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Are Yankees fans "the best in the world?"

Oct 19, 2009, 9:25 AM EDT

Not my words.  They’re Lupica’s:

There aren’t fans better than this anywhere in the world. This isn’t about whether or not you love the Yankees. This is about Yankee fans.

There are other baseball fans in other cities, of course, Mets fans in this one. There are fans who come out strong for teams who haven’t won the way the Yankees won, who don’t make the playoffs just about every year the way the Yankees have since Joe Torre first came to town 13 years ago and the winning came back to the Yankees and the Bronx.

But no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.

Saying that any team’s fans are “the best” is obviously an exercise in biases, and there’s no better chance that people are going to agree on this question than they’d agree on religion.  Lupica is a New York guy who writes for a New York paper that is purchased by New York fans.  I have no doubt that he sincerely believes that Yankees fans are the best. But even if he didn’t, it’s not like he’d write that, say, the fans in Minnesota or Milwaukee or (shudder) Boston were better.  Assuming he was even proposing a way to measure it.

I’ll throw this out there though: wouldn’t one way to measure how great a teams’ fans are be to see how well they draw when the team isn’t winning?  Whether the fan base is of the fair weather variety?  If so, is it worth considering the following:

  • The Yankees were 1st in the American League in attendance from 1976-1981, when the team was winning a lot.
  • The Yankees fell out of the top spot in 1982 — to third — and didn’t lead the league again until 2003, finishing as low as 11th a couple of times when the team wasn’t playing well.  This despite the fact that they had one of the larger seating capacities in baseball over that time.
  • Contrast this with the Dodgers, who have only been out of the top 5 in NL attendance once in the last 90 years.  Or the Red Sox who have only been as low as 9th once in their history, despite having the smallest seating capacity in the game for almost all of that history. The Cardinals ranking has been more consistent than the Yankees too.

    I’ll grant that Yankees fans are pretty darn good — and it’s hard to find more knowledgeable fans than Yankees fans — but they’re not necessarily diehards.  Like the fans of most teams, they’ll stay home if the team isn’t winning.

    I’m not saying that disqualifies them from being the best fans in the world, but if I were Mike Lupica, I’d find a way to account for that before making the claim.

    1. StudleyHungwell - Oct 19, 2009 at 9:50 PM

      Yankmee fans, like their team and the team’s owner, SUCK!!! Mike Lupica must want access to the after-game buffet. What a suckup. How do you cover a team and be anywhere near objective with this sort of brown-nosing? Lupica ought to sue his journalism school for malpractice!

    2. go padres - Oct 19, 2009 at 10:36 PM

      The best fans stand toward the end of the game for each team, screaming their heads off. No one team has that corner of the market. The Yankee fans messed up autographing and picture-taking from the close-in field level seats at Angel Stadium – it’s still banned and all visiting teams are punished for the Yankee fans’ poor behavior. This is straight from the usher.

    3. RP - Oct 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM

      Trying to decide which team has the best fan base is an exercise in futility. But deciding that Lupica is a self-righteous douchebag is easy.

    4. Andy - Oct 20, 2009 at 1:16 AM

      THough anecdotal, i continue to hear about baseball front office guys growing up sox fans. And if you were to ask any front office personnel and writers which franchise is the best right now, you will hear Red Sox more often than not.
      SoSH message board members picking up on pitchers tipping…
      Boston fans seem to be very educated and loyal

    5. Ramon Vega jr - Oct 20, 2009 at 4:31 PM

      LOL what happend to the red little gay birdies!!! LOL GO CUBBIES GO!!!!

    6. Spice - Oct 21, 2009 at 12:22 PM

      WOW, did you have to consult a dictionary for all those big words?

    7. jaymen - Oct 21, 2009 at 2:07 PM

      Craig, you’re a clown… have you ever written a positive blog about the Yankees? …. and maybe you can tell me, what losing team draws huge crowds and why do expect NYer’s to be any different from any other fans? If I could AFFORD to go to more games, I would… get it?

    8. PIMPIN IN N Y C - Oct 22, 2009 at 3:10 PM


    9. comeonman - Oct 22, 2009 at 3:14 PM


    10. truenyyankee - Oct 23, 2009 at 2:33 AM

      It’s the PASSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    11. LARRYBIRDWHITEBOY - Oct 23, 2009 at 11:37 AM


    12. Jaymit - Oct 24, 2009 at 3:51 PM

      I think you forgot to turn off your caps lock.

