Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Face of Yankee Fandom

Because it's become a habit in the last few days, I kept up a running post of last night's game, the Rangers at the Yankees for ALCS Game 4. It was an interesting game. The shaky AJ Burnett turned in a competent performance before a stupid intentional walk and homer gave the Rangers the go-ahead run. From there, Josh Hamilton engaged in his own one-man home run derby, and the Rangers put the game well out of reach.

However, today many people will surely be talking about the disputed fan interference in the bottom of the second inning, which made the rest of the game seem merely conventional, despite the 10-3 score. The Rangers' going up 3-1 on the Yankees makes for good times in Texas and dire forebodings in New York, but the terrible officiating speaks to concerns held by all fans of baseball. And while that's worth exploring, it's important not to forget that the interference in right field not only threw baseball's replay problems into high relief, it did the same with the image of Yankee fandom.

With one out and no men on, Yankees second baseman and candidate for 2010 league MVP Robinson Cano lofted a ball to right field. It seemed to come down on the barrier between the seats and the playing field, atop the wall, and go into the stands, whereupon it was ruled a home run. But Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz argued that he was interfered with, preventing him from reaching an eminently catchable ball and making an out. Replays showed that a fan in a Derek Jeter jersey who caught the ball put his hands out directly above Cruz's glove, while a second fan immediately thereafter put his hands directly on Cruz's glove and pushed it.

Despite having instituted replay for disputed home run calls, the umpires did not review this play. Initial reactions saw the announcers and in-studio crew claiming that it was outright interference. But after consulting the rules, they noted that interference cannot occur when a player goes into the stands to catch a ball. Looking again at the video, they concluded that Cruz had extended his glove far enough into the stands to be in "fan space," in which case, the fans' reaching out didn't interfere with the play and couldn't technically have prevented an out.

But look at the photo above right. Cruz's glove clearly hasn't crossed over the plane of the fence and into fan territory, while the fans clearly are extending their hands across that plane into the playing field. Meanwhile, they are touching his glove. This picture unambiguously shows fan interference, and it unambiguously shows two other things as well:
1. That Cano's home run should not have counted.
2. That, despite instituting a replay policy, Major League Baseball continues to be run and officiated by either bloodless cowards or arrogant swine who render a tool for accurately reviewing their actions meaningless because of their refusal to actually use it.
By making the review process totally optional and at their officials' discretion, baseball maintains the same cavalier disinterest in an accountable review process that existed before review was instituted. The same people who before resisted the implementation of replay because they refused to entertain notions of their own gross incompetence or accidental fallibility have been given control of the process for evaluating their conduct, which effectively means that they now merely have a new tool to ignore when refusing to entertain their own incompetence. Like a Bush-era regulatory body or a homework honor system in a class where the teacher never demands to see finished assignments, MLB's instant replay has been structured in such a way that those who most need to be tested by it can idly wave it away with an imperial gesture of contempt.

Thankfully, the home run did not prove to be decisive for the outcome of the game, which allows it to live on as a far less dire but still perfect examplar of something else: the chronic, ugly and insufferable dickheadedness of New York Yankee fans.

I've already mentioned here how rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for cancer, and while that might have been a decent portrait of the sort of petulant entitled bullying mentality of people who root for the team, no amount of words would be as perfect as this picture:

The guy in the picture is the one who interfered with Cruz and caught the ball. Here's what he said, according to Sports Illustrated:
"It was coming right towards me. I touched it after it hit the cement," said 20-year-old fan Jared Macchirole. "He was yelling at me but I wasn't going to say anything. It was a home run."
It's hardly necessary to resort to analyzing every image like frames of the Zapruder film to realize that, in addition to being a cheating piece of shit, Jared Macchirole is a lying piece of shit.

Either his hands can time travel, or he's making things up. Further, the immediate aftermath of the "home run" saw him leaning down at Cruz and taunting him with the classic bridge-and-tunnel guido trash-talk attitude that fans around the league are used to seeing in their stadiums whenever the Yankees come to town and the game reaches the inning where these gentle visitors have to buy two beers at once right before the alcohol-sale cutoff. Then viewers at home were treated to repeated viewings of the all-around dickless display seen in the above animated gif.

In fact, it was so easy to see, here is another example of him not saying anything to Nelson Cruz:

And here's one more:

That guy really has a lot not to say to Nelson Cruz.

Now, I think it's a given that most people realize that not all Yankee fans are like this incredibly lame white person, but really that's academic. People like him have long been The Face of Yankeedom, from the Bronx Bleacher Creatures, to the sorts of assholes who follow the team on the road. And as much as tightassed suburban fans might try to distance themselves from him, the attitude of him and those like him just gives physical form to the general air of over-privileged abusive thuggery attendant to being a fan of such a grossly inequitable front-running team.

This isn't an invention of the media or resentful fans nationwide. It thrives in the stands, on the road and on message boards, and it's an attitude that came down on high, for decades, from George Steinbrenner, a piece of criminal scum who liked the moniker The Boss and relished engaging in public ritual acts of debasement and humiliation for his employees when he wasn't scheming to undermine them behind the scenes. This wasn't foisted on the Yankees but rather whole-born by the very organization and the slavish devotees who cleaved to it.

