Quality sports hate

Even if you don’t care about baseball, you have to loathe the Yankees after reading this tale of attending a Yankees game:

My father-in-law was thrilled when we reached our seats. He couldn’t believe it. He’d never had seats this good. “Hey,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “maybe we’ll catch a foul ball.”

I looked around. “We got a shot,” I said.

“You know,” he continued, “I’ve been coming to Yankees games for 65 years. Never caught a foul ball.”

Never caught a foul ball? Celebrating his 71st birthday? My father-in-law? Kids, we have a mission.

So we got to the seats, and remember, these were crazy good, expensive seats. Sitting behind us in Row 2 were four kids who I’d guess were between the ages of 8 and 10. A couple of things immediately stuck out about these kids:

1. They were bragging to one another about all the different toys, vacations, servants, whatever they all had.
2. There were no parents in sight.

Apparently, they were just dumped there or something. I know baseball is America’s pastime and kids are cute, but let me tell you something, and I’m not gonna lie. These kids were superannoying. They came across as spoiled, rich kids. They were loud, demanding and, just like you would expect of unsupervised children, completely without a care about anyone around them.

They were discussing foul balls and bragging to one another about how many they had. This one had five, this one had three, a third had four, so on and so on. They apparently came to these seats a lot.

The game started, and we were close enough that the players could hear us. The kids knew this. And started screaming at the players.

“Throw us a ball! Give us a ball! Hey, mister, we want a ball! Give us a ball! Hey, throw the ball here! We want a ball! Please, mister, throw us a ball!” On and on they went. “Hey, mister! Mister! MISTER! GIVE US A BALL!”

If you think that is annoying to read, imagine it being screamed during the game, constantly, inning after inning, directly behind you. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Yankees went 1, 2, 3 with the final out a ground out. As the Blue Jays ran off the field, first baseman Carlos Delgado (told you it was a while ago) tossed the ball up into the stands. Many folks went for it, but I came down with it.

I turned to my father-in-law, all smiles. “Here’s your ball, Joe.”

As he looked at the ball, the kids started yelling. “Can we have the ball? Hey, mister, we want that ball. Give us the ball!” “We’ve been yelling,” and so on. My father-in-law turned to me and said, “If you want to give the kids the ball, that’s OK.”

Hells. No.

My father-in-law was a softy. I’m not. And I was not going to give up Joe’s first foul ball in 65 years so some spoiled brats could add it to their collection. Just because you beg for something in an annoying manner does not mean your efforts are rewarded. Learned that while dating in high school.

But some wise guy a few rows behind the kids started a chant. “Give-the-kid-the-ball. Give-the-kid-the-ball.” It picked up steam. “Give! The Kid! The Ball! Give! The Kid! The Ball!” Soon, the whole section was chanting this. GIVE! THE KID! THE BALL! GIVE! THE KID! THE BALL!

I ignored it and tried to watch the game. The kids turned from annoying to nasty. “Hey [mouth-washed-out-with-soap word No. 1]! Give us the ball, [mouth-washed-out-with-soap word No. 2]! He was throwing the ball to us, [mouth-washed-out-with-soap word No. 3, which, frankly, I’m not sure where an 8-to-10-year-old kid would learn].”

We continued to try to watch the game.

Then the food bombardment started. Peanuts, hot dogs and beer were thrown at us. Repeatedly. Security was nowhere to be found. We asked folks to stop, which made it worse. We tried to ignore it. But the food, beer and insults kept coming.

Order was finally restored a half-inning later when the first-base umpire came over and handed the kids some balls. The kids bragged to us. “Told you we’d get a ball, a–hole.”

And that’s why I hate the Yankees.

It’s not just the team and the way it is run. It’s not just its owner or the cheating, performance-enhancing drug users A-Rod and Andy Pettitte.

It’s the collective known as Yankee Nation.

I came away from that game with a hatred of the Yankees and was absolute in this belief: Yankees fans are subhuman. Everything they and the Yankees stand for was represented during that half-inning. Like the kids, they are spoiled and demanding and see things only from their self-indulgent point of view. Like the adults, they act out when they don’t get their way.

Of course, there is a better reason to despise the Yankees. They are, after all, the New York Yankees.