The Mariners' management thinks Yankees fans suck, but they sure did motivate the M's in the House That Ruth Built last weekend. As Matt Villano wrote in an athletic fit of prediction last week ["M's Fans Still Suck," May 2]: "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." The M's domination on the road would seem to bolster his argument, and, of course, Villano's got more to say.
Meanwhile, Villano's recent articles have got the Weekly inundated with more mail than ANYONE here can EVER remember getting-more than WTO, more than the Palestinian conflict, more than the 100 Favorite Restaurants special in which we said that Ristorante Machiavelli is closed on Monday when really it's only closed on Sunday.
Here's a sample of what you people are saying.
YUCK THE FANKEES
Mariner management are Seattle's new "thought police." Under the bogus claim that the word "suck" is a "dirty, dirty word," they asked Mariner fans to remove their shirts under threat of eviction ["M's Fans Still Suck," May 2]. But is the word "suck" in and of itself so dirty, or is it the thought behind the word that is so offensive? Methinks they are enforcing the latter. I wonder if Mariner brass would allow a "Yuck the Fankees" shirt? There is only one way to find out, and when the dreaded Yankees return this summer, I will be wearing mine . . . as I sit chained to my seat . . . lest the Mariner gestapo try and evict me for not thinking clean enough for them.
It's bad enough that I bought that stadium for the Mariners; to hell if they're going to tell me what I can think about the Yankees in my facility.
YUP, WE SUCK
Today, I read your essay ["Operation True Fanatic," April 25], and as an ex-New Yorker, born and raised in Queens, I cheer for you and your astute observations of Seattleites at Mariners games. I've lived out here for 21 years and could write a treatise on wussy Seattleites.
I'm still a Yankees fan when the Mariners and Yankees oppose; though I'm always torn right up to the last minute, then I root for the Yankees. I adore the Mariners. I wear my Yankees jacket, T-shirt, and cap around town. The only comment I've ever received was: "You're awfully brave," a most apathetic response. Perhaps you missed the overwhelming quiet around town when the Yankees and the Mets played the World Series. It was as though baseball didn't exist.
Today a friend from N.Y. mentioned that Seattleites take umbrage at every damn thing and take it personally. Getting in a face out here just isn't done. We must be nice. As I said, I could write a treatise. I shall not. I've said enough, for now.
The Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Their fans are coming, too. Be loud. Be raucous. Create a scene. Yell your lungs out.
I'm counting on you, Matt.
MINI MOOSE SUCKS
I agree with Matt Villano: M's fans suck. I don't agree with his reason: that M's fans are asleep. (Villano, you should know trying to repeat an experience like the Bronx Zoo in Seattle or anywhere is impossible. Only in Yankee Stadium can you watch one team single-handedly destroy the game of baseball. Thanks for the upcoming strike, Yanks.) Actually, I think M's fans cheer a lot. I just don't think they know what they're cheering about.
Fans cheer if a Mariner grounds out but runs really fast down the first baseline. They cheer if an M's pitcher gets yanked after giving up a three-run homer, because he was "trying." But, more than anything, they cheer for the hydro race, the hat trick, and that stupid tug-of-war between the Mariner Moose and Mini Moose.
I'm glad to say there's an excuse. The M's haven't been winning for long. So now that Safeco is suddenly the hot place to be, there are tons of people coming to baseball games for the first time. I'm optimistic that a few years down the road, Safeco will still be packed with cheering fans. I just hope by then the fans know know why they're cheering.
NO MATT, YOU SUCK
So, Matt Villano is a displaced Yankees fan who wants to goad M's fans into being just like Yankees fans? Well, Matt, in the words of David Johansen in the movie Scrooged, "GO BACK TO JERSEY, YOU MORON!"
Your dreams of turning the Safe into Yankee Stadium West are doomed. What is it about Seattle that attracts people who want to turn it into the cesspools they've just fled from? Watching the M's at Safeco is fun and exciting, and from my perspective in Section 331, the fans respond generously to the natural drama of the game. We moan when bad plays happen and we cheer when we do well. If that's not enough for you, then I think YOU need to think about why you're there.
Matt, your highly touted Yankees fans whip batteries at opposing players in the outfield. That's not being a fan, that's being a felon.
Maybe if you weren't yelling your fine-tuned cheers and jeers and then spending the rest of your time complaining about being complained about, you'd hear the M's fans react the way fans should react. They're there, sitting in their seats, clapping their hands, yelling "C'mon Cammy!" They're smacking their foreheads and shouting, "How could Cirillo miss that?"
"Throw strikes, Nellie," is the advice they'll call out, and we won't be hesitant to share an angry "Get in the game, ump! He tagged him! HE TAGGED HIM!" when appropriate. The fans I sit next to are involved in every pitch, every play, and every game . . . and maybe if you weren't trying to draw attention to yourself, you'd start to feel that.
