For years now, I have attended games at both Municipal Stadium and Progressive Field (The Jake) when the New York Yankees come to town. One of my biggest headaches in life is looking around at the crowd and wondering who the home team is. No matter which way I turn, there is an overabundance of Yankee merchandise in the stands. Hats, shirts, pennants, babies dressed in one piece pajamas, posters, gold chains, and keychains ~ the stuff is blinding. The applause for the Yankees is even close to the crowd noise on behalf of The Tribe.
The Average Joe would pin this on a loyal fan base, people who traveled West to see the ballgame and maybe go to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame afterwards. Unfortunately, on many occasions, I run into people I know wearing the stuff, and they are from the Greater Cleveland area. They are devout Yankee fans. here are a few observations I have made of this group.
- Most Yankee fans like the LA Lakers in basketball, they root for the Dallas Cowboys in football, the Detroit Red Wings in hockey, and will tell you that Rocky Marciano was the greatest boxer of all time. What all of these “favorites” have in common is that they are winners. These are the Cleveland area fans who just can’t accept losing, so they manipulate the system at a young age and root for traditional winners. Let’s face it, the Cleveland Sports Faithful have not had much to scream about for the past 50 or so years. However, the loyalty of a Cleveland sports fan is so much more praiseworthy to me than the local bandwagon jumping fans of teams that win.
- The argument that Cleveland teams refuse to spend money to keep athletes gets old. Just because the Yankees have so much more to spend does not mean that the Browns, Cavs, and Indians, do not pay well. Let me put it to you this way: When you play monopoly with your friends, give the Yankee fan half of the deeds and three quarters of all of the money that comes with the game. We will call the other players Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Cleveland. They have what is left to divide amongst themselves. This is why baseball sadly needs a salary cap.
This debate has caused grief for many years. I have friends and relatives who are diehard Yankee fans. They will argue that George Steinbrenner spends money to assemble these All-Star caliber teams. I find it ironic that New York has not won a World Series for awhile. I also encourage those who surround me in pinstripes to go pay the $1,000 price to sit behind home plate at the New York Yankees new stadium. Sadly, some will.