The Face of Yankee Fandom is a foul, feculent and ever-trumpeting human anus — whether blinged out with slick hair or not — and if you're a Yankee fan and don't like the characterization, maybe you should work harder to convince your fellow fans not to revel so much in it.


  1. The only time I ever heard my mother swear? "Fucking Yankees" was the quote that this (then)9 year old boy heard while listening to a White Sox/Yankee game on the AM radio in days of yore.

    Fuck the yankees, their fans, and the moldy fucking corpse of steinbrenner.

  2. My favorite part from the ESPN writeup of the incident: he's from Queens. He's got a local team, but he refuses to root for them and instead opts to hitch his star to the Yankees bandwagon. That, and this sentence: "As for Macchirole, he said he didn't have Cano's home run ball -- though reporters could see a ball stashed in his pocket." His claim is made more priceless by the fact that the ball is in his fucking hand in the replays and the .gif above.

  3. lmao

    Yankee fans: so used to being baseball vampires that they think they don't show up on film.

  4. Also, I thought for sure you'd hit on the hypocrisy from the announcers. These fans demonstrate the very worst possible behavior by actually interfering in the contest and taunting players after impeding them from doing their jobs, and the announcers continue to sell the whole "Yankee Stadium is the best venue for baseball ever" storyline. If this shit were to happen in Philly, on the other hand, it would simply be added to the constant narrative of (often ancient) bad behavior, e.g. throwing snowballs at Santa in the fucking '60's.

    In sum, the shithead/entitled attitude of Yankees fans is not only created and encouraged by the echo chamber in the stands or the organization mirroring that attitude, it is perpetuated by the very media covering the game and excusing this behavior because the team wins frequently.

  5. Good call, Anon.

    Similarly, if this happened in a non-"classic" baseball town/stadium the fact that these guys (and another guy on the other side of the stadium, innings later) would be evidence that we were in a bad stadium and bad town for baseball. It would prove that the fans didn't "get" it. In most other stadiums, it would be proof of a clownish and unserious fanbase, a whole neighborhood of Bartmans. In Yankee stadium, this is just two accidents.

  6. Yep. That guy had so much to say he had to use sign language as well:

  7. You had me until..

    "incredibly lame white person"

    Completely uncalled for in the context of your post.

  8. Dear White Person,

    I'm sorry.

    A Big Black Dead Dictator

  9. I don't necessarily disagree with most of the points you make, but the replay clearly showed that ball to be uncatchable. While the ball grabbers were clearly reaching on to the field of play, the ball also clearly landed in the seats - a good 2 feet behind the wall. IF they reviewed the play, the HR would have stood - 'ball grabbers' nonwithstanding.

  10. its so clear that you hated the yankees before you ever posted this that the fact that it reeks of bias i guess shouldnt be so surprising. yea the dude looked like a deuschbag (sp?), and the other fat dude did push cruz's glove, but the whole issue is moot b/c to make the play in the first place, cruz would have had to go into fan space.

    if you watch the replay its clear that the ball crosses over the cement line WELL above cruz's potential reach. to even have made it a *potential* catch, he would have had to reach over the wall, where fans are allowed to interfere as much as they want. thats why the announcers didnt make a huge deal about it. not because they are allowing the "cheating" yankees to continue "cheating," but because it didnt matter anyway. the catch could not have been made in the area of play.

    listen to yourself, calling the deuschbag a lying piece of shit and a cheating piece of shit. holy balls are you bitter. way to not lower yourself to their level.

  11. Anon 1, obviously I disagree about the catchability of the ball, because it would be a useless discussion if I believed that to be true. If I honestly believed that to be the case, I wouldn't make the argument.

  12. Anon 2,

    You have discovered a powerful indicator of bias in my argument, which of course now means that it's a bad argument. Rats. How did I let that slip through? Maybe I shouldn't have tagged the post with the label, "FUCK THE YANKEES." Damn, dude. You're just one step ahead.

    Also, Jesus Christ, how hard is it to figure out how to spell douchebag? It's only the internet's #1 non-profane swear-word allowable on pretty much every forum. Just open a new tab and type into the fucking Google toolbar up there. The internet does all the work for you.

    Anyway, once you clean out the extraneous bullshit and trim it down, here's your point, in three lines:

    1. The fans interfered in the field of play.
    2. But, to make the out, Cruz would have had to catch it out of the field of play, in the stands.
    3. Because the imaginary catch would have to happen out of the field of play, the actual, real, incontrovertible interference that happened in the field of play doesn't matter.

    Strong work. Factual and provable Wrong Thing X is immaterial because of Possible Imaginary Thing Y. I'm going to shoot a woman in the face because she has cancer. She's totally gonna die anyway — like, really probably, I'm pretty sure.

    Also, thanks for making me want to rent a Duesenberg for some reason.

  13. Maybe I should work harder to convince my fellow fans not to revel so much in it?

    Maybe this author should work harder at convincing people that they should care about what he has to say.