Preplanned cheers? Expecting the crowd to repeat whatever you say? Who are you? The Mariner Moose?
No. You're a Yankees fan.
God, I can't think of a worse insult to put on you, Matt. Let's just leave it at that.
MATT SUCKS, PART 2
Out here on the frontier we do things differently. We don't have any choice. There is, at a fundamental level, more spiritual dynamism in Seattle, which I believe is a function of time. "New" York, like "Old" York, has a long history, going back to the 17th century. Here we have a history that goes back to 1851, and our diversity and youth make the Safeco experience unique and exciting.
The Kingdome-bred Seattle sports fan, now reassigned to Safeco Field, hasn't found a place within the new system. It's a social structure that is still in flux here, but was stabilized in the Bronx many decades ago. Most M's fans grew up rooting for another team because Seattle had no baseball. Yankee fans are Yankee fans because their grandfathers were; Mariners fans are M's fans because the state was able to negotiate a tax loophole in 1995. To compare the Yankee experience with the Mariner experience is like comparing Mount Rainier with the Catskills.
The problem with major league baseball right now is the Yankees. If a player (like Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, David Cone, Roger Clemens, or Tino Martinez) does well enough, we can expect him to be stripped of his allegiance and colors and elevated to the Yankee elite. There he will be shaven, debugged, and converted to the Faith of Steinbrenner while the loyal fans of Kansas City, Oakland, and Seattle are left at the altar, emasculated by a self-image reflecting "my town" as a distant pagan land beyond the City of Light, New York, where all good things gravitate and emanate.
Baseball's Yankee problem is not divorced from the individual New Yorker problem, which is perfectly illustrated by Villano's "challenge." Obviously, we have no way of knowing the facts, if true at all, of our hero's ongoing struggles at Safeco. It seems unlikely that such a wide demographic of brats and grandmas would have a specific problem with his displays. It seems more likely that he was "challenging" people around him. Under consistent negative reaction to his behavior, he never once considers that he might be the problem; that inflammatory tones, chest-thumping rectitude, or, simply, volume could be irritating his neighbors.
After enough people tell you to sit down and shut up, [one] would hope that some small hint of introspection would surface, if not some sitting down and some shutting up.
UM, YOUR SEAT SUCKED
You are definitely sitting in the wrong section! I hate to burst your bubble, but you are sitting in the wimps area. After trial and error (with nasty head turning) we found the upper decks to be more conducive to the wild, fanatic, screaming behavior most becoming of a true fan. So, you have to check out section 342 where the four old bats reside for 16 games.
We have banners, pom-poms, routines, and unladylike whistling. Last year we had cowbells for David Bell. People have gotten used to us and we have even incited our fellow seatmates. We can out-yell any Yankees fan! Look (and listen) for us. We accept your challenge!
Anne, Martha, Joan, and Judy The Old Bats of Section 342
Matt Villano's assessment of the crowd at Mariners games matches my perspective from my visit to a game at the Kingdome back in April 1994.
I was shocked to see the crowd watch an exciting pitching performance by Randy Johnson in almost complete silence. The only time there was any audience reaction was after they were prompted to applaud by the scoreboard's display of giant hands clapping (accompanied by the words "CLAP, CLAP"). When I booed the opposition, as any true fan will do, the people around me gave me dirty looks. I had to tone down my act and left my usual New York-style retorts (e.g., "You Suck!" and "You're Blind, Ump") for other venues.
While Villano draws his comparisons to Yankee Stadium, Mariners fans also pale in comparison to crowds I've experienced in Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and even the notoriously proper (but well-informed) fans in St. Louis. The minor-league games I've been to have also all featured more vibrant crowd experiences.
Despite everything I've heard about how great a stadium Safeco Field is, I'm not making any special plans to visit it. When I want to be in a silent crowd, I'll go to the symphony.
Richmond Hill, NY
CHURCH & OPERA SUCK
What a fresh breeze to read the cut-through-the-crap challenge article by Matt Villano. I, too, have tried to enjoy (i.e., by participating vocally) in Seattle athletic events only to be greeted with "swivel heads," as Matt aptly put it. If you want to watch the game silently and passively, stay home and watch it on cable! This is not church or the opera, people; it's BASEBALL! Sound off! As long as your taunts, jeers, and cheers are clean, I'm with you all the way, Matt. I just hope Seattle can muster the joie de vive to shout down your Yankees contingent.
HEY EDITORS, YOU SUCK
It takes a very small brain to conclude that 50,000 Mariners fans are wrong because they do not behave the way one Yankee fan thinks they should. Or that loud and obnoxious conduct is the only barometer by which team support can be measured. Perhaps Mr. Villano should return to New York; evidently he will never be happy anywhere else. There, he will be surrounded by millions of other people who also believe their town is the best, if not the only, city on Earth. But unlike in Seattle, I doubt he will find a publication in New York willing to print anything critical of that city's people—particularly if it is written by a person who moved there from somewhere else.
