Thursday, May 11, 2006


Adventures of Reb & Jere: *Layin' Low in the Nosebleeds*

I was running late at usual, but managed to find parking at the Fairfield train station and hustle over the bridge to the inbound side in time to buy my round-trip from the machine and even get a little antsy while waiting on the platform.

I found seating across from a woman and her young son. Throughout the near-ninety-minute train ride I smiled as he asked his mother the silliest questions like "what's your least favorite show on television?" Across the aisle a young couple seemed destined for the same eventual location as myself, the guy wearing a white-on-white arachnid hat and tan yankee jersey. (what are those tan jerseys from, anyway?) A wealthy Westonite sat across from them, chattering away in her earpiece about hotel reservations, rustic resorts, convalescent accommodations, charity events, and adopting a little girl from China. Her designer jeans were to-die-for. Her voice and demeanor held my attention, as they reminded me of my cousin (sister of the one mentioned in a recent post.)

I spent my train ride working on a project for Jere. I'm sure it looked unusual, but no one asked why I was sewing with embroidery thread on the train. I had cut the letters out of the red knit cotton of a child's Papelbon t-shirt and glued them to a white knit backdrop. On the train I stitched the letters to secure them, then hemmed the edges of my piece. By the time I finished we were in the Bronx, and I put it away carefully in the pocket of my bag.

I weaved my way through Grand Central quickly, and into the subway tunnels to wait for the six-train. Silly to go all the way to GC only to head back uptown, in my opinion, but Jere wanted it this way, and he had my tickets so... I waited. And waited. Boston fans aplenty smiled and joked as a group of girls made nasty comments nearby.
"Where did all these Boston people come from?"
"Go home."
"wait, didn't the yankees lose last night?"
"well maybe you should shut your mouth?"
"nuh-uh. gotta be a true fan and support my team even if they lose. I can't watch 'em on tv anyway - too boring."

"Yankees Suck" exclaims a guy to my right.
"They sure did last night," I replied, smiling.

The group of Boston fans get on the 4-train. A 5-train comes and goes. After about fifteen or twenty minutes, a 6-train arrives and the crowd collected crams into it like sardines. I get off at 77th, as instructed, and Jere directs me to squeeze right back on. We make it, just barely, but end up waiting for his friend Jenny at 86th, who wasn't so lucky. I pull out my little sewing project, and Jere seems pleased. We arrange it over the numbers on his Damon t-shirt, and I start whip-stitchin' it down. Jenny comes along and we're back to squishing on the train, this time with truly no personal space. We get to Yankee Stadium, finally, and sit down on the wall outside of McDonald's courtyard across the street. I finish sewing so Jere can put the shirt on for all to see as we walk into the stadium. As he puts it on I notice a guy behind us immediately reach for his cellphone to snap a picture.

I'm disappointed that it came out a little crooked, but in my defense I was doing this job in my lap at best (when not in the middle of the air in Jere's hands,) not on a table, and our friend Jere was not exactly waiting patiently.

We found our seats and sat down while I ate the necessary-lest-I-starve-and-fall-down-the-upper-deck Nathan's (sans relish, mind you, apparently the toilet has something against the minced-pickle dressing I find crucial to a decent-tasting dog.)

From there we tried to spot Michael Leggett, who had sent Jere his seat assignment. Indeed, we spotted him, and headed off around the park to say Hi over in tier 22. I am always surprised, when I meet people I've gotten to know through blogging, at how much they are like how I imagined them; there always seems to be traits that I unknowingly expected. Michael is a jovial fellow, with a pleasant smile and an excitable demeanor. I have suspected (as Jere suggested to me long ago) Michael's unusual writing style to be a reflection of the way he speaks, and indeed this proved to be the case. It was a pleasure to meet you, Michael, and perhaps we will meet up again sometime, like at that Toronto game we both have tickets for.

Yankee fans seem to have a lot to say about class, but when it comes time to demonstrate, few are generally interested (unless they've brought a little kid along to the game.) As the fans continued to find their seats around us in the first couple innings, Jere was notably pleased by our immediate neighbors around the vicinity of row S, seats 9 & 10 in tier 15. The couple behind us wore no yankee gear. They seemed to be rooting for the skanks, but also seemed genuinely amused by Jere's modified T-shirt. Directly in front of us a woman sat alone with two empty seats on either side. She also wore no gear but supported the dark side. In front of her was a family with two small children.

Poor child. A lifetime of hubris awaits him. Jere joked about sneaking the boy baseball cards of Red Sox players while the father wasn't looking. Next to Jere on our right was his co-worker Jenny and a friend of hers - yankee fans as well, but not too likely to be trying to get in our faces. The seats to my left were empty for quite awhile before a guy lumbered up to sit next to me in the bottom of the second. He was wearing a yankee jersey, but was pleasant enough as he explained that he had drank so many beers already that it took fifteen minutes to find his seat. He was joined by his friends not too long afterward. "Asians... Perfect." Jere whispered. Asian guys can be loud and obnoxious, but are rarely violent or confrontational. Despite being surrounded by yankee fans in the upper deck, we were in pretty safe company - as long as we could keep our mouths shut.

