Poor Clint Frazier has a completely different look to him now that his long red hair has been sliced off due to concerns that someone’s hair would be a team distraction (wow, that feels so dumb to say).
As Joe Girardi noted, the team has rules, so Frazier decided to hit the barber shop and not cause any team controversy, while noting that he loves this organization more than he loved his hair.
Aside from realizing how much I love Frazier, I also think his misfortune can be a platform to scrap other Yankee traditions that have outlived their use. The team’s hair policy is one of a few team traditions that seem to be kept around only because they have been around for a long time, and that’s just not a good excuse to hold onto something if it is bad to begin with.
Before we begin, it should be noted that there are many pinstriped traditions that are easy to love and should stay put for years to come. Nothing makes a Yankees win at the Stadium more enjoyable than Frank Sinatra bidding us farewell with “New York, New York.” Old Timer’s Day is always a fun time to welcome back old fan favorites and acknowledge the team’s storied past. Then there’s the “Roll Call” from the right field bleachers, which is the perfect way to start a ballgame.
Nevertheless, there are some other undesirable traditions that need a makeover or an all-out removal. Here are the main ones that should be tended to immediately.
First, can we finally put an end to the YMCA? Rarely have I seen such a bad song be overplayed so much, and Yankee Stadium is the most glaring culprit. The song gives the grounds crew a chance to cut loose and have fun, but they don’t exactly get much participation from the fans anymore, and that’s likely because the fans don’t like hearing the outdated and overused song anymore.
The tradition began in 1996, so naturally the team is hesitant to let it go because of other traditions that began in 1996 (winning lots of World Series). I don’t care when it started, I just care that it ends very soon. Pick a new song to make it fresh!
There was an April fools article a couple years back that said the Yanks announced they were scrapping the YMCA for “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. I actually thought it was a decent idea! I would probably choose a new song, but it was nice to hear that they were willing to change (which they weren’t, since it was an April fools joke, but you get it). Hopefully that joke becomes a reality.
Another song that needs scrapping is “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Also started in the mid-’90s, this painful song remains a Stadium fixture because of its timing. The tradition began when the team started winning all the time, so they don’t dare change it. Guess what, it’s been a long time since the Yanks consistently won, so let’s take this opportunity to get rid of it!
It’s not enjoyable to look around the stadium while listening to a horrible song and seeing just a handful of fans wait out the end of the tune so baseball can resume. The Red Sox sing along to “Sweet Caroline” in the later innings, and they all seem to enjoy that. The Yanks should find their own enjoyable song to give fans a second win in the later innings.
Right before “Cotton-Eyed Joe” blares way too loudly from the stadium speakers, fans in the Bronx rise and remove their hats to hear Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America.” This tradition was started after the 9/11 attacks and was a beautiful way for fans to stand together and honor their country in a time where everyone felt a strong sense of patriotism.
Sixteen years later, most fans want to say goodbye to the song, and most teams have done just that. However, the Yankees still play it every game. If they’re going to continue playing it, at least bring different people in to sing their own renditions of the song. They play in New York City—they certainly have the capacity to find 81 different talented singers. I know Smith was responsible for bringing that song back, but it’s hard to listen to every single game.
I love being an American and have a sense of guilt in saying that this needs a change, but the Mets actually found a good balance by saving the song for Sundays and holidays. Other teams do this as well. The song doesn’t need to go away, but maybe some different versions of it from time to time wouldn’t hurt anybody.
During the later innings of a game, fans tend to file out if there isn’t a nail-biter going on. Fans used to fill in empty seats in the lower levels at the old stadium, but now we have a stupid “moat” that separates us “normies” from the “elite” fan base that has the best view of the park. Can we please fill in this stupid moat and let Yankee Stadium feel like a ballpark again?
Who knows, maybe fans move down and realize how amazing the seats are and decide to spend a thousand dollars to sit there for their next visit! Probably not, but what exactly does the organization have to lose for letting fans enhance their viewing experience with seats that have been permanently vacated?
It is unlikely that any of these traditions will be going anywhere, but they should at least be discussed. Also, no more waves at the games!