players an extra goal to shoot for. With that said, Schilling did lose Game 2, ensuing his comments about making New Yorkers shut up, but boldy won Game 6 with his injured ankle, bloody sock and all. Just keep that in mind, Yankees fans: you got beat by someone with essentially 1 foot.
I am by no means a Red Sox fan, so I am maintaining an unbiased standpoint of the rivalry.