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Photo: Justin Jackson

I read this story twice to make sure it wasn’t some sort of satire. As best as I can tell, it’s not– the Yankees actually – allegedly – employ hoodlums to travel with the team and rat on hecklers and would-be instigators.

This blog post, via Hardball Talk, about the private security detail that follows the Yankees around and hangs out in outfield concourses around the league:

Fans of Toronto beware: the New York Yankees can pretty much kick any fan out ofRogers Centre. How you ask? Bullpen trolls. Individuals paid to travel with the team to enforce and control the fan environment that their players participate in. On the surface, this may seem harmless, but on Friday night during the Blue Jays-Yankees matchup, these individuals preyed on fans who did nothing but be fans. They told the Yankees bullpen staff they sucked, booed them, creatively chirped them and then, as if a threat to the safety of these players, these fans were removed by police, one bloodied and arrested.

To eschew any accusations of bias, I and many others in our section witnessed two individuals in Yankees jackets, complete with Yankees lanyard ID tags walk into our seating area and point out to Toronto police two fans who were chirping and heckling the Yankees bullpen. One individual, who was later violently arrested, did nothing but look at these two Yankees “men in black”. After starting a chant to the tune of “Yankees suck”, one of these bullpen trolls decided to photograph me with their mobile device. With a disgusting smile, he waved at me.

Somewhere, Alex Jones just blamed these guys for the Boston bombing.

But for realsies, this is ridiculous. I have no problem with the Yankees, perhaps America’s most famous (and hated) team, traveling with their own security for players – in fact, I applaud it – but it is oh so Yankees to rat on boisterous fans daring to dissent against the Evil Empire. Like, heckling has long been a part of the game. This is more controlling the message than protecting the players. This is how Saddam ran things. How Kim Jong-un does his thing. And, apparently, the New York Yankees.

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