Even here, N.Y. fans true to their stripes
Transplants cheer as beloved Yanks win another Series
With bar-rattling chants of “Let’s Go Yankees!’’ after every hit, “Who’s your Daddy!’’ with the early exit of Pedro Martinez, and “Mat-suu-eee’’ for their slugging hero, more than 125 crazed Yankees fans shook the Sports Grille near North Station last night as the Bronx Bombers won the World Series.
It mattered not that they were in the heart of Red Sox nation, rooting on Boston’s baseball arch-enemy. These local Yankees fans, mostly New York-area transplants who have cheered in relative silence since the Red Sox beat them in 2004, held nothing back.
They hoisted homemade “I LOVE NY’’ posters in the air, painted Yankees logos on their cheeks, and wore pinstriped shirts and Yankees caps with unabashed pride. With scarcely a Sox fan in sight, it was as if the bar were on Manhattan’s Canal Street instead of Boston’s.
“This is fantastic. I couldn’t ask for anything better,’’ said Queens native Steve Pataki, who lives in Charlestown. “The only other option would be to be at Yankee Stadium tonight.’’
The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies last night, 7-3, to win the Series, generating euphoria at the Grille as the fans jumped up and down and hugged one another with the final out. One woman shouted in celebration, “Oh, my God!’’
Ryan Coyne, 30, a Southern Connecticut native who grew up rooting for the Yankees, remembered how he got kicked out of a Boston bar in 2003 for cheering for his team as loudly as he did last night. With strength in numbers, that was not about to happen again.
“But I might get kicked out,’’ joked his friend, Eric Francis, a lonely Red Sox fan sitting in a corner. “I would never have thought in the city of Boston you could find this many Yankees fans.’’
Most of the local Yankees fans gathered last night were able to find one another through an online group started three years ago by Nikki Fein, a Back Bay physician’s assistant who grew up in New Jersey rooting for the Yanks. The “Boston-Area New York Yankee Fan Meetup’’ group, which can be found on the website meetup.com, began the year with about 50 members. But their numbers swelled each day during the Yankees’ postseason march, reaching more than 400 registered members.
For the past few weeks, the group has jumped from bar to bar: Champions at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Game On! at Fenway Park, and the Sports Grille again last night, where even some of the wait staff donned Yankees shirts.
“I look around and I think back to the beginning, when there were four or five of us watching the game together,’’ said Fein, who thought the doorman’s count of 125 fans was actually low. “I’m ridiculous happy tonight.’’
Fein’s co-organizer, Phil Brown, a West Hartford native who has lived in the Boston area for 10 years, said he received e-mail after e-mail from local Yankees fans who learned about the group for the first time yesterday on Boston.com.
“I think everybody has the same reaction: Where has this been for my entire time living in Boston? Why am I only discovering this now?’’ Brown said.
One of those new to the group last night was Mike Lyman, 50, of Revere. Unlike almost every other fan in the bar, Lyman was a Boston native who fell in love with the Yankees as a child.
As he watched his team take the lead behind Hideki Matsui’s six-RBI night, he fingered a huge, diamond-studded Yankees World Series 2000 ring on his left ring finger. He was hoping to add a 2009 championship ring to his other hand.
And about last night’s Yankee gathering, the largest one he could recall in these parts?
“It’s a safe house,’’ he said, looking around, smiling. “It’s like a safe house for Yankees fans.’’
For a moment in the seventh inning, that safety was in doubt. With one of the Phillies’ sluggers, Chase Utley, up with two runners on base, the Yankees faced their biggest threat of the night.
A moment later, when Yankee pitcher Damaso Marte struck out Utley to end the inning, Fein jumped into the arms of Jason LaChapelle, a Manhattan native who lives in the South End, as the bar erupted in another “Let’s Go Yankees!’’ cheer.
Which is what they kept chanting into the Boston night.