October is here and the Yankees are in the playoffs. Take that sentence in for a second. It’s a familiar, comforting feeling that we look forward to like a dry pair of socks after a rainy commute. But, this life-giving stretch of autumn can also turn us upside down. We are defenseless to its power.
Playoff baseball is stressful, so we find ways to cope with it. We grow out beards. We wear the same clothes for every game, but we don’t wash them. We scream at our TVs, our friends, and the internet. We are both our worst selves and our best selves. We can’t take blame. This is simply the grip of the postseason.
During this magical time of the year, the stressed-out, superstition-wielding fans are faced with an important decision on a nightly basis: Where do I watch the game? There are many options, each with their own pros and cons. It can be overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve taken the time to create a (very scientific) formula for ranking the ideal locales to watch a tense playoff game.
First, we have to identify the factors that positively and negatively affect a playoff watching atmosphere. Yes, there are about a million things to consider, but for the sake of brevity, I’ve narrowed it down to eight determining elements. All of these will be scored on a 1-10 scale, making the perfect score an 80.
Celebration: The ability to celebrate a game, unhindered by your surroundings. Bonus points here if your surroundings can strengthen your celebration.
People: Who is around you? Who do they root for? Do they jump up thinking a pop out to second is a home run?
Alcohol: What is your proximity to alcohol? How expensive is it? (Please remember to drink responsibly)
Food: What is your proximity to (good) food? How expensive is it?
Game volume: Can you hear the announcers and the action of the game?
Sadness: If the Yankees lose, how bad is the environment you’re in for your emotional state?
Anger other fans: Do you have the ability to anger a fan of the opposing team when the Yankees win? Their tears are like candy.
X-factor: Here’s where things get subjective and fun. Is there some underlying benefit to your situation?
Next, we have to think of all of the possible situations in which someone would conceivably watch a tense playoff game. Again, there are many situations, but in the name of abrupt science, I’ve narrowed it down to eight, somewhat-all-encompassing scenarios.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it:
8. Being held against your will: 6 pts
This is a wide category. Maybe you have to work late and you’re stuck watching Gamecast at your desk. Maybe you have to go to dinner with your significant other’s parents and you have to check your phone for updates in the bathroom. When you’re held against your will and playoff baseball is on, you become a miserable person. You cannot celebrate, you hate the people around you, even the drinks and food taste like ash and dust.
2 X-factor points here because whoever is holding you against your will owes you one, big time.
7. Not watching the game: 20 pts
I know what you’re thinking: How is this not in last place? The answer is simply that you are numb to it. If you aren’t watching the game, there is a good reason. You could be on a plane or stuck in an elevator with a dead phone. You have succumbed to the fact that you will not watch this game and will have to let fate run its course. You’re not pleasant for the people around you, but maybe you can enjoy a drink or a meal. You can’t be sad if they lose, because you won’t know.
3 X-factor points here for mental novocaine.
6. Watching at a party: 38 pts
Parties are fun, unless there is playoff baseball on. Crowding around a TV with a group of acquaintances who know enough talking points for an introductory conversation to the team is no way to live. Sure, you can find a few high fives, anger a possible Yankee-hater, and the drinks are in no short supply, but the room temperature buffalo chicken dip can be hit or miss, you can barely hear the game, and being stuck in this scene after a loss is a nightmare.
1 X-factor point because that buffalo chicken dip might actually be awesome.
5. Watching at the other team’s stadium: 42 pts
This is an interesting scenario. You fly out to enemy territory with some buddies for the game. Angering other fans is at an all-time high here. What’s more fun than Aaron Judge putting one out at a visitor’s stadium and you become the loudest voice in a stadium of 45,000 silent people? Nothing. Nothing is more fun that that. On the flip side, losing a game there and walking down the escalators as you’re berated with insults is about as fun as a paper cut.
6 X-factor points for the memories.
4. Watching at home, alone: 46 pts
Don’t shower. Eat whatever you want. Celebrate like a crazy person. This scenario screams independence, but also, loneliness. There are no hands to slap, drinking alone is problematic, and there is no one to discuss your couch coaching strategies with. Then again, you aren’t with people you don’t want to be with. That’s the give-and-take of watching alone.
5 X-factor points for sweet, sweet freedom.
3. Watching at a bar: 47 pts
This is the most common one on the list. Watching at a bar is the old standby. You can celebrate loudly with people all fighting for the same cause, the food options are usually sufficient, and if the Yankees lose, well, at least you’re at a bar. You might not be able to hear the game very well, but a little Pitbull never killed anybody.
4 X-factor points for an obligatory beer shower.
2. Watching at Yankee Stadium: 51 pts
Thought this was the clear number one? Me too. But, the numbers have spoken. Obviously, the celebration here is leagues better than anywhere else. Points are deducted for expensive food and beverage and the inability to easily anger other fans, but it’s hard to argue against watching a big playoff game in the Bronx. Leaving the stadium and getting on the subway after a loss would be devastating, but Yankee Stadium is still the epicenter of October baseball.
10 X-factor points because, c’mon, it’s the Bronx.
1. Watching at home with friends: 57 pts
Whether you are at your place or a friend’s, this is where it’s at. It doesn’t get better than you and a couple of people of your choosing watching the Yanks in October with the volume all the way up, eating and drinking like royalty. You probably won’t anger any opposing fans because you wouldn’t invite them to begin with, but that also makes a loss much easier to tolerate. Friends, freedom, food, and a solid night of baseball.
3 X-factor points for inside jokes.
There you have it. A scientifically justified, definitive ranking of when and where you should watch the Yankees in the playoffs. Consult the numbers, discuss with your peers, and find your sweet spot. October baseball is back, celebrate accordingly.