Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Lambs Lie Down on Broadway
2008-08-27 18:49
by Alex Belth

Okay, well they weren't technically on Broadway but close enough.  Point is, the Yanks got served again by the Red Sox.  Thought they'd get saved by the mercy rule, but you've got to be down by ten for that to kick in, and right now there is no mercy for the Yanks or their fans.

It was close for a minute--a two run game after seven--then Jose Veras and David Robertson got bombed in the eighth and that was that.  11-3 was the final.  Sidney Ponson gave up four runs and didn't make it out of the fourth while Paul Byrd kept the Yankees off balance allowing just a couple of runs over six (I think the Bombers must have hit three or four homers foul against him.)  Alex Rodriguez had a pair of doubles in his first two at bats, bouncing back from a tough game on Tuesday but that turned out to be a minor positive note in what turned out to be another uninspired loss. 

The Yanks are making this easy.  The way they are playing it's as if the end of the season can't come soon enough.  They don't seem to have any fight in them right now.  Man, even if they are going to miss the playoffs it'd be nice to see them play spoiler.  That seems like a stretch though doesn't it? 

Meanwhile, even more upsetting is this piece from Deadspin.  Reportedly, a fan was escorted from the Stadium recently for wanting to use the restroom while "God Bless America" played.  Did you guys even know the Yankees had a policy about fan movement during the playing of "God Bless America?"  I sure didn't.  Over at Futility Infielder, Jay Jaffe pulls no punches:

I've taken many a restroom break during "God Bless America" during my days and nights at Yankee Stadium, and I've not only never been harassed by anyone for doing so, I was never aware that they actually had a policy -- almost certainly illegal and blatantly unconstitutional -- to try to quell such activity. Nonetheless, given the ever-eroding quality of my own experiences at the stadium in recent years, I fear that the allegations are true.

Yankee Stadium security deserves no benefit of the doubt here, nor in this instance does the Steinbrenner family if they're the ones who have ordered the policy be implemented. Forcing paying customers to stand at rapt attention during a song isn't some cute little attempt at patriotism to bolster the legacy of Mr. Born on the Fourth of July Steinbrenner, it's FASCISM. Roughing them up over their failure to stand still during a canned recording of a song that's been drained of all meaning by its endless repetition is in diametric opposition to what the song and the country it so proudly celebrates stand for; this is about as un-American as you can get.

Furthermore, this incident puts the lie to any claim regarding "the hallowed ground of Yankee Stadium" at a time when the ballpark's history is being celebrated and its demise mourned. The Yankees deserve to reap all of the bad PR they've sown with this, and the Steinbrenner family can cram it up their Yankee Doodle Dandies until they figure out why they're in the wrong.

I didn't know about this Yankee Stadium policy but I think it an outrage. It doesn't exactly surprise me but it is beyond disappointing.

2008-08-27 20:05:47
1.   Cliff Corcoran
I'm calling it, folks. The Yankees' season is over. Time to prep for '09.

Meanwhile, that Deadspin story enrages me.

So I'm in a great mood heading into what will be my final game in the regular seating bowl of the Stadium tomorrow morning.

I'm tempted to bring a funeral wreath and heave it onto the field from my upper deck seats.


2008-08-27 20:21:44
2.   Max
Alex and Cliff, just wanted to say thanks for keeping the lights on around here even while a lot of us seem to be scrambling off the ship as quickly as we can. Seeing timely, thoughtful, and energetic posts immediately after games -- even disheartening or tedious losses -- is really appreciated.

As bad as things are now, I hope the energy picks back up when the September call-ups come around. I hope the team has it in them to play with some pride the rest of the way (and avoid a free fall toward the bottom of the division).

Thanks again, guys.

2008-08-27 20:27:02
3.   seattleyank
I'm a die-hard Yankee fan, but I'm an even bigger fan of the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. This enforced, hollow, mindless patriotism is utterly disgusting.
2008-08-27 20:27:03
4.   cult of basebaal
screw that. it's time to bring back my motto:

"we play today, we get one loss closer to a protected draft pick today."

pride is nice and all, but having a protected draft pick when you're about to go free agent shopping is a bit more useful, especially when you're going to get a bunch of draft picks from losing your own free agents.

mmmm ... protected draft picks ...

2008-08-27 20:54:21
5.   rsmith51
God Bless America got old by 2004. And is it really special if they play a recording every night?
2008-08-27 20:56:52
6.   Matt B
Yeah, yeah, but now Alex has lodged Peter Gabriel-era Genesis songs in my head.
2008-08-27 21:07:51
7.   Mattpat11
A couple of silver linings for me.