    13. George - Oct 24, 2009 at 10:16 PM

      I’m a huge Yank fan, been die hard since the mid 70s and i have to say that ‘best fans’ is a tricky read. I’d have to say that Yanks fans are great, but i’m just not sure if they are the ‘best’. I guess it determines what you mean by ‘best’.
      I was in Anaheim the other day for Game 5 and the Yankee fans around me were loud and passionate. They were rooting like the world was ending tomorrow. You could see in their eyes that they desperately wanted to win. They were more intense than the Angels fans despite being the road team.
      Yanks fans are great no doubt,but you would really have to define ‘best’ and what it actually means.

    14. hblogsdon - Oct 26, 2009 at 2:32 AM

      Couldn’t agree with you more, but I will add that the Cubs teams and their fans have taken loyalty to a new level, a sublevel. If a team is consistently bad (let’s see, if measuring a team’s success level is based on the number of World Series crowns, and IT appears to be), then we’d have to say that Cubs fans are simply not following along.
      A team goes on a losing streak for 5 or 10 years, you can understand a general decline in season tickets sales and press attention, but when the drought is over 100 years long, that’s fan loyalty? That’s fan stupidity. It’s just a sport, true, and it shouldn’t be worth more space than I’m giving it right here, but Cubs fans, WAKE UP. The jinx is real and you’re the ones perpetuating it. You take idolatry to a new high. The teams haven’t accomplished IT! (See paragraph one.)
      Ignore them and they might revive on their own. (Ooo, secret’s out of the bag.)
      But, hey, I’m a Cards fan. And even though they (the Cards) blew it in the first round of playoffs, at least they were there (well, somewhat there). And, Cubs fans, the 2006 Cardinals, not expected to compete, won it all because no one really expected them to do anything. Understand what I mean by ignore them (national press), and they might just succeed. Fans and sports writers, quit putting so much pressure on these poor guys. (I mean, they’re only making millions of dollars. Ask Milton Bradley what I mean by that.)
      And in the meantime, I’ll stick with the Cards. Thanks, Tony, for re-signing, and I’ll give at least a preliminary thumbs up on Mark Maguire as the new hitting coach. Just keep it simple, Mark, as Pete Rose said, “See the ball, hit the ball “. With power. (Just don’t bet on the outcomes.) (and, Mark, I hope you do better than Pete Rose in his quest for acceptance into the Hall of Fame–another subject) Either tell the truth at the beginning and suffer the initial wave of finger-wagging, OR don’t tell and instead have great success as a hitting coach. Either way, it all goes away. Go, Cards.

    15. Various_Authors - Oct 26, 2009 at 6:30 AM

      As a Yankee fan I have to say that I think St. Louis fans are probably the best. And I agree with hblogsdon about Cubs fans. They’re more of a Yuppie “thing to do” than a fan base. How many times have I seen the 7th inning stretch, the Cubs losing 11-0, and the fans all smiling and singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame. They’re on another planet. Idiots.

    16. George Santana - Oct 26, 2009 at 9:52 AM

      The Yankee fans as the best? Get real…they are nothing more than arrogant boobs..the things they say make it sound like they really believe their team is on the same playing field as the other teams. Their management, the Stein-brutes, warn players and coaches and managers that “you better get into the playoffs” or you are toast.
      Does anyone remember the Billy Martin years? And how they treated Joe Torre? The whole Yankee organization down to the “go fers” that the players have is ridiculous and the NY fans are the dumbest on earth..ever hear one speak? Their collective IQ must be down around single digits. And it speaks volumns that Kate Hudson dates A-Fraud…she is as bad an actress as her fits…and is there something about the Yankees themselves, that they all look like “horses”…put a pix of Petitte, next to Texeira and Damon and they all look like horses…is that what it takes to be a Yankee?

    17. Steve - Oct 26, 2009 at 12:16 PM

      I’m a Red Sox fan, and as such my views are entirely biased.
      That being said, I can’t miss out on an opportunity to mention the fact that I hate Yankees “fans” worse than I actually hate the Yankees (which, by the way, is a lot). Sure, Red Sox fans are obnoxious, rude, arrogant, loud, etc. Yankees fans are way worse. Period. Without debate. Add in the fact that they’re front-runners, and it’s a laughable discussion when trying to compare Yankees fans with just about any other fanbase.
      I can’t stomach looking at these guido “tough guys” wearing tracksuits, and doughy morons with the caesar haircut and the gold chains, and the Bernie Williams jersey and the flat brimmed Joba-esque Yankee hat tilted slightly askew yelling “OHHH!!” like they’re at the Bada-Bing every 2 seconds. And how about that witty parody they do of the song “YMCA”?? “WHYYY ARE YOU GAY?!” OHHHH!!!! LOLROFLBBQOMG!! You witty dickenses!!! And how about the fact that they play “YMCA” to begin with? And the fat puerto-rican pigs that seem to be in every fifth seat, don’t get me started on them. Anyway, Lupica sucks, the Yankees suck, and the whole toilet state of NY sucks. Screw.

