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Yankees fans stay confident10/18/2004 5:11 PM ET
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Chris Mammarelli of Astoria, Queens, N.Y., builds Steinway pianos for a living. He told his foreman early Monday morning that he'd be leaving for the day.
"He's not gonna fire me," Mammarelli said. "He understands."
Mammarelli slipped on his worn Yankees cap, hopped in a car with three of his buddies, left New York and jammed up to Fenway Park, making it in a brisk three hours so they could catch batting practice before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
"This is my first time in Boston and my first time at Fenway," Mammarelli said. "I had to be here to see the Yankees win this series. I had to be here when 36,000 people walk out of this place sick to their stomachs. I want to see them all suffer."
Harsh words, but what else do you expect in the premier showdown of the hottest rivalry in sports?
The Red Sox entered Sunday's Game 4 trailing, 0-3, in the series, a deficit that no team in baseball has ever overcome. Then Boston took the Yankees down in 12 innings in Sunday night's five-hour-plus epic, the final blow being a David Ortiz two-run homer well after 1 a.m. ET.
The Red Sox fans stayed in their seats for about 40 minutes, reveling in the joy.
But as the many still-confident Yankees fans being ushered into Fenway on Monday explained, a 3-1 lead still means one and done for the Sox.
"The Red Sox like to call themselves 'idiots,'" said Jimmy Tasso, a Brown University freshman wearing a Derek Jeter jersey.
"But the real idiots are their fans. They acted like they won the World Series last night. It was one game, and they're still on the brink of elimination."
Pawn shop owner Manny Ginos of Queens was in agreement with that statement.
"They did it against Anaheim, too," Ginos said, referring to the raucous celebration that greeted Ortiz when his extra-inning homer took care of the Angels in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.
"It's a matter of not knowing how to win. We know how to win, because we do it every year. They talk about winning but never do it. I have one question for you, 'Why do they call it the World Series when it's always played in the Bronx?'"
Ginos then pulled up his Yankees sweatshirt to reveal a T-shirt featuring the same question.
Meanwhile, Joshua Loughnot, a carpenter from Syracuse, N.Y., sat quietly by Fenway's Gate D, wearing a camouflage Yankees cap and holding a sign that read, "2004 World Series: The Yankees are reporting for duty!"
Loughnot said the slogan was derived from a John Kerry political slogan, which might be a bit too erudite for some of the hardscrabble fans in attendance.
Still, his partisanship was clear.
"I'm not worried about losing last night and I'm not worried if we lose tonight," Loughnot said. "I'm a fan of baseball. If it goes seven games, so be it. I'll have something to do for the next three nights."
And if the Yankees happen to lose in seven?
"Well, that's not gonna happen," Loughnot said with a smile. "Boston is cursed. They'll never win. It's a script, like The Odyssey or something."
That odyssey took Pedro Martinez back to the mound for Game 5 and back into the headlines.
Martinez's now-infamous "Daddy" comments from weeks ago that resonated in the form of countless T-shirts, signs and chants in Games 1 and 2 in Yankee Stadium seemed to be creeping back up, at least for these temporarily transplanted New Yorkers.
"We still own him, and he knows it," said Tasso.
"We're gonna clinch tonight and show who the real daddy is," said Ginos.
Jason Maroon, a computer technician from Litchfield, Conn., somehow managed to put a positive spin on the situation.
"I didn't think we could sweep a team of this caliber, so it's not surprising that it's come to this," Maroon said. "They've got big bats and great pitching. For as much as Pedro loves the talk, nobody's his daddy, no matter what he says."
And no matter what these Yankees fans say, ultimately they arrive at some well-calculated, facts-driven insult that puts them merrily on their way.
"I wanted to be here to celebrate in their stadium," Tasso said. "I want to see the Yankees jump up and down on their field like they did in 1999, especially after losing the season series.
"I'm just sick and tired of the Red Sox and sick and tired of their fans."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.