Yankee Caps And The Criminals Who Love Them
I’ll admit it: I’m a hater.
Of the considerable time I spend reading about and watching sports each week, a sizeable chunk is devoted to indulging my sports-hate. I’ve actually been forced to ponder on occasion which activity I enjoy more—rooting for my teams or rooting against their rivals.
The most frequent object of my wrath is the New York Yankees.
I’m generally a rational, mild-mannered individual. But when I see pinstripes or hear the phrase “another save for Mariano Rivera” my blood boils.
That’s why I was delighted when Bill Simmons (fellow Red Sox fan, ESPN columnist, and coiner of the term sports-hate) tweeted a link to an article headlined, “Crime Blotter Has a Regular: Yankee Caps."
From The New York Times:
A curious phenomenon has emerged at the intersection of fashion, sports and crime: dozens of men and women who have robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot at their fellow New Yorkers have done so while wearing Yankees caps or clothing.
The article goes on to say that in the last decade over 100 suspected criminals in New York City have been arrested or arrived in court wearing Yankee gear, far exceeding the number of offenders representing any other team. The trend doesn’t appear to be limited to the Big Apple, either. Authorities in Seattle and Chicago have reported Yankee-clad suspects as well.
I mean, if The New York Times prints it…
To be fair, I have many friends who are self-professed Yankee die-hards and they are wonderful people. I’m sure some of them have good reasons for supporting the Evil Empire (like Satan himself visiting them at home, threatening them with an eternity of shoveling hot coals while watching looped clips of “The Tyra Banks Show” and listening to Yanni on repeat until they succumb). But the correlation between crime and Yankee attire has become so undeniable that experts have begun weighing in on the issue.
Criminologists theorize that more criminals don Yankee clothing because rappers like Jay-Z have popularized the clothing as an essential component in urban, hip-hop fashion. Sports marketing analysts suggest it’s a result of the Yankees’ dominance in the retail market, where the team accounts for a full 25 percent of Major League Baseball merchandise sold (my beloved Red Sox are second at a comparatively low 8 percent).
The numbers indicate the Yankees are simply so popular that the sheer number of people in their fan base increase the likelihood of people wearing Yankee gear while doing any activity at all.
So is it really that Yankee fans commit more crimes? Or are they just more committed to their team? Perhaps we could all learn a little something from fans so endlessly dedicated, who support their team even in what are surely their darkest moments.
Maybe, just maybe, these criminally-minded Yankee fans could teach me a valuable lesson about the meaning of sports-love.
To reach writer Kate Rooney, click here.
Sign up for Neon Tommy's weekly e-mail newsletter.