Fear and Loathing in Section 15
But last night, my first night in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium, I lost all respect for Yankees fans.
It may be a small minority in the Yankees fan base, but it was the great majority of the crowd up in Tier Section 15. What I witnessed last night was inexcusable behavior by a bunch of degenerates. It was the opposite of sportsmanship. It was outrageous. It was disrespectful to everyone in the stadium.
I saw about ten fights break out over three innings... just in my section. I was physically threatened with violence twice (I was wearing a Red Sox hat, but no other Boston paraphenalia). I witnessed about a dozen full beers get thrown at a group of four women. I saw an old man with a cane get taunted by Yankees fans. I saw police swarm my section more times than I can remember.
And I kept thinking to myself: this never happens at Fenway.
This is not blind ignorance that's making me say this. I've been to Fenway. I know the "Yankees Suck" chants. I see the t-shirts. I hear the boos. But I have never seen such sickening behavior in the stands of a Major League ballpark. Boston fans are respectful at Fenway. We hate the Yankees with a passion, but we don't beat up Yankees fans who happen to come onto our turf to watch the game. It's called "Friendly Fenway" for a reason.
Besides, when Red Sox fans pay money to see a game at Yankee Stadium, Yankees fans should respect them. I am actually feeding money into "The Evil Empire". I'm paying Yankees players' salaries. I'm paying for construction of a new ballpark that doesn't give me vertigo when I'm watching the game from the upper deck. I know Yankees fans are paying good money to see a game at Fenway, too, and that money helps my team.
Fans come to Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park to see the most storied rivalry in sports. I'm here to see the game. But it seems like Yankees fans can't respect that.
The problem is simple: Yankee Stadium is too big. There are nearly 20,000 more seats in Yankee Stadium than in Fenway Park. That's room for 20,000 degenerates. When tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game sell at a face value of less than $20, anyone can go. Ex-cons can go. High school dropouts with IQs under 90 can go. Homeless alcoholics can go.
I'm not saying that the right to attend a baseball game should be restricted. The purpose of these ticket prices was not to make it affordable to violent criminals fresh out of jail. Ticket prices are kept low so families can go, but families aren't going to these games - especially not in the cheap seats, where violence and vulgarity is commonplace. Families will go to a Saturday afternoon game against the Tigers, not a Wednesday night game against the Red Sox. There is no reason to keep prices so low for games like this when the demand is so high. If someone is paying $59 for a ticket instead of $19, maybe he'll think twice about doing something stupid that gets him thrown out of the stadium in the second inning.
Boston Red Sox fans are not angels. But there's a certain expectation of respect in this rivalry that seems a little one-sided. I hear Yankees fans talk so much about "class." There was nothing classy about what I saw last night. If they really want to be world class fans of a world class team, the idiots in Tier Section 15 last night will need to start behaving like human beings.