Daniel P. Draheim
NO, HIS CRITERIA SUCKS
Dissuading fans in Safeco Field from wearing "Yankees Suck" T-shirts is excessive, particularly in light of the fact that all of Shea Stadium will erupt with the chant "Yankees suck!" at any time during a game having nothing to do with the Yankees. Passionate support is refreshing and we could undoubtedly use more passionate fans—I just don't agree with Matt Villano that this should be the criterion for supporting or dumping a team.
DO BIG CITIES SUCK?
Seattle was started by people [who] set out looking for a new beginning, a chance to earn a decent living, and a place to get away to and live in seclusion from the bustling cities. Our recent history has seen an influx of people from all over the country, especially California and the Northeast. The diversity brings a variety of views, opinions, and culture, and an overarching fear of "rocking the boat."
People [now] have the peaceful lives that they sought out, along with a new SUV, but unfortunately the only common thread is the underlying desire to keep the peace.
Maybe everyone is just afraid to zealously support their team because of the times that they led us to the brink of a championship only to fall short. Who's to say Yankee fans would be the same if they didn't have such a rich history or all those championships under their belts?
Regardless of the current regional norms, if the culture in Seattle is going to maintain any vitality and spirit, then it needs to turn up the volume. After the 1995 season, I saw a new love for baseball in this city. I know, deep inside, everyone is a loud, boisterous fan, and maybe we just need to win a World Series to find it.
SHIRTS RULE, RULES SUCK
Hip, hip, hooray for Matt Villano.
Someone finally noticed. I have made similar observations at past games. Last season I was forced to turn my T-shirt inside out by Safeco staff. My shirt said "Yankee My Wankee." I reluctantly reversed it but was still told to keep it down by the watchful Safeco staff.
Go Matt! I'll sit by you any game you have an extra seat, and damn the overpolite Seattleites.
Mariners rule, their fans are pussies.
RULES SUCK, PART 2
While the A's have their drums and the Yankees have their cowbells, the proprietors of Safeco have made it abundantly clear that they want their fans to shut up and watch the game. On entering the stadium there are signs everywhere stating that "noisemakers" are not allowed. Nor is "offensive" clothing allowed. Even the stadium announcer tells people to be polite and return to their seats a half hour before the game begins.
An M's spokesperson [recently] told a reporter that it's Safeco Field's prerogative to enforce the league's strictest rules in order to offer their fans "wholesome" entertainment, and if fans don't like it, they can stay home and watch the games on TV.
I will still attend M's games since I've already spent more than $500 on tickets, but we are going to miss you, [Matt]. We're also going to miss all those fans who got kicked out of Safeco for rightly wearing "Yankees Suck" T-shirts and who've said they will not return.
Oh, and by the way, Matt, welcome to Seattle.
NICE, SUCK-FREE RIVALRY
My roommates and I set out for Safeco Field [to see a recent game against the Yankees], ready and willing to tell any and every Yankee fan that got in our way what we thought about them. The first thing we noticed was the small group of Yankee fans (including the writer of the article) decked out in Yankee gear waiting for the game to begin. Then came the real shock: They were actually very likable people, and furthermore, wonderful fans. They cheered on their team while still getting in a few good-natured heckles toward the Mariners. It was no time at all before we were one rather larger, very loud group of happy fans cheering on our respective teams. It was a good old-fashioned rivalry being played out, a group of baseball fans having the time of their lives. It was the best time I have had at a game so far this season.
It is up to us to show our team that we love them, and that we are the best fans in baseball. I never run from a challenge, Mr. Villano. I hope you do check in on us in center field every once in a while this season, because one of these days, we might surprise you.
WE SUCK, WE REALLY DO
I never thought I would ever say this: That freakin' Yankee is right.
I have attended over 100 games at Safeco Field. Each game seems to get worse. Now the Mariners front office has adopted a no-tolerance policy, which has turned a day at the park into a march through a fascist prison. Fans are now afraid to cheer for their home team out of fear that the gestapo will jerk them by the collar and toss them into the middle of Royal Brougham.
The Mariners seem to have gone out of their way to cater to the family attending the ballpark, while completely alienating another segment of their fan base made up of loyal, die-hard baseball enthusiasts. If the team continues to alienate these fans, they run the risk of losing a loyal fan base, a fan base that would continue to attend games even when it is not deemed trendy. Would, that is, if only they were embraced while [enthusiasm] was a trend.
SIT DOWN, SUCKERS
As a misplaced Mariners fan in the Big Apple, I concur there is no fan more raucous and passionate than a Yankees fan. But that has little to do with how the game is played on the field, despite what you might believe. You don't necessarily need to yell your ass off at every two-strike count. These are regular season games—there's 162 of them. Enjoy them as you like. That being said, I'll be at Yankee Stadium this weekend.
New York, NY
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