Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Joel Sherman fires on the fans

In today's Murdoch Muse, Joel Sherman savages the wealthy, silent and increasingly nonexistent Yankee Stadium fan base as "a Dockers-and-loafers crew that isn’t likely to unsettle the opponent."  He blames the high pricing structure, forced by the gilded new stadium, and the team's annual success, which has made winning ho-hum.

Drug addicts become used to the dosage and have to keep increasing the amounts to get the same high. This is where Yankees fans are now. Winning 95 games and a division and having the best record in the AL and setting a team record for homers and advancing a round in the playoffs is not enough. The only acceptable high is a championship.

Sherman has a point. But the negative sounds of silence stem from far more than victory-fatigue and millionaire pricing. I like to think the people who visit this website are as stoked with Yankee passions as they once were for the Mick, as for Thurman and yes - even Danny Tartabull. It's part of our psyche. We celebrate every Yankee win. We give the team our passion.

Trouble is, the Yankees don't seem to value this kind of fan any more. They only seem to care about the big money guy, the corporate honcho, and - folks - that's a real problem. This isn't about the fans' priorities. It's the organization's priorities that need to be looked at.

This is a team that looks at empty seats and blames StubHub. This is a team that's still selling dirt from the old stadium. This is a team that never embraces passionate fan web sites. In fact, it's more likely to try and shut them down, because nobody can figure out a way to make money off of them.

Secondly, there was something horribly wrong with this team all season, and diehard Yankee fans knew it. (John and Suzyn certainly talked about it.) Nobody drove in runners. Nobody hit in the clutch. We belted home runs. But anybody watching closely knew what kind of October was coming: When the pitching improved, we would watch the zeros accumulate. And that is what was so frustrating. That is what sucked the air out of Yankee Stadium. That is what brought the boos. This was not a bad week. This was a team without spirit.

The fans did not boo because they've become too used to winning.

They booed because they'd become too used to watching these batters fail when it counts.


John M said...

I bow in the face of such wisdom.

I spent all season telling well-wishers, "I don't know how these guys are in first place."

You write so much truth, you better lawyer up. The Steinbottoms do not like so much truth, which makes me think they certainly don't like you. Or Duque. Or IIH in general.

In other words, keep up the good work. At some point, the Pope will realize, "Hey, how'd I miss these other New Yorkers?" Bang, boom...sainthood.

Tom from GA said...

Another theory: The characters and crazies who made New York City so intimidating even to New Yorkers are gone. The city is unique for its history, architecture and street grid, but the soul has been sucked out by high real estate prices and gentrification -- you can find the same bland clothing and culture outlets in Greenwich Village as in any generic suburban mall. The independent voices have been priced out of the game. Everyone must conform. The cost of admission is too high to afford any sort of crazy behavior. Sad but true.

John M said...

Tom from GA is right about all of that, it's the more macro picture our team travails are playing against.

Or should I say, it's all part of the same, soul-sucking, conformist, crazed luxurification of everything that seems to also be happening in every major city in western civilization.

Like the Yankees, ya get the feeling that somehow none of this is going to end well.

Hermodorus said...

Due to "austerity measures," it appears the Steinbrenning Scum have absolutely no interest in the fireballing Otani.

Of course the Red Sox and Rangers do. They will spend to win.

el duque said...

What's really sad was that we began to look at Swisher as a unique artistic voice. The only thing non-conformist about him is the way he addresses female announcers as "Man."

Tom from GA said...

New York in the 1970s: The Bronx was burning, people in the bleachers were drunk and crazy, and the players had not been trained in the art of saying nothing while still giving quotes. Look at movies set in New York; it was still gritty and grungy and unique. Now it's all been scrubbed away, and even the Bleacher Creatures have been bleached clean. In a lot of ways, it's great that so many neighborhoods have been cleaned up and that you are much less likely to go to Yankee Stadium to see a bunch of wasted young men throwing wild haymakers at each other. On the other hand, goon squads who now provide security at the stadium are a poor substitute for the fearsome energy of standing with about 5,000 others in the centerfield bleachers and screaming "Boston Sucks" at the back of Fred Lynn's head so ferociously that he was visibly nervous. Those were the days, even if the clothes were ridiculous.

el duque said...

And people complained about Yankee fans booing then, as well. When we lost to the Dodgers in the World Series, they had to put cops on the field in the late innings, because people were throwing batteries.

Let's not forget the ending to the 2004 collapse, with SWAT teams standing along both foul lines. The Yankee fans never react well to losing the last game of the season.