A few weeks ago, the Seattle Mariners made national news – no, not for their playing of Ichiro – for a new policy they put into effect at SafeCo field for the Yankees-Mariners’ homestand. Fans that were showing up to the ballpark with the traditional “Yankees Suck” t-shirts were being told that they had to either turn them inside out or take them off, should they want to get into the game. Fans were a bit pissed off about this “new” policy, and a whole media circus occurred.
The press reported that about 14 of the current 30 stadiums had such policies; SafeCo’s was just new (and unannounced) and untested yet. Safeway’s stance was that they wanted to keep SafeCo a family venue and they didn’t think that using such language for the opposing team was “family” friendly. A few days later, after the Yankees left town, Safeway overturned is it’s policy for SafeCo and fans were allowed to wear what they wanted to again. Having been to Seattle a few times before, and seen SafeCo field (from the outside and via TV anyway – I’m always there during the off season) I can’t particularly see Seattle residents caring either way; they tend to be a happy and laid back society, in contrast my local baseball venue in the Bronx. SafeCo it’s a very “family friendly” ballpark, what with picnic areas and kid stuff going on around the arena. Also, most of the people that can afford Seattle can afford the MLB prices for a family of four, so filling the place isn’t a problem either. Nevertheless, this lil Emerald City tidbit started a Seattle vs New York City holy war in my e-mail box, between Seattle transplants and CT-based NYC lovers.
Jump ahead to this past Saturday. Red Sox versus Yankees, 1:05pm game time, 85 degrees with a nice breeze and not a cloud in the sky. It was also the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech in 1936, when he called himself the “luckiest man alive.” On hand were a few celebs to commemorate the date, including much of the Sopranos‘ regular cast; James Gandolfini was sent to home plate to re-read Gehrig’s speech, actually. So, in baseball induced bliss, I approached Yankee Stadium, laughing about the Boston Sucks, 1918, and Boston Dead Sox t-shirts and hats on the way over the sky bridge – it never ceases to amaze me how fast street vendors can get their shit together and get product out the door, given that most software companies take weeks just to decide on the space between two buttons on a computer screen. Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when a security guard approached me with a “Excuse me, sir, can you step out of line, for a minute?”
Flashbacks from high school went screaming through my head! I thought I was going to be given one of those random security screenings or something with a cell phone (as mine does look different from other phones) or whatever. So I step out of line. The high school metaphor was better than I thought – it seems I had violated Yankee Stadium’s dress code. Yes, I was wearing a NY batting practice jersey with a Boston Sucks t-shirt underneath it; one that I had worn for two other Sox/Yankees games already over the years. I was told, as you can guess, to either take it off or turn it inside out. My high school had a dress code for all four years of my years there – a dress code that I broke at least 99.44% of the entire time there – my instincts of “I’ll cover it with the closed jersey” kicked in and the guard responded with “I didn’t see nuthin’.” *zoop* Randy goes into the game.
Since it was hot inside, I unbutton the jersey. I was stopped by another guard before I got to my seat. I got to my seat and saw a few other guys (much larger than me, I might add) pouting with their shirts inside out. As it got really hot, I opted to open the jersey again, so I flipped the shirt inside out. Wasn’t worth the trouble right? No problem. By the time the game started, all of the regular fellow season ticket holders showed up – we’re all on the Saturday package, so we all share 12 games together this year; hard not to get to know each other – and they started giving me shit about the shirt. Bending to the will of the fans, I flipped the shirt back to right side out. Two innings later, I’m back at my seat from an ice cream run telling them to all bite me because yet another guard yelled at me.
Some dolts have already started with the Freedom of Speech crap… they should know Yankee Stadium is private property, that the public is allowed to go to. Besides, that particular amendment doesn’t cover Freedom of Expression – they aren’t censoring me, but they’re making me show my team support in another way. Fact of the matter is that I don’t care one way or the other. So my shirt didn’t say Boston Sucks for 1/2 the day. My hat and jersey still had their interlocking-NY, so that’s what’s important. I am a bit peeved that they didn’t post the new rule on their web site or make announcements or anything, like they do for all their other policy changes… that’s just stupid, to me. Almost as stupid as banning the shirts in the first place. So the shirt didn’t say Boston Sucks. The fans did. The fans did for a full 1/2 inning at least, following a grand slam and then a 2 run Giambi-shot. Not to mention a hardy 1918 chant shortly there after.
The moral of the story is that, No, Steve [Seattle resident], I will not be answering my e-mail today – go yell at my sister [CT resident, and NYC advocate] about this one. Besides, you claim to not even like baseball!