Are Yankees fans "the best in the world?"

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Not my words.  They’re Lupica’s:

There aren’t fans better than this anywhere in the world. This isn’t about whether or not you love the Yankees. This is about Yankee fans.

There are other baseball fans in other cities, of course, Mets fans in this one. There are fans who come out strong for teams who haven’t won the way the Yankees won, who don’t make the playoffs just about every year the way the Yankees have since Joe Torre first came to town 13 years ago and the winning came back to the Yankees and the Bronx.

But no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.

Saying that any team’s fans are “the best” is obviously an exercise in biases, and there’s no better chance that people are going to agree on this question than they’d agree on religion.  Lupica is a New York guy who writes for a New York paper that is purchased by New York fans.  I have no doubt that he sincerely believes that Yankees fans are the best. But even if he didn’t, it’s not like he’d write that, say, the fans in Minnesota or Milwaukee or (shudder) Boston were better.  Assuming he was even proposing a way to measure it.

I’ll throw this out there though: wouldn’t one way to measure how great a teams’ fans are be to see how well they draw when the team isn’t winning?  Whether the fan base is of the fair weather variety?  If so, is it worth considering the following:

  • The Yankees were 1st in the American League in attendance from 1976-1981, when the team was winning a lot.
  • The Yankees fell out of the top spot in 1982 — to third — and didn’t lead the league again until 2003, finishing as low as 11th a couple of times when the team wasn’t playing well.  This despite the fact that they had one of the larger seating capacities in baseball over that time.
  • Contrast this with the Dodgers, who have only been out of the top 5 in NL attendance once in the last 90 years.  Or the Red Sox who have only been as low as 9th once in their history, despite having the smallest seating capacity in the game for almost all of that history. The Cardinals ranking has been more consistent than the Yankees too.

    I’ll grant that Yankees fans are pretty darn good — and it’s hard to find more knowledgeable fans than Yankees fans — but they’re not necessarily diehards.  Like the fans of most teams, they’ll stay home if the team isn’t winning.

    I’m not saying that disqualifies them from being the best fans in the world, but if I were Mike Lupica, I’d find a way to account for that before making the claim.

    White Sox ace Chris Sale scratched for ‘clubhouse incident’

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    CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale was scratched from his start against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night after he was involved in what the team said was a “non-physical clubhouse incident.”

    Sale, who was to attempt to become the majors’ first 15-game winner, was sent home from the park.

    “The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club,” general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “The White Sox will have no additional comment until the investigation is completed.”

    The White Sox clubhouse was open to reporters for only 20 minutes before it was closed for a team meeting before the game. Manager Robin Ventura did not discuss the incident later in his pregame availability.

    Right-hander Matt Albers started in Sale’s place and the White Sox planned to use multiple relievers. The crowd booed when Albers was announced as the starter as the teams warmed up.

    Sale had been shown as the starter on the scoreboard until about 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, which was delayed 10 minutes by rain.

    With the White Sox fading from playoff contention, Sale’s name has been mentioned as a possible trade target for contending teams.

    The left-hander, 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA, has been outspoken in the past.

    Sale was openly critical of team president Ken Williams during spring training when he said the son of teammate Adam LaRoche would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung LaRoche’s jersey in his locker.

    The 27-year-old Sale has said he’d like to stay in Chicago. He was the 13th overall pick out of Florida Gulf Coast in 2010 and has been selected as an All-Star five times. He started for the American League in this month’s All-Star Game.

    Sale, who is 71-43 in his career, entered the day leading the majors with 133 innings pitched and three complete games.

    In his last outing Monday, Sale allowed one hit over eight shutout innings before closer David Robertson gave up four runs in the ninth in Chicago’s loss to Seattle.

    The White Sox, who started 23-10, had dropped eight of nine games before Saturday and sat in fourth place in the AL Central, creating speculation that Sale and fellow lefty Jose Quintana could be dealt.

    Hahn said Thursday the White Sox were “mired in mediocrity” and hinted at possible big roster changes.

    Tigers GM Al Avila said before the game that many teams were looking for starting pitching.

    “Yet there are not as many good starting pitchers available,” Avila said. “And the guys that may come available are going to come at a steep price.

    Pirates recall pitcher Glasnow to start against Phillies

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    PITTSBURGH — Right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis and will make his second major league start Saturday when he faces the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Glasnow lost to the Cardinals at St. Louis on July 7, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He was 7-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 18 starts with Indianapolis.

    Catcher Elias Diaz was also recalled from Indianapolis while right-handed reliever AJ Schugel was optioned to the same club. Catcher Eric Fryer was placed on the paternity list after his wife gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl – on Saturday.

    The 25-year-old Diaz underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery May 3 after being injured in spring training. He has played in a combined 12 games at three minor leagues, hitting .341, after making his major league debut with the Pirates last September.