Yes, I’ll Take 2 Tickets to the Baseball Game with a Side of Class, Please

You may have seen, I’m sure you have, that I like the New York Yankees. Well, no, I tell a lie. I LOVE the New York Yankees. They’re my guys. I go a little crazy about them.

How crazy? In October of 2007 when the Yankees got knocked out of the American League Division Series, I screamed a blue-streak of expletives, flung my arm across the coffee table (knocking everything to the floor) and then, because I wasn’t satisfied, picked up a metal footstool and hurled it across the room. It slammed into a wall, ricocheted off, bounced into my dining room, and collided with the front of my brand new cherry wood armoire, denting it badly. When I came in to survey the damage, crying as I was, my mother (who had witnessed this entire scene) padded up behind me and said, “I’d like a smoothie.” I’m NOT joking, but if you’ve read my posts, you know all about my German mother. My husband and children, seeing how the game was shaping up, left earlier. Not just the house, no. They got in the car and drove off. Perhaps they felt they’d be safer down at the beach. Smart.

Later that year, during the World Series, when Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, released a statement saying A-Rod wasn’t going to re-sign with the Yankees, I burst into tears, ran to my bedroom, and slammed the door. I take this stuff seriously. Women Yankee fans do. (If you’ve not read the book, “Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees” by the hilarious Jane Heller (@janeheller1 on Twitter), you must! I’m thinking of taping my husband to a chair and making him read it, so he sees it isn’t just me!)

So, yes, there are loads of Yankee fans around the world, and plenty of haters. Plenty. I noticed this last year when I stepped into Angel Stadium sporting my Yankee gear. Yes, that’s right, I wear my Yankee colors in opposing ballparks. Loads of people do, and for the most part, there isn’t a problem. On this particular occasion, however, I dealt with some serious pent-up hostility on the part of the Angel fans. WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM?

I will interrupt to give back story – it was October and the American League Championship Series. I convinced my husband to attend with me, although he has no particular interest in the Angels, and seems to hold a deep-seated grudge against the Yankees. It may have something to do with my A-Rod (or “A-God” as I like to call him) obsession. The husband gets annoyed when I say things like, “Oh my God, look at him run!” or “Eeee! He can hit! Good boy!” Or the particularly heinous one, “Look how pretty he is in his pinstripes!” (For those interested, the husband lasted 5 innings at this, his first, and no doubt last, Yankees game before saying, “Can you keep that to yourself? It’s kind of making me nauseous.”)

So, we take our seats at Angel Stadium, where at least one-third of the crowd was dressed in NY gear. Right off the bat, the woman immediately behind me begins hemming and hawing at my Yankee ball cap. It wasn’t blocking her view, she was above me. It just troubled her greatly that she needed to see blue. My arrival didn’t go unnoticed by the two younger women in front of me, either. Throughout the game these people went out of their way to boo, hiss, and throw derogatory comments at my players. The vitriol reserved for Mark Texeira, in particular, was remarkable, considering how little time he actually played for their team. Funny stuff.

As the game wore on, the behavior worsened. My favorite comment was when Yankee Captain Derek Jeter (multi-Gold Glove winner and MVP) came up. The woman behind me, who, quite frankly, looked like an angry kiwi fruit, bellowed, “Jeter, you suck!”

I turned around, looked directly in her beady eyes, and laughed. I actually laughed in her face. There are a lot of things you can say about my Bronx Bombers and their “Evil Empire”, but saying Derek Jeter “sucks” isn’t one of them.

By the time the Angels brought forth their Rally Monkey (if you don’t know what this is, look it up), I’d had more than enough of these people and their belittling comments. It was a classless display by women baseball fans. I know it’s sexist of me to say I was surprised it was women who were acting this way, but I was! The lady in front of me had apparently decided that every time her players so much as sneezed, flicked a booger, or scratched their ass, she should stand up, turn to face me, and begin the dreadful dance move “Stirring the Pot.” I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone eyeball you while “Stirring the Pot” but it’s a funny, and some might say, bile-raising experience. Even the husband had to laugh at that one. By the 7th inning, however, it was getting old and each time she stood, I wanted to grab her stuffed Rally Monkey and rip its head off.

My husband, in the meantime, was beside me making mewling sounds, which amounted to: “Don’t say anything.” “Maybe you shouldn’t clap?” “Don’t stand!” “Don’t yell!” and “Maybe you should take your cap off?” It was like sitting next to a frightened hare on an open field below a sky full of buzzards.

In addition to dance moves, and hostile shouting, I mustn’t forget to mention the giant red inflatable sausages (these, I’m told, are called “Thunder Sticks”) that the whole stadium flailed around to rouse their team. My laughter at their waving must have really crossed a line, because Ms. Class behind me said, “I’d like to shove my Thunder Sticks up her ass!”

