Yankees fans more passionate than smart

April, 15, 2010
4/15/10
3:30
AM ET
Craig on some questionable behavior in the Bronx Wednesday, spurred by Javier Vazquez's less-than-brilliant outing:

    And to be clear: the boos weren't merely a function of him leaving in the sixth inning after giving up a couple of hits and a wild pitch: they started in the first inning. A fan at the game tweets that fans were chanting "we want Melky" in the third inning.

    I'm not the only one who thinks the fans were out of line either. The River Ave. Blues guys -- Yankees fans all -- were embarrassed by it. The Post's Mike Vaccaro noted the poor form as well. And it is poor form. The man has started two games this year. These boos are almost certainly a function of people thinking back to 2004, which is amazingly weak given that, you know, the team just won the World Series five months ago. For a fan base that fancies itself so much more knowledgeable than anyone else's, this was pretty bad.

    Anyone care to defend the boo-birds here?

Sure. I'll take a crack at it. Sort of.

Passion cuts both ways, right? When I was younger and Kansas won a big basketball game, I was over the moon; when it lost a big one, I might grab a baseball bat and whale away at some innocent tree for a few minutes. When the Royals beat the Yankees in 1980, I was the happiest kid in Kansas City. When the Yankees beat the Royals in 1977, there was a salty discharge from my eyes.

I'm not that passionate about my teams anymore, and I'm glad; there's something a little ridiculous about sulking for hours because a bunch of massive people wearing purple shirts lost to a bunch of massive people wearing black shirts. But I do miss that passion, a little.

And I admire it in others. One thing about passionate sports fans: they tend to have long and intense memories. My first visit to Fenway Park was in the fall of 1999. The Orioles were in town. In one of the games, Jesse Orosco trotted in from the bullpen. The Red Sox fans booed.

I couldn't figure this out. What had Jesse Orosco ever done to them?

Eventually I realized that they must have been booing Orosco because he'd been on the mound when the Mets clinched the 1986 World Series. Thirteen years earlier.

Granted, six years isn't 13, but I'm still impressed with the intensity of the Yankee fans' collective memory.

Intelligence is something else entirely. I know a lot of Yankees fans, and most of them are actually sort of brilliant. They're probably not the ones who were booing Vazquez. Because boy, that sure is a stupid thing to do. Umm, guys? Vazquez is going to pull in $11.5 million this season. He's not going anywhere. Wouldn't smart fans -- even fans with long, intense memories -- figure that maybe, just maybe, reminding Vazquez of his awful second half in 2004 isn't the best way to start 2010?

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