1. It may now be easier to get some tickets to the remaining games this year if there's nothing left for casual fans to see

2. If the Yankees punt the first month of the season again next year, I don't have to hear people tell me that its "early" and "look what they did last year!"

2008-08-27 21:46:18
8.   Cliff Corcoran
7 1) Not this year. Casual fans want to see the Staidum.

2) No worries, we'll tell you "look at what they did in 2005 and 2007"

2008-08-27 22:20:13
9.   randym77
I've been reading, just not posting much. What is there to say?

I can't even get that excited about September callups. We've seen most of these guys already. Out of desperation. The return of Chad Moeller, Shelley Duncan, and Melk-bone isn't exactly something to write home about.

I had never heard there was a policy against fan movement at Yankee Stadium. What happened to that guy is outrageous. Shouldn't happen even to a Red Sox fan.

Another reason I like minor league games. Even if you're breaking the rules, they try very hard not to throw you out.

2008-08-27 22:34:33
10.   thelarmis
4 great quote, cult!

6 the amazing Paul Gilbert did a solo acoustic version of 'the lamb lies down on broadway' on his Gilbert Hotel cd!

it sucketh majorly that we lost these 2 games. twins won, too. we're cooked. a-rod, i believe, is 2 hits away from 1,000 extra base hits. that's nothing to sneeze at...

2008-08-28 02:31:10
11.   OldYanksFan
2 I second Max's sentiment. Losing is tough, but the Banter is a lifeline in a sea of depressing Post Seasons... and now the regular season.

They say it aint ovah till the Kate Smith sings, but our annual round of thanks to Alex and Cliff signal the Yankees demise.

Misery loves company, but having the Banter and the Banterers and taken the Yankee's season and turned it into more then just baseball.

God... I hope I don't have to face another N.E. winter with the Sox on top.

I really, really, REALLY though the boys would put on a charge and take at least 2 of 3. Silly me.

2008-08-28 03:53:49
12.   williamnyy23
11 Kate Smith appears nightly in about the 7th inning of every home game. Maybe that's the problem? At the very least, it brings the God Bless America theme full circle.

9 If the Yankees were smart, they would immediately pull the plug on Ponson, Rasner and Pavano, call up Kennedy, Hughes as well as anyone else for whom they have hope. Of course, Girardi keeps repeating the silly mantra about only having to win the next game and believing in the guys in the room, so we'll probably see a September full of retreads and the pitiful, uninspired play they produce.

It's time to get a head start on next season right now. This team has pretty much quit, so there is no reason that the organization should be reticent about quitting on them.

2008-08-28 04:30:02
13.   Bronxer
I will be at the game this afternoon, my final visit to The Stadium. While I don't want to dwell on this season so much anymore, two thoughts:
1 - Why didn't the Yanks put in a claim on Byrd - he's better than what they put on the mound as #4 and #5.
2 - Some said Manny was a 'Yankee killer', but Bay is 4-8 with six RBI.

Finally, I'll test the 'no restroom break during God Bless America' policy today.

2008-08-28 05:13:07
14.   Shaun P
4 Here here!

The Yanks will need some help, but its doable if they play poorly. The first order of business is to fall behind Toronto.

The only hang-up is the Yanks need a win today for Moose. But then, they can lose the next 4 games with no worries.

2008-08-28 05:46:48
15.   Ken P
I've been at every Sunday game for the last three years, and I specifically time my bathroom breaks for the 7th inning so I don't have to be in the stands for God Bless America. Nobody has ever tried to stop me or even given me a second look, nor have I ever run into chains to prevent me from leaving.

While I did find the post and the linked article deeply disturbing, I simply have not ever seen evidence of such a policy being enforced. I think the problem here was the policeman who decided it would be fun to throw his badge in somebody's face and give them a hard time.

2008-08-28 05:50:46
16.   Rob Middletown CT
Jaffe nailed it.

5 God Bless America got old in 2002 Right after 9/11, I understood. I've never liked the song much, but fine, ok, special circumstances. But then they made it into part of the normal process of a Yankee game. Ugh.

2008-08-28 06:06:04
17.   williamnyy23
15 I agree. I go to many games every season and have never witnessed any restrictions during God Bless America. Something tells me, this was Red Sox fan who was being loud and obnoxious in his section who met up with two cops on a power trip who were irritated by his behavior.

In addition to GBA, there are a few other traditions that I would like to see die with the old new Stadium, including Cotton Eye Joe, YMCA and stupid songs before every batter.

