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.
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.