The New York Yankees do not trust another team's ballpark security alone to handle potentially unruly fans, so they bring their own private guards on the road with them. One ticket holder at a recent Toronto Blue Jays game said he witnessed Yankees traveling security in action, said he was harassed by a Yankees employee, and has filed a complaint with the Blue Jays.
Jays fan Justin Jackson blogged about it over the weekend on the Sportto Network, pejoratively calling his post: "Hired Goons: How the Yankees Keep the Home Fans Quiet." So, he's probably coming at it from an emotional point of view. And yet, how kindly would you take to foreign agents influencing hometown security?
Jackson says he saw a fan "violently arrested" and "bloodied" after two men wearing Yankees jackets and sporting Yankees I.D. lanyards pointed the fan out to Blue Jays security as having thrown objects (peanuts) into the visitors bullpen. Jackson, who says many fans were heckling the Yankees (including himself) but disputes that any objects were thrown, later approached the men — including one who had taken his picture:
“You need to sit down, or I will remove you as well.”
Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star picked up the tale and talked to one of the Yankees security guards, Mark Kafalas, who confirmed he is paid by the team to complement local ballpark security:
Kafalas said that during games, he and his partner go back and forth between the section of seats where the players’ families sit and the seats closest to the bullpen.
“I don’t eject anybody,” he explained, saying he and his partner simply inform ballpark security of unruly behaviour.
Asked if the kind of behaviour they’re watching for couldn’t be dealt with by a home team’s existing security, Kafalas shrugged. “You’d hope.”
The Jays’ director of team security, Ron Sandelli, also travels with the team. But his tasks primarily involve transportation and logistics. He does not police fans in opposing ballparks.
Kafalas admitted what the Yankees do is uncommon.
“But we’re the Yankees,” he said. “Sometimes we draw attention.”
Any fan who throws peanuts, or beer, or any object onto the field or into bullpen — if that's what has happened — should be ejected from the park and possibly arrested. Arguing otherwise is silly. But stuff like that happens at baseball games. Usually, home security handles it.
It's noble that the Yankees have enough consideration and money to send their own employees on the road to provide extra security. But if they have real security concerns during a game, at the ballpark, they might want to work with the home team and enable it to staff more security of its own. It seems common sense that fans aren't going to react well, period, to someone in a Yankees uniform telling them what to do in their home park. Actually, it's easy to argue that uniformed Yankees personnel might actually make things less safe. It is understandable, though, given what happened at Camden Yards in Baltimore this past October, that the Yankees might be circumspect about what motivates local employees sometimes.
This kind of response, though, is just asking for more trouble. Besides, it makes the Yankees look entitled, aloof, elite, condescending and imperialistic. But don't tell them that, because it'll make them want to keep doing it.