When it comes to NYC sports there is one that dominates all: baseball. When it comes to sports, there’s no more dominant franchise in history than that of the New York Yankees. America’s true pastime…in the city that demands a pastime the most. Outside of Prospect or Central Park there is no finer piece of grass than that of the outfield in Yankee Stadium.
I feel obliged to state that there are actually two different baseball teams actually in NY: The NY Mets and the NY Yankees. However, in following with the proper protocol established in the upcoming prose, the NY Mets are not New York’s baseball team. With that…we present our beginner’s guide to becoming New York Yankees fan.
Rule number 1: Love the Yankees. Hate the Red Sox
The rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees is often considered to be the greatest rivalry in American sports. Whether you’re looking at the Celtics/Lakers … the Tar Heels/Blue Devils … Buckeyes/Wolverines … no one comes close to the intense passion that fuels every meeting between these two clubs. For over 100 years the Yankees and Sox have been hard at work to destroy one another on the field, with an overall record of 1,132 – 954 -14 (with the advantage of course being with NY). This rivalry finds its roots in the development of both cities. New York being one of the strongest economic engines in America during its birth and Boston having a cultural and artistic streak to its name, these two Northeastern cities were destined to loathe one another. When you see a Red Sox cap on someone’s head in NY, don’t smile. When someone says that Boston is going to have a good year, simply reply that while it might be good – it’ll surely not be as good as that of the Yankees. Finally, when you see the Red Sox drop a game, cheer. Respect your enemy, but at the same time…respect the tradition of the rivalry.
Rule Number 2: Know the history. Know the tradition (this section written by Mark Durbak)
Although the first rule may be a burning hatred of the enemy, the second rule is an all-encompassing love of your own traditions. It’s remarkably easy to love the Yankee tradition because it boils down to two words: WINNING and GREATNESS. Winning: Over the course of our (i.e. the Yankees) prolific history we have dominated and humiliated our competition. We’ve won twenty seven World Series, almost three times as many as the next highest winner and almost four times as many as a certain New England rival. After that everything else is secondary, but we can also add forty American League Pennants, twenty nine AL East Titles, and about one thousand wins in the last decade alone. Greatness: We have had forty three players and eleven managers who have been inducted into the Hall Of Fame, representing over one-sixth of all inductees. Our great ones have included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Our proud traditions continue with modern day legends like Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, as well as upcoming superstars like Robinson Cano. Our greatness is symbolized by our iconic pinstripe uniforms. When we walk out onto the field, even the hardest of rival competitors can’t help but be intimidated. Unlike the other teams in our league, our uniforms don’t have players’ last names on them. Each player knows that he is only the latest in a long line of greats that have proudly carried on the Yankee tradition.
Rule Number 3: Go To a Game…and Stay till the End
Whether you take the 4 train from the east side of Manhattan or the B, D train from wherever, the first step in going to a Yankee game is the ride up on the subway. A wonderful tradition, filled with your fellow Yankee fans, there is no better way to immediately feel the camaraderie and support of your fellow fan than being surrounded by them on the way to The Bronx. As you approach the new cathedral of baseball you won’t see a corporate brand as the name (sorry Citi Field). You won’t see a giant oil companies’ sign near the stadium (Citgo). What you will is a beautiful concrete facade with each twenty seven of the years the Yankees have won it all surrounding the top of the stadium in bright Yankee Blue. The Stadium itself is relatively new, full of places to eat, shop and drink. When you go to purchase tickets, no doubt you’ll react with a bit of sticker shock. There is no way around it, the tickets are expensive. However, if you search for tickets in the bleachers you’ll be treated to not only an awesome sight line of the stadium, but as well the Bleacher Creatures – a relative part of the Yankees themselves. As you watch the game unfold, listen for the original Yankees announcer read of Yankees Captain Derek Jeter’s name (Bob Sheppard passed away at the age of 99 but Jeter recorded his name being announced by Bob in his honor). Listen to the crack of the bat at Cano blasts a homerun into the stands. Listen to Metallica’s Enter the Sandman come over the speakers as the greatest closer of all time takes the mound. Listen for Old Blue Eyes rendition of New York, New York to come over the system when Mariano closes them out. The sights and sounds that will greet you in this stadium are the sensations that make Baseball great.
There are a thousand more things that can be said about becoming a Yankee fan, but what it boils down to is the understanding the Yankees place in baseball history – past, present and future. They are and will always be the greatest. To be a Yankees fan, and to live in New York, is a privilege that shouldn’t be spoiled.