The New York Yankees will be MLB’s Public Enemy No. 1, no matter how much Steve Cohen spends and no matter how many titles the Boston Red Sox win in the modern era. No opposing fan will ever hate any other behemoth the way they hate the Yankees, and as frustrating as that is when they don’t take home the hardware, that’s the way it oughtta be.
No matter where Hal Steinbrenner and the boys travel, there’s bound to be a 35,000-deep crowd that hates their guts. Some Yankee teams have the resolve to overcome this and mute the wall of sound. Some don’t. But whether it’s a squealing crowd of “underdog” Bostonians or a grievance culture-fueled Astros mob, Luis Severino and the Yankees have heard it all.
Except in Tampa.
Ahead of a third ALCS matchup in six seasons between the Yankees and Astros, Game 2 starter Severino was asked about what his team expected from the riled-up crowd, especially since he’d been with the team all along watching the rivalry grow, from seed to garden on fire.
Sevy, whose job it’ll be to dig out of a 1-0 hole against 40,000 spitting Texans, claimed to be used to the hatred in every road city — except Tampa, where the crowd is mainly made up of Yankee fans who want to get inside on a humid Florida day.
Yankees’ Luis Severino burns Tampa Bay Rays fans (all 4 of them)
Catching a stray from Severino in the ribs, there! Sorry, Rays. Glad you’re stuck at home, though. As CC Sabathia would say, “That [snide comment] is for you, b****.”
For decades, Tampa’s crowds have been packed (as much as an empty stadium can be “packed”) with New York retirees and transplants. It hasn’t made the experience of playing at Tropicana Field any more pleasant, though, as no amount of fan support can prevent a rocket from hitting a metal ring and caroming harmlessly into foul territory.
Maybe this will all change when Rob Manfred executes his master plan and moves the Rays’ money-making midsummer home games to Montreal, where thousands of French accents (and Dick Vitale) will serenade the Yankees with sneers.
For now, though, most regular season games in Tampa look like a rescheduled 4:07 playoff game in the Bronx an hour before first pitch, a nice respite midway through their AL East bloodbath tours in Boston, Baltimore and Toronto.
God forbid anyone in Houston watches those Rays games, though. If they figure out they’re allowed to use cowbells, this whole series could get a lot more unpleasant.