2005-06-24 / Sports

My Night As A Yankee Fan

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

Joe poses as a new Yankees fan with his friend Melissa.Joe poses as a new Yankees fan with his friend Melissa. BRONX, NY –I never thought it would happen.

Three weeks ago, I bet my friend on the Subway Series. The loser had to take the winner to a game of the winner’s choice and wear the hat of the winner’s team at that game. Had I won, my friend would have had to take me to a Mets game with and root for the Amazin’s with a Mets’ hat on.

Instead, the picture on the right tells a different story.

Then, the Yankees were reeling and the Mets were one of the better stories in New York.

But, Oakland and Seattle appeared on the schedule before the Mets did and the Bronx Bombers became hot. Still, even with the Yankees feasting on weaker teams, I remained confident. After all, Pedro Martinez was pitching a game in the series and, right now, he is the best pitcher in New York. If the Mets could win with Pedro on the mound, all they had to do was eek out one out of two at Shea. That shouldn’t be too difficult, I thought; they’ve played very well there this season. After Victor Zambrano dropped the Friday game, the Amazin’s were gangbusters on Saturday and, behind great pitching by Kris Benson and a few surprises, beat Randy Johnson, 7-1. Martinez entered the 8th inning of that Sunday’s game with a 3-1 lead –he was simply masterful- and I was sitting pretty.

Then, the Mets threw away not just the game, but also my dignity. But, as I’m honorable, the offer to take my friend to any non-sold out game of her choice stayed on the table. As luck would have it, she chose Sunday night’s game against Boston. Sure enough, there were tickets available.

So, on May 29, 2005, I, Joe McDonald, became a Yankee fan.

I met up with my friend at 7:30 p.m. On the way in, I bought a $10 hat and then went to the Will Call window to pick up the tickets. While waiting by the oversized bat, I noticed many people all pinstriped up and started realizing that this was more than a baseball game. This was an event. You could tell it was less of a baseball crowd and more of a ’place to be’ crowd.

There weren’t just Yankee fans there. A good portion of Red Sox Nation came down to see their team play. One guy had told me that it’s easier to see the Sox at Yankee Stadium, because there’s such a limited supply of tickets at Fenway. I also got a season’s worth of dirty looks from them, since after all, I was one of their sworn enemies.

As I didn’t purchase the tickets until the Tuesday before, many Red Sox fans were in our section. I became annoyed that all these Bostonians were coming to New York to root for their team against the Yankees. And, since my friend is a very big fan, I wanted to be on her side and root, root, root for the home team.

I tried to make the most of the evening. It was very surreal cheering for Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield after they hit homers in the first inning.

It was impressive to see a filled stadium because it did look picturesque. And I couldn’t help myself in indulging in the Yankee mystique. I was going from a ballpark which celebrated two World Series wins to one that had rejoiced in 26 of them; for some odd reason, I had felt a sense of accomplishment because of that.

Now, I know why most of the bandwagon fans go to the Yankees – to feel better about themselves.

However, this wasn’t the Yankees night. Twice, David Ortiz went deep off Mike Mussina and Boston cruised to a 7-2 win behind David Wells, who once threw a perfect game for the Yankees in this very place. My friend was so depressed that we ended up drowning our sorrows in a few beers at Stan’s by the sixth inning. All in all, it was a fun time. I wouldn’t make the bet again, but I made the best of it and –for one night- I saw how the other side lives.

So, I am 0-1 as a Yankee fan. May I never get my first win.

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