Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Jack's Got Your Back
2008-07-17 05:41
by Alex Belth

Last night I was on the uptown platform at 103rd street. I had just missed a train. There was a tall, dark lady cop on the platform. I said hello as I passed her. Then, I started making small talk, about staying up late for the All-Star game. I asked if she ever worked up at the Stadium and she said that she did and that it was a fun beat.

"Unless, they are playing the Red Sox. Too much alcohol. Then we have to take people out."

She didn't mean escort them out, she meant take them out. By any means necessary. She looked up the platform as we spoke and said there are usually around thirty arrests when the Sox are in town.

I held out my hand and introduced myself.

"My name is Jack," she said and pointed to her badge. It read, "Jack." Not Jackie, not Jacklyn. Jack.

Yes, M'am.

Jack went on to tell me that when she works the Stadium she is stationed where the visiting players' wives sit. She said the wives tell her how much safer it is at the Stadium than in other parks around the league. Go figure that, right?

"They told me that teams generally have to bring their own security with them at other places. Not here. Not since Steinbrenner adopted a zero-tolerance policy."

Jack then told me, with considerable pride, about how quickly two fans were bounced on two nights earlier during the home run derby. It was when Josh Hamilton hit one into the black seats and two kids chased after it. I was watching on TV and recall seeing a cop put his hands around one of the kids' neck.

Jack shook her head and smiled.

She said that the cops working inside the Stadium are not on the job, they are paid privately "by Steinbrenner."

Hey, I'd feel pretty safe if Jack had my back. Man, it sure ain't like the old days no more.

2008-07-17 06:19:38
1.   Sliced Bread
Great stuff here, and at, Alex.
That's a fact, Jack!

"Farm-ing-dale!" Too damn funny. Old buddy of mine, a high school Spanish teacher, lives out there, but he's more likely to give F-dale a shoutout at Shea.

Speaking of suburbanites, anybody check out the Billy Joel show last night? Sounds like it was a good one. And see in the paper today that the Yanks are planning a closing ceremony for Nov. 9, inviting all living Yankees (does this include Pavano?), and trying to line up all the musical acts that have played at the Stadium.

"Pink Floyd, Yogi. Yogi, Pink Floyd."

2008-07-17 06:21:35
2.   Alex Belth
I was wondering, I'm sure that other stadiums probably can't afford to hire cops like the Yanks can, right?
2008-07-17 06:21:39
3.   monkeypants
Alex, nice piece on the Stadium II. I'm one of those "suburban" (or perhaps better, "tourist") fans, and yoru characterization is spot on.

One teeny, tiny error: when Yankee Stadium II reopened in 1976, left-center field was 430' (!!), still living up pretty well to the old "Death Valley" moniker.

It was shortened to 411' (and then 399') in the 80s.

2008-07-17 06:22:34
4.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I caught that and sent in a note to the editor...Good lookin.
2008-07-17 06:30:11
5.   monkeypants
4 I'm a nut about these kinds of things. I could swear that for one season LCF was 401', before it finally settled at 399'. But I have never been able to find anything to back that up. Maybe the mind plays tricks.

My biggest disappointment about the new Stadium is that they did not take advantage of the massive plot of land to invoke the older dimension a little more. Obviously there weren't going to make it 450' to CF or the like, but I thought that pushing LCF out to 400' or 405' (crossing the symbolic 400 foot line) would have been a nice homage to the old Death Valley without changing the field play too dramatically.

Oh well.

2008-07-17 06:40:06
6.   rsmith51
I think part of it is that other teams can be very anti-Yankee. I went to an away post-season game in Detroit and was berated for the entire game even though I didn't say a word, just wore my Yankee jersey.

I have heard Yankee fans aren't very nice to visiting fans, either. My brother-in-law likes to tell a story where some White Sox fans went to Yankee Stadium and caught a HR ball. A Yankee fan reached over and took the ball away and said "Welcome to New York".

I can understand when fans are annoying or obnoxious, but if a fan is just minding their own business and watching the game, leave them alone.

2008-07-17 06:40:58
7.   rsmith51
6 other teams= other team's fans
2008-07-17 06:44:46
8.   Dimelo
0 My brother works as NYPD undercover cop, he's taken assignments to go work at the stadium and sit amongst the crowd.

