this is gonna be good
and it is as it should be. us sox fans have exactly what we wanted. time to put up.
from NY TimesOctober 11, 2004Beer for the Babe, and a Frenzy for a Red Sox-Yankees RematchBy PATRICK HEALY
he signs are everywhere. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are squaring off for the American League championship for the second year in a row, and a frenzy is following them.
The ticket scalpers outside Yankee Stadium have already raised their prices to as high as $300 per ticket. Bouncers at sports bars are getting ready for unruly crowds.
In Westchester County, the man who tends Babe Ruth's grave is bracing for an onslaught of fans bearing gifts of beer and prayers of victory. And throughout New York, wary Red Sox fans are searching for safe havens to watch the game and cheer.
Fans in both cities are dusting off the old totems and clichés of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry: the Curse of the Bambino; 1918, the last year Boston won the World Series; pinstripes versus flaming red; Beantown versus the Big Apple.
"I dream always of a Boston-Yankees series," said Jose Maldonado, a baseball coach whose youth league team, the Royals, played yesterday afternoon in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. "It brings the fans of baseball back. All the fans in the country want to see that matchup."
But Yankees fans around the city said that this year's series, which begins tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, is not merely baseball repeating itself, but a torqued-up rematch that has been a year in the making. The New York Post dubbed this year's contest "Ultimate Baseball Armageddon," and few fans would disagree.
The Yankees beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series to win last year's American League title, and fans say the rivalry has only intensified.
The Red Sox traded for Curt Schilling, the All-Star pitcher. Then the Yankees signed the slugger Alex Rodriguez, which some figured gave the team another edge over Boston. During spring training this year, some fans spent $500 just to see the two teams play an exhibition game.
The owners of the two teams sniped during the season, and in July, the teams brawled on the field.
"So much had built up last year after the series," said Frederic Frommer, who, with his father, wrote a history of the teams' animus. "As much animosity as there was last year, it's been fueled even more."
During last year's championship series, fans from Boston and New York visited the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, where Babe Ruth is buried, Mr. Frommer said. They left sacrifices of hot dogs and beer and team souvenirs. Some asked him to help end Boston's long losing streak, and others urged Mr. Ruth to hold it intact.
"One man was there in a 1920's Boston uniform, cap and all, doing his own incantations," said the cemetery's manager, Andrew Nagle.
Mr. Nagle said he was hoping for a lighter flock of pilgrims this year. "We can't let things get out of hand," he said. "We have to keep the decorum as best we can."
At the Ballpark Sports Bar and Grill, across the street from Yankee Stadium, the plans were exactly the opposite. Though metal gates covered the windows yesterday, the staff inside was eagerly preparing for another crush of fans of both teams.
"They stand around and look at each other and say, 'You want some of me?' " said the bar's bouncer, Bruce Wilson. "I tell them, you got to take that outside."
Last year, fans piled into the restaurant to watch the games on big-screen televisions at the bar and eat hamburgers and cheesesteaks cheaper than the ones sold inside the stadium. The capacity of the restaurant is about 200, but Mr. Wilson said the place fills up until the only open space is on the ceiling.
The restaurant was full of customers hours before the games last year. Boston fans jostled with New York fans, and any time a piece of Red Sox paraphernalia - a pennant, a hat - was dropped, Yankees fans stomped it as if they were crushing a bug.
"It's going to be more tense this year," said Joey Gutierrez, who manages the snack bar.
But Mr. Wilson said he had learned something about crowd control. When a group of rowdy Boston fans walked in, he isolated them in a corner and penned them in behind five barstools. Mr. Wilson said he had kept the group under control, and they were grateful because he acted as if he had set aside a special place for them.
Outside the restaurant, scalpers roamed the sidewalks cooing, "Tickets, tickets," to anyone walking by. A ticket can sell for as little as $50 on a slow summer day, but yesterday afternoon scalpers like Jay Thomas were selling tickets for Tuesday's playoff opener for $250 to $300.
By tomorrow, Mr. Thomas said, he will be asking $400.
"It's in demand," he said. "Everyone wants to buy them. You gotta get them now while they're going for a cheap price."