Last Night's Winner: Criminal Yankee Fans

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In sports, everyone is a winner-some people just win better than others. Like New York City's criminals, who apparently wear Yankee caps in disproportionate numbers. I too own a Yankee cap (pictured), so I thought I'd take a look at this trend.

"Trend," as defined by the New York Times, of course. Exposer of such dubious trends as a return to Victorian-era clothing, a surge in small-breast pride, and straight, single men owning cats. For the record, none of those appeal to me.

But this one caught my eye. Here's the money quote, the one that proves beyond a doubt that the citywide criminal syndicates are in an unholy union with the Steinbrenners, supplying them with the cash needed to overpay Jeter in exchange for free team merchandise:

Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment. The tally is based on a review of New York Police Department news releases, surveillance video and images of robberies and other crimes, as well as police sketches and newspaper articles that described suspects' clothing. No other sports team comes close.


I'm sure I can't be the only one who's shocked — shocked! — that 10 people each year commit crimes, or show up to court in the most popular cap in the city. The Times offers up two theories for this obvious correlation. Let's take them in turn.

1. "The rapper Jay-Z has worn a Yankees cap for years - on his album covers and in his videos - and has helped turn the cap into a ubiquitous fashion accessory for urban youths."


There is a kernel of truth here. We are fiercely protective of our native sons. I still hear that goddamn "Empire State of Mind" blasting from cars regularly, while the rest of the country has moved on to "California Gurls" and whatever that kid from Degrassi has out. Ranking Tupac over Biggie is a lynchable offense in this city, and no jury would convict the mob that strings you up.

But it's not as if Jay-Z invented wearing the cap. The interlocking NY shows up in videos and performances from Kurtis Blow and Kool Moe Dee to Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. So we move on to the next theory:

2. "Criminals are identifying with the team's aura of money, power and success."

Eh, maybe. I know five-year-old me wanted nothing more than to hire Howie Spira to dig up dirt on a bully who stole my lunch. But the evidence doesn't play out in other cases, if we're linking team success to crime. Where was the wave of bank robberies in New England during the Patriots dynasty? The Devils-inspired armored car holdups in North Jersey? And why does anyone wear Dodgers caps? So I'm going to say no on this one.


I will offer up my own theory on the preponderance of Yankee caps showing up in crimes in New York, and that is: they're crimes in New York. The Yankees are the most popular team in the most popular sport around here. I'd be shocked if they weren't worn more than Mets or Jets or Rangers hats.

Boom. Trend piece. Book it.