Stay classy, Anaheim.

When Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, came on the mound for us in the 9th, she bellowed like a moose giving birth to an Amtrak engine, “Rivera, you’re a talentless hack!”

What the what?

I know there are classless fans everywhere. It’s not just Anaheim. But not having seen any hostility directed towards visiting fans sitting near us at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, I can only express surprise, and dismay.

Well we know how that ALCS ended. Yankees won, advanced to the World Series, and won their 27th Championship.

Flash forward to this year. A friend and I make the drive to watch our Yankees play. We are both wearing T-shirts. Yes, mine screams “13” and “RODRIGUEZ” on the back. We didn’t find hostility. We found two darling men. One, named Rich, who grew up on Long Island and was a Yankee fan, and his friend, David, who was an Angel fan. David, I am certain, will remember me for the rest of his life. That isn’t big-headed of me, and I don’t feel I charmed the pants off him. You see, David’s affable how-do-you-do? smile faded when the game started and my squealing began. Soon he wore the same nauseated expression my husband wore. Only this time A-Rod didn’t even play. He was the Designated Hitter, which meant he sat on the steps of the dugout when he wasn’t hitting. My camera was trained on him throughout the whole game. I zoomed and squealed and squealed and zoomed as he ate sunflower seeds. Really. I have at least 10 minutes of video footage showing him chewing. My comments, I’m told, ran from “Look! He can eat!” to “Look, he can spit!” to “Look at him run!”.

Angel fan David, somewhere in the third inning, had enough. He stood, announced to us that he was going to get a beer, and then offered me one. I’m certain it was a ploy to quiet my squealing.

My point is, the women Angel fans were hostile, the men better behaved. In fact, as David was leaving, I shouted, “David, you get a gold star!” but I don’t think he heard me. I’d blown out his eardrums in the 5th inning when A-Rod took his cap off and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Look! He sweats!”

Yes, that was a great day, all in all. We met the lovely Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, who, I’m fairly certain, will never want to be within one square mile of me again; had our picture taken with Yankees RH pitcher, Joba Chamberlain (@Joba_62 on Twitter),  and, in our (my) squealing zeal, failed to notice that the extremely handsome guy sitting behind us was none other than Yankees RH Pitcher, Sergio Mitre.

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In June, the Yankees play the Dodgers in Los Angeles. I’ve convinced poor Jane Heller and her husband to let me sit with them. I consider this their fair warning to go out and buy earplugs. There will be squealing. Hopefully we get a polite crowd around us.

Look, I know fans are fans, but at the end of the day, people, it’s a game. There should be no violation of human rights because of it. No need to hurl insults, beer, or peanuts on visiting fans in parks. It makes your stadium and all your fans look tacky. All I can say to the guilty parties is, from now on, when you buy your tickets, order them with a side of class.

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9 thoughts on “Yes, I’ll Take 2 Tickets to the Baseball Game with a Side of Class, Please

  1. What can I say: you get alot of asses in all club/team supporters and in the first game you mentioned it looks like they were on a field trip and you happened to be sitting in their stand. As someone who used to do Judo for fun and entered a number of competitions in the sport where you were trying to rip your opponents head off on the mat, but a few minutes after the fight you were bext friends with the guy it does amaze me how some idiots in the crowd can act when the teams are friends (barring some incidents) during the contest.

    And if it makes you feel better
    1) I have got pissed with games on the computer and thumped the computer, but havent resolved to hurling furniture across the room
    2) Lottery aside, it will be next year before I could consider it but I’ll go with you to game – and remember everyone loves the Irish 😉

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  2. Totally a classy group of white trash. I’ve seen the Yankees in a number of opposing stadiums (Anaheim included), and what I saw last year in playoffs defied explanation. The Yankees radio commentators asked “When did the Angels fans get so nasty?” during the last road trip.

    And it’s even the staff that’s getting in on the fun:

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports/Welcome-to-Angel-Stadium–92097714.html

    I saw one news report that included more of the guy’s pictures, and the usher was stationed where I saw ushers last year ignoring people yelling at me, my pregnant wife, and 10 month old son (with massive amounts of profanities). Classless crowds, it will be along time before I contribute money to the Angels via tickets.

