The New York Yankees are perhaps the most hated team in
professional sports. But are their fans recidivist criminals who will
steal your jewels and Derek Jeter jersey? Probably. That's one takeaway from a front-page, 1200-word story by Manny
Fernandez in the New York Times that details the criminal misdeeds of
people in Yankees caps. According to the Times, since 2000, more than 100
people connected with serious crimes in New York City wore some type of
Yankees apparel. (By comparison, the paper's search of the same police
blotters and newspaper reports turned up only 12 instances of people in
Mets garb.) What's the explanation? The story offers multiple theories.
Yankees caps and clothing have dominated the crime blotter for so long, in so many parts of the city and in so many types of offenses, that it defies an easy explanation. Criminologists, sports marketing analysts, consumer psychologists and Yankees fans have developed their own theories, with some attributing the trend to the popularity of the caps among gangsta rappers and others wondering whether criminals are identifying with the team's aura of money, power and success.For the time being, we'll defer to the wisdom of Chuck Frantz, the President of the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, who told Fernandez the crimes were perpetrated by "a few unfortunate people who probably don't know the first thing about the Yankees."
One criminologist said the trend might be a result of what could be called the Jay-Z effect.
Criminals might be wearing Yankees merchandise not because they are fans of the team, but because they are fans of the cocked-hat look popularized by Jay-Z and other rappers, said the criminologist, Frankie Y. Bailey, an associate professor at the University at Albany, who is writing a book about the role of clothing and style in criminal cases.'He wears it and makes it look cool,' Ms. Bailey said of Jay-Z and the cap. 'It's almost like the Yankees have acquired a kind of street rep, a coolness.'