Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

There's nothing wrong with chanting 'Yankees Suck'

Alex Reimer
October 08, 2018 - 12:55 pm

For inexplicable reasons, some sportswriters and talking heads love policing fan behavior. They actually get upset, or at least pretend to, when paying customers cup their hands around their mouths and make “boo” sounds when certain players step onto the field. This bizarre phenomenon is especially prevalent with the Red Sox, given all of the fan traditions at Fenway Park. “Sweet Caroline” usually angers this crowd the most, because how dare people sing a bad song and have fun at the ballpark, especially if the Red Sox are –– *gasp* –– losing

Besides “Sweet Caroline,” the other Fenway staple that whips the busybodies into a frenzy is the “Yankees Suck” chant. Those two words, which were once sold on t-shirts right on Lansdowne Street, made a big comeback over the weekend. In case you haven’t heard, the Red Sox and Yankees are facing off in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. So the Fenway Faithful reacted in kind. 

At various points Friday and Saturday night, “Yankees Suck” reverberated throughout Fenway. One of the common refrains from those who detest the sophomoric rallying cry is to point out the Yankees, in fact, do not suck –– as if the drunken college kids are saying it sincerely and not just looking for something to scream after their fifth $9.50 cup of warm Bud Light. 

“That Gary Sanchez home run went 479 feet,” Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweeted Saturday. “Fans are chanting ‘Yankees suck.’ They kinda don't, guys.” 

Gotcha!

Then there’s the crowd that considers it crude and inappropriate, because the children might hear it, or even worse, participate themselves. Legendary baseball scribe Peter Gammons offered the most extreme example of this viewpoint Friday, when he tweeted the following: “In the eighth inning of what may be a do or die game with the tension of a Game Seven, Neanderthal Fenway Park ‘fans’ chanting "Yankees (---) are eerily like those who chant ‘lock her up’ at a pol rally designed to demean female assault victims' trauma.”

In a text message to me, Gammons elaborated on his puzzling comparison, saying it all points to the growing “acceptance of nihilism” in our increasingly partisan society. I think it’s just people trying to have fun at the park, but that’s just me.

“Yankees Suck” is not vile. It’s the Red Sox equivalent of “Beat LA,” except the word “suck” is in there. All of the outrage can’t really be about that, can it? You hear worse language on the nightly news.

If there is a Game 5 at Fenway Thursday, and you happen to attend, feel no shame about participating when the “Yankees Suck” cry inevitably starts picking up steam in the bleachers. In fact, direct your chant towards the press box, making sure the finger-waggers can hear it loud and clear.

The chant almost certainly doesn’t bother actual baseball players, but it sure irritates stuck up scribes.