Laura Green, 29, a busty brunette who lives in Sunset Park and sells scrapbook supplies over the Internet, was sitting in the N train on a recent smoldering Wednesday evening, sporting a Yankees cap and a coy grin. “What would you do to Derek Jeter?” she asked as the subway lurched over the Manhattan Bridge.
“Ugh—sooo many horrible things,” replied her friend, who said her name was “Freda,” that she lived in Queens and that her dad was obsessed with the Mets.
“Horrible as in good things,” Ms. Green said, and sighed. “I could marry him!”
A few seats away, an older gentleman who was eavesdropping shook his head and hunched into his New York Post.
After a few minutes mooning over the shapeliness of Mr. Jeter’s rump, Ms. Green mentioned the “caveman-like hotness” of his teammate, Johnny Damon.
Did she know his position, wondered The Observer, perfectly aware that Mr. Damon plays left field and has a .328 batting average (as of press time, anyway).
Meet the clueless baseball girls of New York, much scorned by the many true-blue female fans who know all the players on the Yankees and/or Mets roster (including the ugly ones) and the alphabet soup of baseball vocabulary (ERAs, HRs, RBIs, etc.). Walk into any sports bar during the next Subway Series, which begins June 27, and you’ll find gaggles of them, gyrating among clusters of buttoned-up fellas in baseball caps. The loathsome lassies will be perched at the end of the bar, nursing Bud Lights or vodka sodas and staring blankly at the flickering television screen—perking up, perhaps, when the rest of the crowd cheers for a game-winning play. They’re flipping they’re perfumed ponytails, sending a wave of feminine pheromones into the stinky sea of testosterone, Old Spice and sweat.
“They have a couple of beers—baseball is a good reason to drink during the week—and flirt with the guys,” said Frank O’Connar, 38, a mustachioed, rugged gentleman sucking on a Marlboro outside Farrell’s, an outpost for Yankees fans in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. “You can tell just by the jersey they’re wearing”—a jersey that usually bears the name of one of the beefcake-calendar-worthy Yankee hotties (Mr. Jeter, Mr. Damon, or third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has the pleasantly phallic nickname A-Rod) or that of dreamy-eyed Mets third baseman David Wright or washboard-ab’ed shortstop Jose Reyes. T-shirts featuring slogans like “Jeter’s Love Slave” and “Do Me Wright” are also baseball-girl favorites, often topped with one of those putrid pink baseball caps available from every major baseball team’s official store.
If one had to make a crude generalization, you could say that the dumb-blonde choice is the Yankees, the obvious front-runner team, while brunette-librarian types favor the Mets. But honestly, from a distance, who can tell if a pink-wearing gal is rooting for the Yankees, the Mets or (God forbid) the Red Sox? “No real female baseball fan I know wears a pink hat,” wrote Caryn Rose, a writer living in Greenpoint, on her blog about the Mets, called MetsGrrl.com. “The pink hat exists so that boyfriends or husbands (or heck, lesbian partners of girly girls), who feel guilty that they have dragged their girlfriend to the game, can go to the team store and buy something to placate them: ‘Oh, it’s pink, it must be for a girl.’ Give me a break.”
Plenty of glittering girl celebrities have feigned interest in the game while dating a baseball player or high-profile fan. Pop star Jennifer Lopez is perhaps the worst offender, nabbing front-row seats first with hip-hop potentate P. Diddy in the Yankees section, then with actor Ben Affleck over in Red Sox row, and now next to singer Marc Antony at Shea. In a 2007 Time magazine interview, asked if she was a Yankee fan, Ms. Lopez said: “I don’t really like baseball. I have family members that are Mets fans and others that are Yankees fans, so whoever wants to go to the game, I go with.” That about sums it up.
Actress Julia Stiles, Matt Damon’s co-star in the Bourne Identity series, claimed to be a lifelong Mets enthusiast during a publicity blitz for her first pitch at a Shea stadium game in May 2006. “I got to do that simply because I had a movie opening,” she told Moving Picture magazine in a 2007 interview. Meanwhile, Regis Philbin’s sidekick, Kelly Ripa, has claimed loyalty to the Mets, perhaps because her husband, actor Mark Consuelos, is good friends with freshly fired manager Willie Randolph. Ms. Ripa comes from a Philadelphia Phillies family, and betrayed her hometown team by recording promotional radio spots for the Mets on WFAN New Jersey.
Alyssa Milano, pointy-chinned star of Who’s the Boss and Charmed, has had her own line of baseball wear for women called “touch” since spring 2007. The nonpartisan line includes jeans with patches of the New York Yankees symbol on the butt for $49.99 or a Mets Women’s Rayon Peasant Top for $44.99. Ms. Milano was too busy shooting a pilot for ABC with the producer of That ’70s Show and How I Met Your Mother to chat with The Observer, but the Dodgers fan does have an MLB blog (which reads suspiciously like it has been written by support staff).
Oscar winner Hilary Swank gamely sported a Mets cap when she attended Shea Stadium for Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, when outfielder Carlos Beltran broke hearts with a game-ending strikeout. In an Esquire interview, Ms. Swank “never once even suggest[ed] that the great man might have choked,” wrote Mike Sager. (She also called runs “points.”)
Actress Jessica Biel, a former girlfriend of Mr. Jeter (whose conquests include Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Mariah Carey and Gabrielle Union), once showed up at Yankees stadium in full Red Sox gear to watch her swain play ball. Appearing on Live With Regis and Kelly in 2007, she told Mr. Philbin and Ms. Ripa that she “didn’t understand the rivalry” until she went to the game. “I went to Tufts so … and my friend told me I had to wear Red Sox gear. … It was one of the best New York experiences of my life, and I loved it. I had a hat, I had a Red Sox T-shirt, they knew who I was.” That’s right, honey: another clueless baseball girl!
“Dumb as donkeys,” said Peter Foley, 27, a publishing temp and Yankees fan drinking at Gramercy’s No Idea bar on a sticky weekday happy hour. “Try asking them anything about baseball and they don’t know a thing. It’s insulting,” he flicked his eyes toward one of the several TV screens, which was tuned into ESPN. “They’re criminals … again
st baseball, against being a fan of baseball … and women.”
And don’t even get us started on Cubs-to-Yankees turncoat Hillary Clinton.