The Yankees logo may stand for pride and tradition in baseball circles, but according to a tally conducted by the New York Times, it is also the preferred fashion statement for criminals in New York City.
The survey, which was conducted by reviewing NYPD news releases, revealed that more than 100 people either committed a crime or were arrested/arraigned wearing Yankees apparel. Meanwhile, only about a dozen Mets hats popped up under such circumstances. Unfortunately for the Mets, however, one of those instances actually involved one of their players.
The New York Times story offered more than a few theories as to why Yankees apparel has become so popular among the criminal element, but one timely reason was what one criminologist called the “Jay-Z effect”. Maybe the rapper really has made “the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”, but not in a desirable way?
According to Frankie Y. Bailey, an associate professor at the University of Albany, the Yankees apparel is a homage to the famous rapper and not the team. “He wears it and makes it look cool,” Bailey told the New York Times. “It’s almost like the Yankees have acquired a kind of street rep, a coolness.”
Several other just as credible theories were also advanced in the Times story, but the Yankees need to pay careful attention to Bailey’s statement. The image represented by the Yankee brand is not only important from a historical standpoint, but an economic one as well. Comingling that brand with elements beyond the game, whether it be rap, college football or whatever else, requires careful scrutiny because if damaged, it could be difficult to repair.