Hired Goons: How the Yankees Keep the Home Fans Quiet
Fans of Toronto beware: the New York Yankees can pretty much kick any fan out of Rogers Centre. How you ask? Bullpen trolls. Individuals paid to travel with the team to enforce and control the fan environment that their players participate in. On the surface, this may seem harmless, but on Friday night during the Blue Jays-Yankees matchup, these individuals preyed on fans who did nothing but be fans. They told the Yankees bullpen staff they sucked, booed them, creatively chirped them and then, as if a threat to the safety of these players, these fans were removed by police, one bloodied and arrested.
To eschew any accusations of bias, I and many others in our section witnessed two individuals in Yankees jackets, complete with Yankees lanyard ID tags walk into our seating area and point out to Toronto police two fans who were chirping and heckling the Yankees bullpen. One individual, who was later violently arrested, did nothing but look at these two Yankees “men in black”. After starting a chant to the tune of “Yankees suck”, one of these bullpen trolls decided to photograph me with their mobile device. With a disgusting smile, he waved at me.
My response was not as kind.
As a fan, my rights are to cheer, jeer, chant, yell, boo and generally vocalize my adulation of the home team or my derision of the visitor. That’s what my ticket gets me. I am allowed to disagree.
One thing that is not allowed is for a member of a foreign organization to have any say in who is removed from a game for breaking rules of a ballpark they do not call home. The last time I checked, only the Toronto Blue Jays security team and Metropolitan Toronto police can make that call. Any interference or perceived influence to allow a visiting team the right to dictate the overall fan experience to that team’s fans is ludicrous.
Seeking answers, I approached the two men, specifically the one who photographed me. I asked two very simple questions: a) what is your job and b) why did you take a picture of me?
“You need to sit down, or I will remove you as well.”
Who the hell are these members of the baseball empire so grossly bloated with cash that they can come in to our stadium and talk to me like they’re Darth Vader? These men were not having anything to do with my inquiries and stepped away.
This is pretty awful, even by Yankees standards. One can say that I am biased in this, and yes, the Blue Jays did end up losing 9-4, but to be honest, when this was happening, my head was in a different place, further away from baseball than I had planned.
This story has nothing to do with Toronto’s regularly scheduled series blowout defeat, one that Jays fans have seen in every series thus far.
It has more to do with the hatred for the New York Yankees and the fact that they are so audacious as to bring in their hired goons to keep Mariano Rivera from having to hear that he’s super old. News flash: he is.
A great man once said, if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. The Yankees modelled their entire travel strategy to match this ideal. Perhaps they paraphrased by saying “If you don’t like what’s being said, take whoever said it and remove them from the conversation, even if it means using ridiculous methods of extreme overkill.”
I have never been one to believe in filing a report, but this time? I absolutely did. I felt the situation ruined the game and conjured up new feeling of hatred for the Yankees. The last time I hated the Yankees this much was a few years back, when Josh Towers hit A-Rod in the leg with a fastball, causing two successive bench-clearing fights. Perching myself at section 120, I wrote a detailed report, describing the situation.
This issue is under review by Toronto Blue Jays and I should hear soon on what can be done about these interlopers deciding fan fate.