The Yankees' late-inning comeback yesterday capped off the season series between Toronto and their rivals in the Bronx.
As a New York resident of over seven years, I've attended more games at Yankee Stadium than at any other big-league ballpark, save the Dome/Rogers Centre and Exhibition Stadium. In an attempt to be fair and balanced, Fox News-style, I've listed things to both like and dislike about The House That Ruth Built, in ten different categories. Notwithstanding the results, I'll be there again in 2006, cheering on the Jays in some rather hostile territory.
* In-Game Entertainment
What's To Like: Loyalty to the home team: No commercials, no visiting team's merchandise. All Yankees baseball, all the time.
What's To Hate: The notion that "Yankeeography" is a word.
* Celebrating The Home Team
What's To Like: Monument Park.
What's To Hate: This year's motto, "Grind It," as if a multi-zillion dollar team of free agents is somehow a gritty underdog.
* Fans' Treatment of Opposing Players
What's To Like: Respectful ovations when injured opponents leave the field.
What's To Hate: Never -- and I mean never -- will you see applause for a great play or a great pitching performance by an opponent.
* Fans' Rituals
What's To Like: Unique traditions, like the "roll call" when fans in the bleachers cheer for each individual defensive player until they turn to acknowledge them.
What's To Hate: Blatantly stolen traditions, like throwing back opponents' home run balls.
* When Fans Find Out You're A Jays Fan
What's To Like: 40% of the crowd can engage in detailed arguments about whether Ed Sprague and Pat Borders should have been flip-flopped in the batting order in Game 2 of the '93 Series.
What's To Hate: The remaining 60% of the crowd still isn't aware of who the Yankees are playing, and it's already the third inning. But when you've got a Jeter t-shirt and a cell phone, what more do you need?
* Public Transportation
What's To Like: Three subway lines go right to the stadium.
What's To Hate: Just try and get on one of those trains once the game lets out.
* Principled Rooting
What's To Like: "Jason Giambi is...the ugly symbol of cheating to succeed." -- New York Post, March 7, 2005.
What's To Hate: 30 home runs? Let bygones be bygones!
* The Local Idiom
What's To Like: "Get ya kosha hatt dawgs!"
What's To Hate: "Is dat a Bawston hat? Kill 'im!"
What's To Like: If you don't mind the lineups, there's no more rigorous security anywhere in sports.
What's To Hate: [Excised as classified information.]
* In Conclusion
What's To Like: A legitimately passionate, baseball-savvy experience.
What's To Hate: The Yankees. Even more so after you've been to the Bronx Zoo.