Edit: ok, I missed something here. This is what jere meant by liking the fact thatwe had Asians next to us:

Reb, please clear up my "Asians" comment on your post. I said that it was good that we had people from another country next to us, because a drunken, racist, white-boy yankee fan might hate them as much for not being American as they'd hate us for wearing Sox stuff. So I felt a little safer because of it.

Personally I don't see how that would make us safer, and I stand by my comment about asians being less violent and confrontational from a cultural standpoint. Also, I'm pretty sure these guys were American, just not Caucasion, but whatever.

While Papi kicked the night off right...

...We know that didn't last. There were a lot of Sox fans up where we were, but Jere said it was a low turnout in comparison to recent years, most likely because it was a weeknight. It wasn't nearly as bad as what jere was describing to me (via Sam) from the night before, but as the night went on and people got drunker, one could not walk up or down the stairs with Sox gear on without people yelling and getting in their faces, and I can only imagine how much worse it could have gotten had the yanks not had a comfortable lead.

The decks are pretty rowdy, and security at the toilet seems to be um, a lot more stringent than Fenway - and for good reason, as far as I can tell, as the crowd seems to be looking for trouble and borderline explosively violent. This does not, in my opinion, excuse security literally pushing red sox fans out of the bleachers, forcibly overboard and visible from my bird's-eye seat. The security on our section was busy. Here's the first ejection I saw. It seems this guy wearing the number seven hit the girl next to him, although from the way he could barely walk I think it may have been an accident.

This harmless looking preppie couple were next. Jere speculated that they had lit up a joint. The huge melon in the left foreground of this picture is the drunk Asian yankee fan sitting next to me.

Not too long after this, the batteries in both of our cameras died (and in my rush out the door on the way to the train, it seems I dropped my back-ups) so the rest of our stay at the toilet goes undocumented. Honestly, it was mostly more drunk ejections in addition to the same disappointing non-clutch moments you all saw on TV. Then it was a long pushing-and-shoving walk to the subway tracks, where we failed to squeeze onto the first train and waited for the second. We rode it to Grand Central and debated glumly over our trip to the hotel.

We wondered. It had taken so long to get there, it was hard to believe we would catch any of them getting back. Plus it didn't seem like any fun, having lost, but I told Jere we were probably more depressed about it than they were.

We were wrong on both counts. After stopping at the pharmacy for batteries and going the wrong direction before finding the hotel, we arrived just in time to watch a bus pull up... And Jere on my cell with his girlfriend failed to get his batteries in his camera in time to get any shots off. And of course my camera's painfully slow and never gets exactly what I want, but here's what I got:

Papa Jack

Dougie and Jason

Josh Beckett is studly

And our boys look as downcast as we do. We saw others, of course, and I would have loved to have caught Kevin Youkilis, who was staring right at us in clear recognition AS HE ALWAYS DOES when we see him. (He looks at us like we're crazy; just what are you telling him about us, Mr Youkilis?)

By this time I have to use the bathroom quite badly, and I was able to use the one in the hotel last year, so we head inside toward the elevator. A security guy stops us and insists we must have a key. We find another hotel down the street and use theirs instead. (Seriously, dude, I really needed it.) We wait around for awhile, but it's clear nothing's going on, and I still need to get the train back to Connecticut.

We're both pretty tired at this point... It was a long and disappointing night. During my train ride home I found I had lost my voice, and it was nearly four by the time my head hit the pillow. Still I would do it all over again.

A tea & lemon will help that throat, Reb.

yankee "Fans" know so little about their own stadium. Many are unaware of the beer ban in the Bleachers, which went into effect on May 15th, 1998. Two Co-eds were sitting next to me, asking me why the "Bleacher Creatures" are pointing fingers at someoneb in the bleachers during "YMCA".

Quite-simply, they're singing an unprintable version of the song. On 1 ocassion, some guy was propositioned for purposes of fellatio.

BJ Surhoff & BJ Ryan, got the chant of "B--- J--", from this crew.

I find it to be an honour to be in your company.
Reb, please clear up my "Asians" comment on your post. I said that it was good that we had people from another country next to us, because a drunken, racist, white-boy yankee fan might hate them as much for not being American as they'd hate us for wearing Sox stuff. So I felt a little safer because of it.
Mad props on the shirt. Homemade and heartfelt and therefore the exact opposite of Damon himself. ;)
I'll be in Section 16 Infield Grandstand, Row 3, Seat #1 on Saturday, September 2nd, for 7:05PM, Fenway, Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays.
I remember the start of The Oakland 22 Game Winning Streak in '02;

With yankees losing 7-0, yankee fans imploded on one another, with no one to pick on.
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