BRONX, NY (CAP) - More than 75 of the 100 people who paid the top price of $2,625 to sit behind home plate at Yankee Stadium Saturday attempted to throw themselves in front of the No. 4 subway train after the Yanks' 22-4 loss to the Indians, according to authorities in the Bronx.
"It's bizarre," said NYPD 44th Precinct Police Capt. Harold Ditmeyer, adding that there hasn't been an incident like this at the stadium since a dozen visiting Germans tried to jump off the El platform after Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling there in 1938. "But Germans, they'll off themselves over any little thing," he pointed out.
The Yankee fans were apparently acting independently, rather than as part of some organized suicide plot, although experts described it as a sort of "mass hysteria."
"Think about it: You just paid more than $5,000 for a pair of tickets to watch your team slaughtered like never before in history. Of course these people would be prone to a group psychosis," explained said Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Research Center. Spitznagel has run several studies on mass hysteria and delusion, including one showing that most teenage girls have convinced themselves Twilight is a true story.
"After all, the only thing the Indians didn't do was club the Yankees to death and scrape off their skin to be sold as pelts," noted Dr. Spitznagel. "Although most of the fans we surveyed said that by the end of the game, they would have preferred that outcome to what actually happened."
No fans were injured thanks to quick action on the part of police officers, who said nonetheless that it was touch and go.
"First of all, many of them were intoxicated, having been drinking heavily since the second inning [when Cleveland scored their first 14 runs]," noted Ditmeyer. "Fortunately they were also so despondent that they didn't seem to have the will to resist.
"We were basically able to herd them into the Botanical Gardens, where they mostly curled up into fetal positions among the Zinnias."
Most of the fans who'd paid top dollar for their seats to the debacle were still incapable of speech as of Sunday night, prone instead to a sort of plaintive howling. But one man, Karl Krafthammer, was able to gain his composure long enough to explain his plight.
"I knew the cost was excessive," said the former stockbroker, now "freelance accountant," who noted that since he ordered the tickets last winter, he'd lost his job, his investments had shriveled to almost nothing and both his Westchester home and his apartment in Manhattan had gone into foreclosure. "But I'd figured if nothing else I'd have an up-close view of the Yankees dismantling Cleveland."
He then tried to impale himself on a Cross pen and had to be subdued by police.
Meanwhile, the Yankee players are trying to come to grips with the devastating loss. Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, for one, blames the loss on the architecture of the new Yankee Stadium, which he says makes balls prone to leaving the park over the right centerfield wall.
When asked why the Yankees wouldn't be able to take as much advantage of that design aspect as their opponents, A-Rod looked around in awkward silence for several minutes and then said, "My butt hurts."
But one longtime Yankees nemesis, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, had his own explanation for the Bronx Bombers' downfall.
"After all these years, it turns out the Yankees really do suck," he said, noting that Boston fans would probably now change their go-to chant, calling it "just too easy."
- CAP News Staff