Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Caution: rant ahead

The centerpiece for last night's All Star Game was meant to be Yankee Stadium. "The Colliseum of our present day society," waxed Joe Buck over on Fox last night. Fox took every opportunity to push their point, with montages of great moments at the Stadium, and of the great players who'd used the Stadium as their stage.

But the true "stars" of the night were the Yankee fans. From the start of the "red carpet" parade until JD Drew accepted his MVP Award before a full stadium, they epitomized class and intelligent fandom. Their knowledge and appreciation for the game itself and for the men who play it was inspiring, a lesson for all of us who aren't quite as committed.

Oh, no, wait. I was dreaming for a moment.

The exhibition by the "Yankee Faithful" last night was one of the most disgusting things I have seen in a long while. I have never truly despised their fans - I always have chalked up some of their antics merely to misdirected enthusiasm.

Last night, however, my abhorence of them soared. When I heard they had showered Jonathan Papelbon and his pregnant wife with obsenities and threats, that they had loudly hurled curses at Jason Varitek in front of his small children - my anger began to grow. I had expected the "fans" to boo during the player introductions, but the volume was unexpected. Each at-bat by a Red Sox player was greeted by cat-calls and boos - to the extent that I began to suspect the Yankee fans would rather the AL lose than the Sox perform well. Even JD Drew's seventh inning home run to tie the game was booed. What are they thinking, I could only ask myself.

But the most venom and vitriol was saved for Papelbon's eighth inning appearance. Their incredible performance didn't rattle Paps - I actually think it inspired him to shove it in their faces - but it did manage to rattle catcher Dioner Navorro into a throwing error. Which was, of course, blamed on Pap.

The supposed cause of their hate was that day's New York Daily News, which featured a quote - taken out of context - that Pap thought he should be the closer in the game. Which is the mentality a closer should have - he always should think he's the only man for the job. Other reporters included how Pap was complimentary of Rivera, calling him the "godfather of all closers," and how he fully expected Rivera to be the closer that night. And when Pap came out in the 8th inning, wasn't that a sure indication that Rivera WOULD close out the 9th?? Surely those intelligent fans could have figured that out?!

I must admit that, although I was rooting for the AL, when Mariano Rivera finally appeared in the 9th, I truly hoped he'd blow it. That he'd give up a two or three run home run, and shut up those idiots. Nearly happened, too. And because of the fan-caused throwing error by Novarro in the 8th - which eventually resulted in the tying run - the game continued on (and on) without their star closer finishing out.

The irony is that Terry Francona treated the Yankee players (and really, all the players) with such respect. When replacing both ARod and Jeter, he didn't make the switch between innings as he did with other players (including his own). He sent in subs after the first out in the inning, allowing each man the chance to leave the game and be saluted by the fans. When it was time to bring in Rivera in the 9th, he let Francisco Rodgriguez come in first, get an out, and then replaced him with Rivera. "Enter the Sandman" to a huge ovation and lovefest from the Bleacher Creatures. (Actually, Tito's very classiness nearly did the AL in, because he could have used more innings from all of his players and pitchers. But in his desire for everyone to get a chance to play, he used up his bench long before the innings were used up!)

If the game were at Fenway, I'm sure NYY players would hear it from the fans. But I think our fans would rise above the hatred, and cheer for the TEAM in front of them, not the laundry. Yes, it killed me several times to find myself hoping Jeter would get a hit, or that Kazmir would pitch well. But for the good of the team, I did it.

I'm glad Yankee Stadium is being blown up. I only wish it could have been done last night.

ETA: Here's a first-hand account of what Papelbon endured during the Parade yesterday - written by his driver.

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Blogger Ted D said...

Great post, Beth.

Those idiotic mouth breathers wouldn't know good taste if it landed in their lap.

I thought Tito was very respectful of the game and the Yankee players as well.

Screw 'em if they can't see that. And I hope Pap puts one in Slappy's earhole when they play the next time.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

It goe's to show you how much Yankees boo birds know about the real "baseball" concept. The All-star game is all about All Stars, not rivarly.
I hope when we play the yankees, rivera blows it big time,and pap wins it!
Yankees suck and so don't their fans.

2:14 PM  

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