Yankee Fans Fleeing for the Exits in ALCS

Many New York Yankees fans aren’t exactly exuding confidence these days when it comes to their team’s fortunes against the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series.

It’s not just the panic and the anger that you can read on Twitter and in the comments on Yankee-centric sites like the LoHud Yankee blog. It’s not just all the empty seats in Yankee Stadium for the ninth inning of Games 3 and 4, where fans fled for the exits as the Rangers beat up on the Yankee bullpen.

No, what’s even more embarrassing was the fact that a good chunk of Yankee fans were gone by the seventh inning in Game 4, when the score was only 7-3 Rangers. Given that the Yanks made an incredible comeback in Game 1, winning the game against the Texas bullpen after being down 5-1 in the eighth inning, expecting a Bomber comeback wasn’t unreasonable. After all, they did load the bases with one out in the eighth inning, although they didn’t score.

Yet all too many fans headed for home not long after A.J. Burnett gave up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the sixth inning, and the Rangers scored two runs off the Yankee bullpen to make the score 7-3. Joe Girardi himself appeared to throw in the towel in the ninth, pitching mopup man Sergio Mitre, who gave up three runs. And the stadium was a ghost town, left with a few loyal fans and a bunch of Rangers rooters, by the time the Yankees came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, with the score 10-3.

Granted, a good portion of the people who went to the game and left early are well-connected people in the expensive seats who want to be part of the scene. But there were a lot of empty cheaper seats as well at the ballpark, with fans voting with their feet.

Another clue that many Yankee fans have lost hope are the rapidly sinking ticket prices on the secondary market. In the ALDS, starting prices for Yankee tickets on StubHub started at around $150. For Wednesday’s Game 5, the prices began at around that range last week, dropped to as low as $50 on Tuesday night, then sunk to a current low of $24 for tickets.

There are around 6000 tickets available on Wednesday morning just on StubHub. FanSnap, which tracks non-StubHub tickets, also has close to that number of tickets available, and their starting price is $25. With many of the tickets on the secondary market, the prices are below face value, which tells you something about the fans’ confidence — or lack thereof — on how the Yankees are going to do.

I remember these same sort of indicators in the 2004 ALCS. I was able to get tickets for face value the day of Game 6 from a Yankee fan who apparently didn’t want to sit through seeing the Sox winning. I was also at Game 7 that year, and there were about 20,000 fans left at the end — mostly Red Sox fans, with some loyalists like me.

Are the Yankees doomed in this year’s ALCS, given that they’re down 3 games to 1? Having watched the Sox come back from an even bigger deficit, anything is possible. So I wouldn’t count the Yankees just yet, although I so wish we had our own Kevin Millar to say this year’s equivalent of his famous “don’t let us win tonight” speech. Instead, we have Yankee captain Derek Jeter giving this tepid quote:

“They’ve played better than us,” Derek Jeter said. “They’ve pitched better. They’ve hit better. When you have that combination, you find yourself behind. But at this point, we’re going to come in tomorrow — or later today — and try to win a game.”

Try? Where is Yoda when you really need him?

At any rate, if other Yankee fans have given up on their team, their loss will be my gain. I’m going to buy some below-face-value tickets today, and cheer on the Bombers, win or lose, until the very end.

Lisa Swan, a lifelong Yankee fan, grew up in Passaic, N.J., where her favorite player was the talented but insecure Reggie Jackson. Today she lives on Staten Island, where her favorite player is the t ...read more

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