FEW THINGS STOKE the ire of Northwesterners like a good dose of East Coast hubris. Never mind that when white folks founded the city back in 1851, they named it New York Alki ("New York, by and by" in Chinook). In present-day Seattle, if something invokes the Big Apple, it means the big city, and that's inherently bad.
My call to action published in these pages last week ("Operation True Fanatic") challenged passive and somnolent Mariners fans to get off their butts and make some noise during the three-game series with the New York Yankees last weekend. Many readers complained vociferously, with letters, e-mails, and calls, bristling at my New York opinion and distinctly lacking any signs of introspection.
During the games, these people and their fellow Mariners boosters were as silent as Bret Boone's bat. Over 27 innings of play, they stood to clap and cheer in Pavlovian fashion only when the lighted scoreboards asked for noise or when that furry idiot Moose implored them, plaintively, "louder." Even after security guards confiscated our cowbell (after all, who in Seattle would bring a noisemaking device to a sporting event?), my Yankees-fanatic friends and I outyelled, out-cheered, and outclassed the game sitters around us. Oh, in case you live in a kayak on Hood Canal, the Yankees took two out of three.
But the most bizarre moment came on Sunday, when a group of KGB goons hired by Mariners management to promote "enjoyment" demanded that fans wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Yankees Suck" disrobe because, after all, "suck" is such a dirty, dirty word. The pathetic M's fans meekly accepted this suspension of their First Amendment rights in the name of a "good time"—truly unbelievable.
I plan to formally protest this "suck" business at the corner of Royal Brougham and Occidental during the next home stand (starting May 7 against Toronto). And, as a man of my word, in protest of Seattle's lame fans, I am donating my Mariners gear and my remaining season tickets to local minority youth groups and Little League teams.
You can bet I'll be back at Safeco in August when the Pinstripers return. This weekend, though, I'll be home at the House That Ruth Built to cheer on my Yankees against the M's in round two. If I were a betting man, I'd bet on the M's—when they play in front of the sad-sack fans here at Safeco, the boys are 8-7; on the road, when they don't expect anyone to take their side, they've yet to lose.