NEW YORK, July 16—In an un-surprising uproar of disrespect, New York Yankees fans once again proved their lack of class Tuesday. But this showcase of stupidity and vulgarity was put on hours before the eighth inning crucifixion of Boston Red Sox All-Star Jonathan Papelbon. He was every bit a part of the situation however.
Before the All-Star game and its never ending pre-game festivities, a parade was held. The parade traveled along 6th Avenue from 40th to 58th Street in Manhattan.
Fans were given the chance to see more than 100 past and present players, including 49 Hall of Fame members as they rode by. How did the Yankee fans decide to behave when given the opportunity to tell any and all rival team members what they thought of them? Well how else would you expect them to react? They booed.
That's all well and good and a part of baseball (especially for New York), but it's over the line when it moves beyond the players and starts involving their family.
How can you justify yelling and chanting expletives at a player who is sitting directly next to their pregnant wife? But let’s not even start there, how can you justify the reason you were so upset with this player when it was all based on twisted words by the New York "media"?
Let’s take a look at some of the things Jonathan Papelbon said during the interview that somehow produced headlines like "Papelbum" and "I deserve to Close, not Rivera."
"I've always referred to (Rivera) as the Godfather, you know, no pun intended being in New York," Papelbon said. "That's what he is, man. You know, he's kind of the Godfather. He's been a main contributor of making this role what it is today. A lot of the younger closers in this room like myself do owe a sense of respect to him."
Papelbon showed nothing but respect for Mariano Rivera and his accomplishments. He simply made a comment that should be expected out of a player of his caliber. He said he's a closer and it's his job to close and that he'd like to do his job. That's it. He made no demands and certainly didn't disrespect Rivera.
“That was an easy headline for that (expletive) to say, ‘Yeah, Papelbon wants to close.’ Of course I do, that’s my competitive nature. But I’m stepping away and saying I don’t need to close.”
The word twisted headlines based on complete fallacies were enough ammo for the Yankees fans though. Heck, they wouldn't have any hope for the playoffs this year if they based any of their hopes on facts.
So they took their imagined insult towards their beloved closer and their aggression and took it out on pregnant women and children. Class acts if you ask Mariano.
"That's how the fans are here, you know," Rivera said. "It was great."
Others didn't find the antics so "great."
"I had my kids with me, so there was probably a few choice words that we wouldn't like a six-and an eight-year-old to hear for an hour." said Jason Varitek.
“It kind of (ticks) you off when your family gets involved like that and you’re trying to enjoy an experience with your family and you have a wife who is pregnant who doesn’t feel safe riding in a red carpet event with you. How would you feel?”
It's sad that a rivalry between two...well one professional baseball team and another significantly less professional team has to go to the extremes of making women and children scared of their surroundings. But I suppose that's now the norm when it comes to the third place Yankees and their classless fans.