Whether you’re talking the old cathedral or the new building, Yankee Stadium during the playoffs is and has always been a different animal. Ask the pre-2004 Boston Red Sox. Ask any Minnesota Twin … ever.
It’s not the ghosts or the glory, either. It’s the people. Yankees fans want titles, and they only want them more with each passing year that doesn’t end with a ring. This October, optimism is high, and the chase for history is on. Rabid Bombers fans want to see Aaron Judge add a title to his already-growing legacy, and once the ALDS begins, these sickos are going to pound the walls down on every two-strike count.
This isn’t bias talking, either. This is how opposing players still feel. While the magic may occasionally seem diminished outside of the old place, and while there hasn’t been a Mission Accomplished since 2009, the ballpark in the Bronx still rocks on cold nights and during heightening rallies.
And MLB’s players do not feel comfortable within its walls come October, whether they’re an Uber driver or not.
According to The Athletic’s anonymous survey of MLB players (subscription required) published this week, Yankee Stadium blew the doors off the vote for “Most Intimidating Atmosphere During the Postseason,” garnering 43%. Minute Maid Park in Houston? A paltry 10%. Fenway Park, a stadium literally built to close in on you as things are spiraling? Somehow just 8.4%.
The reason? The fans are angry. Nonstop. Mostly at you. Sometimes at their own guys. Sorry, Joey Gallo. One anonymous MLB player owes you an apology.
One MLB player says Yankees fans make MLB Playoffs intimidating…on their own players
“Even if you are the home team, they hate you. I think [Joey] Gallo can attest to that.”
Man … whew.
First of all, big assumption that they meant Joey Gallo! Perhaps the anonymous player was referring to deceased New York Daily News cartoonist Bill Gallo, and the way he was treated! Ever think about that?!
Second, though, Yankees fans do not unilaterally “hate” the home team. They boo poor performance. They probably do it more than most cities. But they are not alone.
Pressure for the home club will absolutely be ratcheted up this fall with an outside shot at ending a relatively lengthy drought. But the crowd’s clamps will still firmly be on the road team, which MLB players seem to agree with at a 40% rate.
As for the crosstown atmosphere at Citi Field …
Hopefully, it’s like a Wall Street nightclub: where the richest kid talks a lot of smack, then gets bounced.
The old Yankee Stadium may be gone, but it’s legacy of feeling like it’s on the verge of collapse during massive playoff moments lives on. Perhaps Joey Gallo will get to experience it in a visitors’ uniform this November.