Baseball fans dressing up in funky costumes isn’t anything new. There were loyal fans in San Francisco who would put on Panda heads in honor of Pablo Sandoval (back when people in S.F. liked Pablo Sandoval, that is). The story of these Ninja Turtles, though, is something beyond your standard ballpark fanaticism.
The two fans are Joe Spillo and John Welch, according to the New York Daily News. They won a Twitter contest engineered by comedian/HBO TV host John Oliver, whose “Last Week Tonight” show bought three pairs of premium Yankees seats in order to jab its thumb in the Yankees’ eye.
This whole ordeal dates back to February, when Yankees COO Lonn Trost made some snobby comments after the team changed its policy on tickets sold on the secondary market. Trost said at the time: “… Quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”
So Oliver and his crew bought the fancy tickets then offered them to fans on the condition that they dress like they’ve “never sat in a premium location before” and then pay 25 cents for them. It’s a total late-night TV gag — and a good one. So Spillo and Welch won the contest, bought the tickets, dressed up as Ninja Turtles and loved it.
“I was so stoked and I was so excited,” Welch told the Daily News. “It’s a practical joke, but it’s fun for us and it’s awesome to be sitting here for 25 cents. Big shout out to … John Oliver. This could not have been any better.”
As for the Yankees? Well, they were in a tough spot. They got owned by a TV comedian, who trotted out a pair of Ninja Turtles to one of their biggest games of the year, where they’d be perfectly visible for the national TV audience watching on ESPN.
But the Yankees, to their credit, had about the best response they could in this situation. This was what they sent The Stew on Monday: “Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium. And I thank John Oliver for buying Yankees tickets.”
The “Last Week Tonight” crew still has two sets of tickets for the next two Yankees games, so watch for more characters sitting front and center. Maybe we’ll get a Batman and Robin. Or better yet, a couple of Robin Hoods.
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