When the Yankees returned to New York for Game 6 of the World
Series, everyone seemed to predict the same things: Death.
Destruction. Chaos in the Bronx.
The anticipation that had built as the Yankees swept three games
from the Braves in Atlanta suddenly was only part of the drama
as the teams prepared to play out the Series in venerable Yankee
Stadium. Now there was also the unnerving specter of a New
York-sized celebration. How bad would it get? Yankees players
took to local TV to beg the fans to behave. Politicians
threatened potential vandals with everything but the medieval
rack. Police donned riot gear.
In recent years a disturbing trend had taken hold in
championship cities, such as Detroit and Chicago. Victory
parades were no longer enough; jubilant fans felt compelled to
burn cars, break windows, bust heads, spoil the fun. And if the
Vancouver Canucks' losing the Stanley Cup could trigger such
insanity in British Columbia, how, by god, would New York react
to a World Series triumph?
Here's how: After the ball settled into Charlie Hayes's glove
for the final out, Sinatra poured out of the P.A. system and the
Yankees crowd sang along: "I want to be a part of it...New York,
New York." The fans hugged and kissed and exchanged high fives.
They cried and laughed and kept on singing. The one fool who
dashed onto the field was quickly apprehended and dragged off,
like a helpless calf at a rodeo. Much of the crowd booed the
trespasser, and the peaceful celebration proceeded without a
December 30, 1996
The victorious players trotted around the edge of the field,
waving to the fans and soaking in the euphoria. Third baseman
Wade Boggs jumped onto the back of a policeman's horse and
galloped along the warning track. The NYPD had enough armed
personnel on hand to conquer a good-sized Caribbean country, and
the cops seemed as amazed as anyone at the controlled joy and
elation that filled the stands and the city. Who would have
thought that Yankees fans would show the world how to celebrate
a championship? It was up to you, New York, and you did it right.