By Shani Muschel

Do you call yourself a sports fan, especially a New York sports fan? Then unless you’ve been living under a large rock covered by a large building in Timbuktu, you’ve been hearing about Rangers’ owner Chuck Greenberg’s ‘outlandish’ criticism of Yankee fans this week.

Still haven’t got the memo?

Then let me break it down for you. In a guest spot on ESPN radio, Greenberg publicly called out Yankee fans, bashing them for their poor behavior this offseason.

“I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful,” Greenberg told ESPN. “They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.”

Greenberg swiftly followed up his statement with a call to Hal Steinbrenner in which he apologized for his remarks (presumably at the behest of one Mr. Bud Selig). Because how dare someone take a swing at the holy Yankee establishment and get away with it.

I can’t help but feel like there is a lot of misplaced outrage over this whole ordeal. Let’s all make sure that we’re thinking logically here. Why the upheaval? Is anyone really surprised by these comments? The only real argument anyone can make is the fact that the comments were made by another team owner on the radio, and that was probably not the smartest thing to do. This can be looked at as slightly surprising and disappointing.

But can any Yankee fan or NY sports fan say that they honestly disagree with what was pointed out by Greenberg?

Let’s face it. The guy was spot on. I’ve been a Mets fan since about 2006, but I spent a large part of my life worshipping the Evil Empire (long story that involves my fanatic Mets fan husband, a panel of wise men also fanatic Mets fans. And the dissolution and swearing off of a particular fandom, not a story for right now).

I’ve gone to many a Yankee game, and while I personally have never witnessed or experienced any violent behavior, I have to say, I can’t really argue with either assessment, violence or apathy. When it comes down to it, the Yankee fan base is made up of three parts apathetic executive/rich guy and one part drunk frat-guy bleacher creature, with maybe a sprinkle of fathers and sons thrown in.

What do I mean by that? Let’s dissect the statement, shall we?

The whole lower bowl of Yankee Stadium is filled with men still in their business suits and ties, coming to the game straight from work, who got the tickets from their company and are either conducting a business meeting with clients in the seats or tapping furiously away at their Blackberry’s.

The Yankees are lucky if they get the faintest of “woos” from these guys. Most likely they have no clue what’s even going on in the game and are using it as a means to escape their wives and kids for another couple of hours. This is the definition of apathy, and the high ticket prices at Yankee stadium will only continue to draw this kind of “fan” to the exclusion of the real, true, hardworking middle class fans who are stuck sitting at home rooting for their team (if they are lucky enough to have a cable provider who actually carries FOX) because they have been priced out.

This is why the Yankees have apathetic fans. It is of their own greedy doing, and the reason why Greenberg’s comments stung so badly is because they know it’s true.

Now let’s examine the “violent” characterization.

Again, if we’re really being honest, can we truly disagree with him? Take recent events for example. Has any team ever had to outlaw certain fan cheers in their stadiums? Yes, actually, come to think of it, another team that plays right across the river, the New York Jets, whose fans equal supplanted Bleacher Creatures during baseball offseason/football season, had to do just that.

Come on, just admit it.

The Bleacher Creatures are awful human beings. They’re rude, obnoxious, elitist, mean and extremely disrespectful, and they truly are an embarrassment to an organization that values pride and class above all else. The Yankee organization has looked the other way for too long.

Maybe instead of all the misplaced outrage and empty apologies in response to Greenberg’s comments, the Yankees should be using this constructive criticism as an impetus to finally take a good look at what goes on in their stadium and work to make some changes to improve fan experience at their games, so that every paying patron, even (Heaven Forbid!) non-Yankee fans, can come away from the game with a good taste in their mouth instead of full of beer.

Clearly, this is not the first time Yankee fans, specifically the Bleacher Creatures, have been called out on their despicable behavior. The only distinction here is who actually did the calling out. And if it takes a public figure in Chuck Greenberg standing up to get the Yankee fans to finally clean up their act, I say good for you Mr. Greenberg, for having the you-know-what to stand up publicly and face off against the almighty Empire. It’s about time.

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This article originally appeared on The NY Sports Digest. If its off-beat and it’s about the Mets, Yankees, Knicks, Giants, Jets, Islanders, or Rangers, than The Digest is the spot to get it. Stop with the mega-sites and get a feel for the true pulse of New York at

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