2008-08-28 06:08:11
18.   Sliced Bread
Yeah, the Yanks should do the right thing, and send that unfortunate chap a "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee" t-shirt.
2008-08-28 06:37:12
19.   JohnnyC
17 Don't know if the guy's a Red Sox fan but he was interviewed last night on the news and admitted saying to the cops, "I don't care about God Bless America," or words to that effect. The cops side of the story is that the guy was standing on his seat and screaming obscenities throughout. NY cops are notably sensitive about the GBA thing because of 9/11.
2008-08-28 06:43:10
20.   FreddySez
This is a huge story that has lurked just under the radar for years: The experience of attending a game at Yankee Stadium has gotten completely dehumanizing and fascistic. (And I'm a person who usually recoils at the casual use of that word.)

No one loves the Yankees or their building more than I do. But every time I go there, I come into direct contact with dozens of employees who need a bust in the mouth, stat. Cue the roll call:

* The security guys at the gates who stop the line dead for no reason -- hundreds of people lined up on the sidewalk, zero people in the turnstiles -- claiming "congestion."

* The guy whose job it is to put on a thousand-yard stare and shout, "MONUMENT PARK IS NOW CLOSED AND WILL NOT REOPEN" 90 minutes before game time. (It's supposed to be open until 45 minutes before.)

* The counter staff who shuffle around chatting with each other while people miss two innings to get a hot dog -- workers who never seem to grasp that you should start the hot dogs cooking early enough so that I can buy one on my way in. They publish the game times; why do I ever have to be told they're "not ready yet"?

* The stadium operations goons who seem to fear they'll lose their union cards if a single stadium patron is able to converse with the person next to him. If I want a bad arena rock concert I know where to go. Turn the fucking music down or I am going to start a revolution over this one.

* The security personnel who invoke "safety" to funnel 55,000 people out a handful of exits instead of opening them all. Let's say I've watched the game from Section 20, near third base, and I'd like to go out Gate 2 because I'm headed to the subway. Oops, here's a crowd control barrier and a couple of guards (or cops) turning the whole crowd around. Can't go that way -- it isn't "safe." So everyone squeezes back to Gate 4 behind the plate, and... whoa, surprise, we've all gone right through the YANKEES TEAM STORE! Plus now I've got to walk an extra half mile to get to the subway. Thanks, assholes.

* Or, if I'm driving back to Westchester, how about the cops (I know they're not employees but I'm on a roll) who block access to the northbound Deegan for no reason a human can discern... so the trek down to 138th Street, up a ramp, through multiple traffic lights and back north again becomes a Ho Chi Minh trail of wasted time and gas.

Okay, I'm ranting. But here's the point. For many years, every stadium employee whom I've seen come into contact with the public has fronted this attitude: "We've already got your money, so sit down, shut up and go home as soon as possible." After Donnie went yard in 95ALDSG2 and the place went nuts, I actually had a person in Yankee staff attire look at me and say, "I hate Yankee fans. We all do."

And here's the secondary point: I cannot get anyone to talk about this. It's a big, open secret. If I had the resources and spare time, I'd do a hidden-camera expose. I would love to see George Vescey or someone just take the stadium staff to town, rip them a new one. In the Year of Cathedral Apotheosis, I suppose the chances of that are slim.

Yes, I'm frothing. But am I wrong here?

2008-08-28 07:49:43
21.   Bob B
5 and 16 Worse has been the playing of "Take me out to the ball game".............we are NOT Cub fans.
2008-08-28 08:39:11
22.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh my God.

What a profoundly chilling story.

I've always been unnerved by the hyperbolic jingoism of the Stadium since they blew up the World Trade Center, but my God, this is a whole new level of alarm.

Just wow.

2008-08-28 09:00:30
23.   JL25and3
15 You leave before GBA, so that wouldn't be a problem. I think the issue is when people try to leave during the song.

I loathe the song, always have. but I've become a big fan of the 3-second moment of silence. In fact, last time I was there it was a beat short of 3 seconds.

2008-08-28 09:01:19
24.   JL25and3
21 Every stadium plays Take Me Out to the Ballgame. They always have.
2008-08-28 09:18:29
25.   Bob B
21 Eddie Layton used to play it before the game, not in between the 7th inning night after night. It was an occasional piece.
2008-08-28 09:33:58
26.   Raf
19 If that's the case, then he is an ass. There is no reason to be screaming obscenities, at that time or any other. Especially during a solemn (contrived or not) period

23 I have no issue with the moment of silence, think it's a good idea, actually.

2008-08-28 14:59:50
27.   randym77
If he actually was standing on his seat screaming obscenities, there must be a ton of witnesses. You can't tell me a Red Sox fan could stand on his seat screaming obscenities in Yankee Stadium and not be noticed.

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