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    1. Owen, thanks for providing that link. I’d never seen that before. I remember you were at the same game I was, and Jane Heller was at the game the day before. We all experienced the fury. Good times…

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  3. I’m not a baseball fan ~ not that I dislike it, I’m just ignorant about it ~ but I would love to go to a game with you just to witness your squealing! Maybe all stadiums have them, but I think it’s strange that there is a swimming pool at the Arizona Diamond Back’s stadium. {Sorry, they changed the name and I don’t remember the new one.} One of the fancy-shmancy boxes has a swimming pool. That cracks me up. Enjoy the season, Denise. *hugs*

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  4. LMAO You nailed it again Denise! I could go into a lengthy sociological diatribe about fans but I’m not going to ruin this post for me or others. You and I can both agree on two things about the Angels: Rally Monkey and those blow up sausages. hate them. Oh three things – the classless attitude of the fans, but unfortunately that’s not specific to the Angels. I’ve been going to baseball (Mariners) games for almost 20 years now, I love the game. I have about 10 favorite teams (Yankees are not one of them), because I love the game. I guess I can say I love the game a couple more times, just for fun and to distract myself from this horrendous migraine, but my point-ish is this: There are fans who love the game and who can respect talent (which the NYY have in spades) and then there are those who don’t get it, who are band-wagon jumper-oners like the folks you’ve described from Anaheim (I’ll call them the LA Angels when they move to LA). I find this last group to be unworthy of the seats they fill at ballparks and cannot for the life of me understand how they gain admittance, of course they let just anyone into the ballparks these days like this guy: http://tinyurl.com/25abe5y Personally I love to go to NYY v Mariners games, sit in the cheap seats and pray I am surrounded by NYY fans, I’ll tell you why: they are the frakking most hilarious fans around, equal opportunity insulters – but only of the teams, not people in the stadium. I always enjoy that experience, especially if they are from NY. I’m sure it is nice to be the best, to love the best team in history and to go watch them play because they win more than they lose. But of course with that comes responsibility – something all fans can learn from NYY fans – that just because your team is doing well – it does not give you the right to be a total jerk about it. NYY fans have had decades to figure this out, some of these newbie fans really need to work on it. Thanks Denise!

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    1. Well said, Caroline. I scream at the television. At the games, however, I throw my hands up in disgust in an equal opportunity fashion if we screw up, or if the opposing team does well. What I won’t do is pick on someone else for the team they like. We may have discussed that a few posts back. Thank you for your comment.

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  5. One of the great things about being a baseball fan in this country is that it is so good just to find someone who likes the sport that it doesn’t matter which team they follow which is so refreshing after the hatred and bigotry that you get from many supporters of Rangers and Celtic (the Glasgow football/soccer teams NOT the Texas and Boston teams).
    As a student of the game, I naturally read a lot about (and by) the Yankees and the 1998 team are still the best team that I have seen since I became a fan. I too have been known to vent after a loss (although with me it’s usually to do with Football/soccer and Liverpool.
    Great post

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  6. I discovered the loathsomeness of the Angel fans during the 2002 Division Series against the Yanks. I’d been to many NYY games at Anaheim (like every one for the previous five years) but it wasn’t until they beat the Yankees in the 4th game to win the series that the truly disgusting character of those fans came out. Their team had just one but the fans were aggressive and obnoxious in rubbing the defeat in the faces of anyone wearing Yankee gear. I was already unhappy–that Rally Monkey makes me wonder whether or not, in fact, I would actually kill a small cute animal if given the chance–the thunder sticks that night were as loud as the blastoff of the space shuttle which I have experienced and is said to be the loudest-ever man made sound. People were taunting and cursing us, including my then 12 and 9 year-old sons. This was a special season for us. They played 4 in Anaheim in August and my 12 year-old and I went to all four and stayed at the hotel they stayed at. We met a number of players and got real face time in bar at night. Three weeks later we went to Seattle, stayed at that hotel and a number of the players recognized my son and we developed a couple of friendships. One of the three games we attended on tickets left by Ramiro Mendoza , we went to dinner Saturday night with Shane Spencer and Jon Vander Wal with Jason Giambi joining us for a short time. My son was invited into a private dining room to meet Joe Torre and my kid, a terrific schmoozer, talked to Joe about his former teammate and our family friend, Reggie Smith. Three weeks later we followed the routine in Detroit where we stayed at the hotel and after they clinched the division in a day game, we sat with about half the roster in the bar celebrating. So it was a special season and it came to an end sadly and loudly at the Big A. But I haven’t gotten to why I hate Angels fans. After the game, we walked out to the parking lot where the buses carrying the Yankees would come out of the Stadium. We wanted to cheer them despite our sadness and show our love and solidarity. It was here that Angels fans waited, cursed us in the most despicable way and chanted F*ck the Yankees over and over as the buses came out and passed us. This was one of the most disgusting experiences ever. I have thought about it from time to time, and here’s what I’ve learned: Yankees fans are passionate and can be aggressive. But I’ve been to more than 300 games at Yankee Stadium in my life and I’ve never seen anything remotely close to this, not even when the Red Sox are involved. The Angels fans have so little experience winning, that they are vicious. Their demeanor when winning is boorish and rude. With the New York Yankees, winning is something that happens a whole lot more often and the team and its fans, I think, have learned to do it with class.

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