A New York Yankees spokesperson has informed the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) that the singing of homophobic lyrics at Yankee Stadium will not be tolerated, and any fan engaging in such action will be ejected from the premises. Although you’d like to think that such a policy would go without saying, recent actions at game three of the ALDS necessitated the announcement. Sadly, such behavior has become all too common in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium.
One of the best parts of the new Yankee Stadium is the bleachers are not only inexpensive, but they provide an excellent view of the ballgame. Unfortunately, however, they have also become a haven for abhorrent behavior. I was lucky enough to attend game three in the left field bleachers, and although I didn’t witness the homophobic parody mentioned above, the level of profanity was discouraging. Apparently, to a disturbingly large percentage of section 237, cursing and berating Twins fans was of more interest than the game. Such behavior is not uncommon in the bleachers, and it’s time for the Yankees to put an end to it.
Yankee fans pride themselves on being knowledgeable and loyal, but those who behave like miscreants give all of us a bad name. It’s one thing to ride the opposition, and even the opposition’s fans, but quite another to be vulgar and abusive. If an increasingly vocal component of the fan base can’t control its behavior, it may be time for those who actually care about the game to demand that the Yankees take measures to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe environment. Whether it is removing alcohol sales from close proximity to the bleachers, increasing security or more strictly enforcing compliance with existing rules of conduct, the Yankees shouldn’t wait for complaints to show up on their doorstep.
In the meantime, the majority of Yankee fans, who are among the best in the game, need to send the message that vile behavior will not be tolerated. The Bleacher Creatures, in particular, should take ownership of this issue. Their pre-game roll call is the kind of ritual that exemplifies the passion of Yankee fans, so perhaps that group could use its influence to discourage those around them who get out of hand? The fact of the matter is every Yankee fan has the responsibility to expose those who not only embarrass the fan base, but the city as well. Otherwise, the negative stereotypes often used to disparage Yankee fans will turn out to be well deserved.