NEW YORK â?? Playoff baseball is a familiar sight in Yankee Stadium, considering the home team has played more postseason games by far than any other franchise in history.
However, the late-arriving crowds and the availability of tickets during this year's playoffs might suggest that the guys in the pinstripes don't have quite the same hold over New York sports fans.
"This is a very easy place to play right now," said Detroit Tigers outfielder Quentin Berry after the visitors took the first two games in the American League Championship Series from the Yankees.
"Coming from Oakland and how rowdy they were and how loud â?¦ that was the loudest place I've ever been in my entire life," Berry added, saying many other Tigers players felt the same way.
"They're loud here, but coming from there (Oakland) man, it made this trip so much easier to deal with the fans and the electricity here because it's nothing like Oakland was."
Minutes before the first pitch of Game 2 in the American League Championship Series, empty blue seats were prevalent â?? and the excuses of Friday afternoon traffic and odd start times didn't seem to hold up.
"There were a lot of tickets available on StubHub," said Yankee fan George Jamgochian of Franklin Lakes, N.J., who came to the game with his son George Jr. "I would guess it was a result of Derek Jeter getting injured. ... But I'll support the Yankees no matter what."
The Yankee captain suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Saturday's series opener â?? and his absence was notable as the right-field bleacher creatures did their traditional roll-call of Yankee players in the field in the top of the first inning.
They called out Der-ek! Je-ter! -- even though he wasn't even in the ballpark.
"Because of the injury yesterday, we wanted to support the team and thought this would be the best time to go see the game," Jamgochian said.
"I think (the energy level) went down a little bit, but nothing really bad at all," said Nicaury Castillo of Guttenberg, N.J. "It's only one game. Let's see what happens."
For some long-time Yankee fans, the lack of passion isn't such a recent phenomenon.
Sunday's attendance of 47,082 was not a sellout. The total was 40 fewer people than were at the ALCS opener on Saturday and just one more than were at the Division Series clincher against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
"This is my fourth postseason game the last two years," said Mike Berardelli of Scranton, Pa. "I see those empty seats either way. I think the high prices of the (concessions) and the seats themselves, I think that's what's causing people not to come out. It's expensive to come out here anymore."
Standing on the concourse along the first base side of the field, he said the vibe of the crowd has been noticeably different ever since the Yankees moved into their new ballpark in 2010.
"The old stadium was never like this," Berardelli said. You wouldn't see an empty seat in the building. And if you didn't get your ticket three weeks before the game, you weren't coming. Wasn't happening."
Are Yankee fans more apathetic now? Not according to Morris Douglas of Queens, who says he's been a Yankee fan for 48 years and has sold programs at both versions of Yankee Stadium for the past 20.
"The regular die-hard Yankee fans, they're into it."
However, several people at Sunday's game said they had no problem getting tickets on the secondary market if they wanted them. That's something that wouldn't happen at the old park, Berardelli said.
"Not for 50 bucks ... people were paying hundreds on StubHub back then.
"I get a different vibe this year than I did in 1998 when they were in the playoffs. It's a different atmosphere. It's a different crowd of guys.
"The guys back then, they played with heart. These guys just swing for the fence every time they swing at the ball. They don't play the game right."
Falio Leyba of Camden, N.J., may beg to differ. Wearing a No. 2 Jeter jersey, he surveyed the game from behind the lower left field seats.
"There's some people that are not into it. Maybe they're not real fans," Leyba said. "But there's people here showing that it's a team effort."
He said he's confident the Yankees will overcome all the adversity and advance to the World Series â?? just like old times.
"I'm actually buying tickets for Friday's game because I know we'll be here."
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