America's jails are full of innocent people, and nobody is crazy at the funny farm. Convicts and patients will tell you that. It's no surprise, then, to find no animals in the right-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. A myth, a slander, a lie.
Chuck Sims will tell you that. He's 23, lives across the Hudson River in New Jersey, and loves to sit in the right-field bleachers. From those seats a week ago, customers hurled bottles, smoke bombs and epithets, causing one Los Angeles Dodger to say, "They're animals out there. It's the Bronx Zoo."
"It's great out here," Sims said two hours before tonight's Game 6 to the World Series matching his beloved Yankees with the Dodgers. "If we win, you're going to see some crazies out here. It's been a long time."
Aware that the Yankees' first world championship in 15 years was only one victory away, and frightenend by the likelihood of mass celebration - thousands of fans swarmed onto the field a year ago when the Yankees won the league pennant - the Yankees' management made extensive plans to keep the customers in their places.
More than 400 stadium police, four times the normal allotment, joined maybe 100 of New York's finest inside Yankee Stadium tonight. Police were stationed at the foot of every aisle leading to the field. Spotters with binoculars and two-way radios were assigned to track down anyone throwing anything onto the field. The cops were told to ring the playing field at game's end and stop intruders. Trespassers would be arrested.
"We're going to deee-stroyyy the Dodgers," Chuck Sims said. He stood in the bleachers, four feet above the right-field wall. "This is the final game! Right here. Balls are going to be flyin'. I mean, it's going to be great!"
After the Yankee victory, Sims said, "I would like to get to the locker room to shake Billy Martin's hand. Who else you going to get to manage these guys? Billy is the man!"
What about the threat of arrest?
"I'm going down the stands and over the dugout," Sims said, answering that silly question.
George Sanchez, a stadium security man stationed in the right-field bleachers, said his biggest problem were people who wre Dodger caps to the game. "They're advertising for trouble," he said. "Like they're wearing a sign that says, 'Hit me.'"
Because that Dodgers complained last week that fans were throwing debris into their bullpen in center field, the Yankees today built a plywood roof over the bullpen. Someone asked Sanchez if the Yankees considered erecting a screen in front of the right-field bleachers to stop projectiles and keep the animals - er, fans - caged.
"I'd love it," he said quickly.
Then, laughing, the security man said, "Electrified. Get one crisp on it, that'll stop it."
Thirty stadium police stood ready tonight in the 2,500-seat bleachers. The first two rows of the bleachers, about 300 seats, were not sold, the idea being to keep the customers farther from the field.
"We ain't animals," said Pat O'Sullivan, 20, a right-field habitue from New Jersey. "We just love it here and we love the Yankees. The Red Sox, they called us animals, too. They're just a bunch of babies. They lose, they cry. Same thing with the Dodgers."
James Hornblower, 14, of Greenwich, Conn., wore a batting helmet painted with the uniform numbers of his Yankee heroes. "I love it out here, gettingall the home runs, getting jumped on," he said. "It's a great section."
Like Sims, Hornblower had a plan in the event of victory. "I'll run out on the field and grab a few helmets."
"They're not going to arrest 30,000 people," he said.