    There is absolutely no way in the world I or any other Yankee fan can ask other Yankee fans to behave themselves. You don't need to know anything about baseball to know that. You have to know something about human beings though and human nature. It must be so easy for me to go up and ask Yankee fans to clean up their acts so the rest of us don't look like jokes, especially when there are millions of them (sense the sarcasm?)

    This author should not have a blog. When you begin to generalize about a group of people based on one person, then you are an ignorant dickhead (using one of his own words). Then he goes on to try and clean up his argument for us "normal fans", but still paints the same picture that all Yankee fans are portrayed by this guy. If that's true, then it's sad that outsiders have such narrow minds as to classify all Yankee fans as a guy like this.

    This author is a joke.

  14. This author should not have a blog. When you begin to generalize about a group of people based on one person, then you are an ignorant dickhead

    *complains about using single example to extract a condemnatory generality about far greater potentially diversified content*

    *uses one (1) article to explain why a website with 375 articles should not exist*

    *is literally an ignorant dickhead*







  16. Been going to ball games at the Big A in Anaheim for the last 20 years, and I can say without a moment's hesitation that the only time something is going to happen in the stands between the home and visiting fans is when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town (Dodgers occasionally, but interleague doesn't count). It's uncanny how those two teams seem to breed a special kind of asshole. My favorite encounter was in the playoffs a few years back when some Yankee douche started a fight a couple of rows in front of me because he wouldn't sit down once throughout the game and fans were getting annoyed. He had his shirt off, and as security hauled his pathetic drunken ass out, you could see he had shaved his chest while leaving a hairy NY logo. It took an effort not to puke on the spot.

  17. Mobuto lives by this credo:

    "Anyway, once you clean out the extraneous bullshit and trim it down, here's your point, in three lines:"

  18. Sorry to revive this heated discussion, but I wanted to add one piece of evidence to refute the claim that the ball was not catchable and, therefore, the interference was moot. Check out this picture, and note how Cruz's glove is actually above the level where the ball lands, while he's being interfered with:

    In light of that pic and the first one from the post (showing the fans clearly reaching into the field of play, rather than remaining in "fan space"), I think it's a pretty non-controversial statement to say that this was a case of interference.

  19. Fun fact: my sister went to college with the kid who interfered with Derek Jeter's home run in the 1996 ALCS, and he was a drunken douchebag.

    Still, as a Yankee fan, I must defend our honor (what honor? you might say) and say that we're not nearly as boorish and disgusting as Red Sox/New England team fans or Philadelphia team fans. We may be obnoxious but we don't take it out on fellow fans like those two do.

  20. Thanks for the photo evidence, Antonio.

    AngrySportsGuy, I understand your dismay, but from attending games at the AL East's former whipping-boy stadium, I don't think anyone comes off well. Young male sports fans tend to combine cheap beach vacations with catching their hometown team when it's playing the Rays. (With Fenway sold out always and Yankee Stadium so expensive, flying JetBlue down and splitting a hotel room four ways makes for a pretty inexpensive baseball/beach trip.) So you get youth, booze and sports ego all in one package. That's no good for any franchise. Phils fans were pretty aggressively unpleasant in '08, as were Sox fans. But every year Tampa Bay gets the spring training flood of Yankee fans, and it's always not...uh...good. (The worst is when you get the occasional guy who explains to you that because the Yankees have spring training here and are such a better team that "Tampa's really a Yankee town." Uh-huh, okay, man. I guess you'd know better instead of all these yahoos who live here.)

    Anyway, sorry to blot your escutcheon like that, ASG. One of the nicest and most patient people I've ever argued baseball with is a die-hard, loved-them-when-they-sucked Yankees fan, so I know there are plenty of really decent fans out there. I guess most of them are at home watching on TV. I promise this topic isn't going to come up again this intensely anytime soon.

    As for the rest of the thread, the already pretty predictable hate mail is getting even more predictable and ran out of funny earlier this morning. I hate to seem like I'm running away from an argument, but I don't have the volition to re-explain and re-re-explain the same point ad nauseam, nor do I see much value in spending more time engaging furious and outraged responses than was dedicated to writing the initial argument. Especially when so many feature bizarre fits of inane hypocrisy—viz. "Yankee fans aren't assholes, I'll kick your fucking ass you faggot," and, "Damning large groups based on non-representative single samples is why this single post of yours proves everything you've written is worthless." Whatever.

    Anyway, long story short, I'm probably either gonna shut down the commenting or just start rejecting almost everything, because there's only so many times in one day that I can read about people hoping I come to the Bronx so I can be beaten and sodomized before it stops getting me hard.

    Also, for the record, everyone who thinks they could totes beat me up in real life, brah, has never come face to face with the devastating onslaught of Gymkata: the discipline, timing and power of gymnastics with the explosive force of karate.

    Now if y'all'll excuse me, I'm gonna go watch my Slingbox. This thing is phuh-nawmenal, and it has completely changed the way I watch TV. Bang your monkey clones. This Homedics shiatsu massager already has me starting to nod off. Rack me, I'm out.