That f'er has been there for '96 World Series, '98 Series, 2003 ALCS Game 7 - to name a few. Hell yeah, I've been pissed....but then I realize he can go to the stadium for free all he wants but he'll never be able to blaze like me.

Then I feel better about myself.

2008-07-17 06:56:12
9.   Sliced Bread
2 I think the uniformed cops who work games and concerts at the Garden are paid by the Dolans.
I'm not sure if other cities allow off-duty uniformed cops to do side jobs, but NYPD officers are allowed to do security at restaurants, stores, etc.
2008-07-17 06:58:06
10.   Dimelo
10 The only place they can't do off-duty security work for are bars, nightclubs and cabarets.
2008-07-17 07:00:47
11.   Sliced Bread
10 in other words, everywhere ARod goes. What does the NYPD have against the third baseman?
2008-07-17 07:07:27
12.   Dimelo
11 Jealous one's envy I guess
2008-07-17 07:17:00
13.   Ken Arneson
My section at the Oakland Coliseum is directly across the aisle from the visiting family section. There are ushers, who can call for the stadium cops if they need to. But I've never witnessed any incident that would give any reason to hire extra security in the section.

Perhaps when the Red Sox and Yankees are in town, it's different, but I generally avoid those games, because the crowds are hostile in general. Which means you want more security in general.

BTW, I'm going to the A's-Yankees game on Sunday, sitting up in the nosebleed seats down the right field line. Am I going to be harrassed if I quietly sit there wearing my A's hat?

2008-07-17 07:24:10
14.   Sliced Bread
13 I'm guessing you won't be hassled much.
Sunday matinees tend to draw more of the ice cream and pop corn crowd than angry drunks.
Hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable visit.
2008-07-17 07:27:42
15.   Sliced Bread
13 but if you're wearing a Papelbon jersey beneath your A's lid, all bets are off. Even the popcorn and ice cream crowd might give you guff.
2008-07-17 07:40:17
16.   weeping for brunnhilde
Alex, I just have to say, not only do I admire your writing, but I really admire your easy ability to chat up lady cops in the subway, humanizing your little corner of the world as you go along.

I hope we run into each other somewhere about town someday, you strike up a conversation with me, and during the conversation it comes out that we already know each other from the Banter. How cool would that be?

Seriously, keep up the good work and thanks so much for brining us these little vignettes. They warm my heart.

2008-07-17 07:43:01
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
8 Ha ha ha hah ah aha h !!

That's the spirit, Dimelo!

2008-07-17 07:52:59
18.   Raf
5 I was hoping the monuments would be in play like they were @ the original stadium. But I can see why they wouldn't do it. Death Valley became "Life Support" Valley back in 88, when Jack Clark came to town. Don't know if he was the reason why they moved them in. But to me, it's a bit cool to see how the fences have come in little by little, when you look at an overhead shot, and you see the original retaining walls.

While I understand the politics behind renovating Yankee Stadium, I wonder had they not touched it, would its presence be bigger and grander than Fenway or Wrigley Field?

6 Exactly. They paid for their ticket to have a good time. While I don't mind good natured ballbusting, a lot of times fans cross the line.

8 That was hilarious!

9 Given the relatively low pay (the reason I didn't join), I can see why they would allow moonlighting.

13 Nah, you won't have any problems.

16 From experience, I can say Alex is real chill to talk with.

2008-07-17 08:34:14
19.   dianagramr
Yankee Stadium dimensions thru the years:

2008-07-17 09:09:00
20.   cult of basebaal
slight correction, alex. nettles didn't break spaceman's arm ... lee tore up his shoulder when he landed on it after nettle's threw him to the ground ...
2008-07-17 09:10:09
21.   bartap74
"They told me that team's generally have to bring their own security with them at other places."

The plural of team is teams, not team's.

Sorry, pet peeve. Lynne Truss would understand.

2008-07-17 09:15:16
22.   Alex Belth
Hey 21, thanks for the correction. I fixed it. Much obliged.
2008-07-17 09:18:59
23.   Raf
19 That is all kinds of awesome. Thanks for the link!
2008-07-17 10:16:57
24.   Alex Belth
Right on, D, that graphic is amazing. I'll link to it in a post...
2008-07-17 12:09:20
25.   OldYanksFan
Great writing Alex. I haven't been to the stadium in 2 decades, but it feels like you captured it perfectly.


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