Amos Barshad, writing for Grantland:
LeMoine knew a guy in Sayreville, New Jersey, who ran the screen-printing business that made shirts for all the hardcore bands. On a whim, he ordered a small batch of shirts: “Ten Yard Fight” on the back, “Yankees Suck” emblazoned on the front. The night of Game 4, he headed to Fenway.
The T-shirts were an instant smash. In ’99, Boston was buzzing off the Sox’s appearance in the ALCS, and the streets were packed. The shirts started flying, not just to the hardcore kids waiting to say goodbye to their favorite band but to the masses heading into the park or spilling out of the bars of Lansdowne. They couldn’t tell you the first thing about Ten Yard Fight, but they knew that phrase, in that harsh sing-song cadence: Yan-kees Suck! Yan-kees Suck!
Twenty-four hours later, the Sox’s season was over. The Yankees won the series in five games and went on to repeat as World Series champions. But LeMoine was certain he was onto something. He sunk a couple thousand dollars into a small stock of shirts. And for the Sox’s home opener in 2000, he went out with a tiny crew, flapping forth a new version.
In line with hardcore’s aesthetics, the shirts were bare-bones. The phrase appeared in big block text in Berthold City Bold, the same font used by SS Decontrol. Effectively, it was the same logo as that of the hardcore zine Boiling Point. This time, the shirt featured just two words: Yankees Suck.
Unbelievable story. Excellent writing. But of course, there’s another side to tell, and Carolyn Zaikowski tells it with no holds barred:
First off, let’s get the biggest piece of mythology straightened out: the majority of these guys weren’t from Boston, or even its immediate surroundings. They were from wealthy suburbs, some over an hour away. Many of the folks highlighted in this article, including Ray LeMoine, screen-printer of kooky T-shirts and person I was friends with in high school, were from North Andover and Andover. To be clear, that’s about forty minutes north of Boston. Some went to elite high schools like Philips Academy. Many other “hardcore kids” I knew, including my high school boyfriend, were from the Lincoln-Concord area, one of the wealthiest places in the country, significantly west of Boston.
I’ll always be spurred on as a writer because of the simple fact that two words, just two words (Yankees Suck!) can be the jumping-off point for so much creative thinking and analysis.