You bleeping bleeper! Bleep bleep!

Sunday, I visited Yankee Stadium for the first time to catch the rubber game of the Yankees-Red Sox series. My seat was in the right field bleachers, a few rows down from the DiamondVision scoreboard.
Before the game started, I took in the view of the stadium. It didn't impress me. The history of great players and great games played there is undeniable, but the actual structure itself is non-descript and rather dumpy. It lacks the distinguishing visual features of other stadiums of seniority like Wrigley Field (ivy-covered outfield walls, manual scoreboard, views of Lake Michigan and buildings outside the outfield walls) or Fenway Park (the Green Monster). The thing I do like about Yankees Stadium is the P.A. announcer. The deadpan delivery (a refreshing contrast from the biased, Michael-Buffer-like grandstanding of most home team introductions) and the acoustic texture of his voice as heard through the old-school speaker system gave me goosebumps. I'm not sure how to describe it without a sound clip, but every name he uttered sounded like a legend, even Miguel Cairo.
The best bleacher seats in sports are those that attract the die-hard, loud-mouthed fans. The ones at Wrigley Field certainly do, and by the end of the Yankees game, I had no doubt that the ones at Yankee Stadium did as well. Bleacher seats are the modern day equivalent of the standing-room only cheap seats at the Globe Theatre back when a Shakespeare play was mass entertainment, except nowadays the rabble are further from the stage than the well-to-dos. These are the fans that will throw back a home run ball if it's hit by an opposing player, assuming they're sober enough to toss it in the right direction.
And of course, they also taunt everyone, from opposing players to opposing fans. I wasn't surprised to hear profanity-laced trash talk from the fans around me, but the sustained viciousness impressed me.
Any Red Sox fan brave enough to venture into the bleachers was serenaded by a rhythmic chant of "ass...hole...ass...hole" and pointed out by a forest of jabbing index fingers, moving in time to the chanting. A few younger boys, Red Sox fans, had their Red Sox t-shirts turned inside out. I suspect their mothers forced them to do so out of fear for their lives.
In the top of the first inning, after the Yankees took the field, the bleachers conducted roll call. They started by chanting Ber-nie, Ber-nie, Ber-nie, until Bernie Williams acknowledged them with a wave of his glove. Then they moved to Mat-su-i, Mat-su-i, and then Sheff, Ole-rud, Cai-ro, Je-ter, and A-Rod. No roll call for Mussina and Posada, busy pitching and catching. I hadn't seen roll call performed at a baseball game like that before, and it was impressive. It offered a sense of camaraderie between the right field bleachers and the players, even if most of them were purchased as free agents like so many bobble-heads off of eBay.
In the bottom of the first, the bleacher fans turned from love to hate, and the target of nearly all their ire was center fielder Johnny Damon, who hasn't cut his hair since the Carter administration. I'm not sure what to call his coiff--a caveman mullet? His do and the varied hirsuteness of his teammates were a great affront to Yankees fans, perhaps in deference to the strict grooming rules passed down from Steinbrenner.
Some of the chants directed at Damon (these choruses were chanted to the "Let's go defense" cadence, i.e., [chorus in four beats], clap clap clap-clap-clap, repeat):
You're a wookie
Jesus Damon
Get a haircut
You're a homo
Take a shower
You're a [two syllable expletive]
[expletive] [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]
One Red Sox fan sitting in front of me had on a Red Sox cap, white and red and navy blue Red Sox t-shirt, and dark, thick-rimmed glasses. A Yankees fan walking up the aisle saw him and started shouting "Where's Waldo? Where's Waldo?" Then, pointing at the Red Sox fan in glasses, "Here's Waldo!"
In the sixth inning, between innings, the Village People's YMCA played. Yankees fans sought out all the Red Sox fans and pointed at them while altering the chorus: "Whyyyy are you gay?"
By the seventh-inning stretch, when the famed Irish tenor (so famous I've forgotten his name; if he's so famous shouldn't he have another gig somewhere else?) popped out to sing God Bless America, the game was out of reach. Pedro Martinez got knocked around pretty good by the Yankees. Pedro has lost a few mph off of his fastball (reducing the velocity differential and effectiveness of his nasty changeup) and some bite off of his curveball. He's still good, but he's no longer dominant. The score was 8-1 by now, Pedro had stalked off to the showers to a derisive chorus of PEEE-DROOO, and Yankees fans were preening in triumph.
One particularly obnoxious Yankees fan, a young punk with a bandana on his head, was nearly frothing at the mouth. He found one mild-mannered Red Sox fan and stood over him, screaming, "You're an asshole! Boston sucks! Get your ass back to Boston!" Unlike some other Yankees fans, Punk Yankee Fan lacked the gift of wit or creativity, so that was all he could muster, over and over. The Red Sox fan, who looked like a skinnier version of Alan Cummings, was a bit shell-shocked, so stunned he made the mistake of forgetting to remove his cap during God Bless America. Some Yankees fans shouted at him, "Hey asshole, remove your effing cap!" Though I doubt he was a Communist, Alan-Cummmings-Lite refused to acknowledge requests uttered with such disrespect, even if it offended the crowd's sense of patriotism.
After the seventh inning stretch was over, Punk Yankee Fan went over to Alan-Cummings-Lite and knocked his Red Sox cap off and kicked it down the aisle. The two of them started shoving each other and had to be separated.
The Yankees won, increasing their AL East lead to 4 1/2 games, and everyone piled back on the uptown 4. Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend bringing young children to the Yankees bleachers for games against the Red Sox, even if those are the cheap seats. The threat of collateral damage is just too great.
Next week they repeat a 3 game series, but this time in Boston. I wish I could be there to see how Yankees fans are received in the bleachers at Fenway, though I suspect the reciprocity principle holds true here.