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Saturday, in the city
Yesterday, my wife and I took the Lex to Yankee Stadium, and it was in the train that we crossed paths with a few demonstrators on route to their NYC "peace" rally. I wouldn't have known their identity were it not for a gregarious gentleman who started an argument with a group standing nearby in our car. Appearing somewhere in his middle age, he sounded as New York as can be, but identified himself as a naturalized citizen of Indian birth. This was just before the 14th Street stop, where he and the group he'd engaged piled out. The only statement any of them made that we could hear clearly was his, when he said, "But look at what they're doing to the Jews in France." That subway, that argument: I thought, My God, is it 2006 or 1941?
Great game, though. We--my wife, my mother, two sisters and my brother and his wife--had seats in the bleachers, where the fans are most excited. It was a nostalgia thing: none of us had been in the bleachers since we were kids. Lots to cheer about, if you, like my family, are a Yankee partisan. Yankee bats sang to the tune of 17 runs (the Blue Jays, a pretty good team this year, managed 6).
Two changes we hadn't heard about, though, which dampened the day a bit: Yankee management no longer sells beer in the bleacher section; and razzing fans of other teams is now verboten. Several who attempted it were led out by armed guards. I'm sure the decision to suppress such speech on private property was a sound business decision. (And I'm sure our puritanical mayor sleeps easier knowing the bleachers of Yankee Stadium are secure.) And yet, it gave me a chill, though the sun was strong, the skies cloudless. Are we now too sensitive to stand a bit of rowdy mockery? Or are we so uncivil that mockery itself now always leads to violence? I think it's both, and I think its sad and ominious.