    18. BorincanoDC - Oct 26, 2009 at 1:26 PM

      After winning the pennant, and losing the World Series to the Cardinals in 1964, the Yankees became the second team in a two-team town. And when you become that second team, the size of your market doesn’t matter that much… the amount of ink and TV time you get shrinks compared to the other team, the “on-the-hoof” makret research of seeing whose caps and shirts are seen around town favors the other guys, little kids want to go to the other place and along with other variables (neighborhood, safety, ethnicity of the fans), the parents oblige.
      I came of baseball age when the Yankees weren’t winning anything, so my core memory of being a young fan (you know, when you lay down your baseball neurons), is of being the kid defending the number two team.
      Steinbrenner, an authoritarian millionaire from Cleveland in polyester and a white belt, changed all that… but I had to laugh when he talked about “New Yorkers want this” and “New Yorkers want that” as if he’d know. He ragged on the Bronx, helped create the lunatic asylum/daily psychodrama of the 80s Yankees… and, dammit, spent lots of money (a lot of it wasted) to make the team a perennial contender.
      I’ve been to games in just about every market in the country… mostly in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington. Yes, core fan base Yankee fans do know more about the game than fans in Wrigley Field, where tens of thousands of North Side yuppie zeros sit side by side with people who know what they’re looking at.
      And Steve, I had to laugh at your rant about fat Puerto Ricans in the seats. You are an idiot, but I digress.
      As Yankee seats have moved from merely expensive into the stratosphere, the blacks and Puerto Ricans of the Bronx have been replaced with an almost entirely white crowd from Westchester, Northern New Jersey and Long Island. I am Puerto Rican, grew up going to games with Puerto Rican fans from Manhattan and the Bronx… and at last night’s clinching game beyond my family (4 seats at $225 per) didn’t see many minority fans at a packed stadium. The people serving the hot dogs and beer on the other hand…

    19. Steve - Oct 26, 2009 at 2:37 PM

      BorincanoDC, I’ll let slide your assertion that I’m an idiot, and clarify what I meant about the fat puerto-ricans in the seats at Yankee Stadium. You sound as if you’re a reasonable person, regardless of your ethnic heritage, so I’m sorry if I offended you personally. I was generalizing, in order to make a point.
      I truthfully don’t know for a fact whether or not the people I see standing up at Yankee games with the tilted Joba hats, satin Yankees jackets, jeans that are roughly 5 sizes too big, caesar haircuts and pencil thin mustaches and chin-strap beards are in fact puerto rican, but my eyes tell me they either are, or want to appear to be. I’m from Lowell, MA and we have our share of ethnic diversity, similar to NY although on a smaller scale. I’m not gonna debate your claim that the seats at the new stadium are filled with non-minorities.
      You’re puerto-rican, yet my gut tells me that you don’t fit the description I’ve presented above. However, I’m also going to assume you’re not naive enough to not recognize the type of person I’m describing. Please enlighten me. What’s a more apt term?

    20. BorincanoDC - Oct 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

      I’m sure you checked their PR-id cards (we all carry one) so that you know these offensively hatted and bearded fans were not Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, Salvadoran, Panamanian, and so on…
      This has been such a problem for us! What with JLo, Marc Anthony, Jimmy Smits, Benicio del Toro, Daddy Yankee, and now Justice Sotomayor, all kind of Latinos are acting Puerto Rican in public. You just can’t imagine!

    21. jonny5 - Oct 27, 2009 at 12:31 PM

      the yankees sold out 2 games in 2009. And that’s paid attendance. if you saw what I saw on tv they were not “sold out”.
      Compare that To Philly that had 73 sell out games this season……. Yankees fans suck, that’s the truth. They couldn’t even sell more tickets than the Rockies did in the first round of play offs. THE ROCKIES! THE PLAYOFFS!!! WTH??????????

    22. ghip - Oct 28, 2009 at 8:19 PM

      If by “the world” you mean the USA then maybe.
      If by “the world” you mean the actual world, not even close.

    23. chris - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:41 PM

      Heck, I lived in Chicago in the 80’s. They gave away tickets to Wrigley in those days. The Cub hysteria you see today is pretty recent….

    24. chris - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

      Your point is immaterial, NYC is about 30 times larger than St. Louis too and that isn’t even lumping in NJ. Moreover, most of those other sports barely encroach on baseball season. Your point is worthless….

    25. chris - Oct 30, 2009 at 5:06 PM

      Because The Cardinals fans are so dedicated that when the Browns were in St. Louis those “die-hard” Cardinals had no use for going to a Browns game. You argued against your own point. Don’t know much about baseball do you?

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