A study by New York University psychologists (with a hat-tip to Big League Stew) found that a large majority of Yankee followers perceived Fenway Park to be closer in proximity to the Bronx than Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. In reality, Fenway lies 190 miles away from The House That Ruth Built while Birdland lies just a few minutes farther at 170 miles away in the opposite direction.
The study was conducted in 2010 outside of a Yankee game, where participants in the survey were asked to identify themselves as Yankees fans or non-Yankees fans. Then, the subjects were shown a map of the region and asked whether they estimated Fenway or Camden to be closer to the hometown of the Evil Empire. Most Yankees fans contended Fenway was closer while the majority of non-Yankee fans figured the opposite, correctly claiming that Camden was closer.
Truth be told, the difference is relatively miniscule — 20 miles isn’t exactly a large difference. But there’s apparently much more to this than initially meets the eye.
The NYU researchers contend that the results of the experiment say something about how humans perceive threats in terms of proximity. The old adage of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is what they were going for here. So are Yankees fans scared? According to science, they most certainly are.
And while the actual win-loss columns may not represent it, we at least know Yankee fans are bad at something.