When it comes to the illusionary art of surface patriotism, no American sports franchise trumps the New York Yankees.
Much like one of those mid-World War II cinema shorts urging citizens to do their part for the greater good, the Bronx Bombers spare little expense in reminding visitors that, gosh darn it, you sure are lucky to live in such a fine country. You want bald eagles swooping through the stadium air? The Yanks -- come playoff time -- are your team. You want American flags billowing in the wind? Ditto. The Yankees blare
Thing is, like the expiration date on a chunk of really expensive Bergenost, image without substance only lasts for so long. New York's baseball fans are glad to idolize
They are not, however, willing to be hoodwinked. Not now, in this country's worst economic crisis since the trio of
In case you haven't heard, the Yankees have opened their new, state-of-the-art stadium by asking their dutiful fans to pay inordinate amounts of money for the right to sit in a plastic chair, drink $9 bottles of beer and watch
Throughout New York, baseball diehards talk of team devotion in the same way they refer to beloved-yet-flawed family members. Just listen to the banal jabber on the area's top sports talk station, WFAN, where "real fans" and "fake fans" are apparently divided by the number of games they attend, the number of jerseys they own and the number of times they've called out
Yet loyalty, like Madison Avenue, is often a one-way street. As seemingly hundreds of thousands of hard-working, struggling-to-stay-afloat enthusiasts take a vow of allegiance to the Yankees, the Yankees, to be blunt, spit tobacco juice in their faces. Imagine, say, your local deli decided that, in the midst of a financial free fall, prices would be increased by as much as 75 percent (and don't forget that the, ahem, deli received enormous tax breaks not offered to other businesses). Would you ever again stop in for that chocolate milk and Hostess Fruit Pie?
For a franchise that has long flaunted its patriotism, one must ask, where is that help-thy-neighbor American spirit when we actually need it? In 2001 it was easy for the Yankees to fly a tattered flag from Ground Zero and unearth
So, with that in mind, has the franchise valued at $1.5 billion by
Instead -- My Country, 'Tis of Thee -- the Yankees hired Douglas Elliman Worldwide Consulting, which promotes and markets real estate projects for developers, to peddle the seats to high-end residential customers. (Translation: To hell with the little guy).
Luckily, there still remains one way to score $10 box seats; one way to sit up close for an affordable price and watch professional players give their all.
The Newark Bears' season opens today.