John Oliver’s First Salvo Against ‘Elitist’ Yankees: Fans Dressed as Ninja Turtles

Yankees and Ninja Tutles
YES Network/

When John Oliver goes on a rant, it tends to go viral and actually inspire thought … and change. Whether he is irritating the president of Ecuador, creating the mascot Jeff the Diseased Lung as a shot at Big Tobacco or getting America to “Make Donald Drumpf Again,” Oliver’s brand of raising social awareness in a hilarious manner is what makes him, along with Samantha Bee, indispensable weekly viewing, whether you’re watching him on HBO, or seeing his videos make the internet rounds on Monday mornings.

Oliver was at it again last Sunday, when he set his sights on the “elitist a**hole” management and owners of the New York Yankees. The team recently instituted a new ticketing policy that makes it harder for fans to resell tickets through outlets like StubHub and print them at home. Oliver played a clip of some of the reasoning on this as stated by Yankees COO Lonn Trost, who said about potential ticket buyers that, “the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.” Basically, the Yankees are saying that they don’t want “riff raff” sitting in premium seats at their stadium and scaring the well-heeled fans who can afford those tickets at face value.

Oliver joked that, “[Trost is] saying rich people couldn’t bear to sit next to people who aren’t as rich, which would be offensive if you were talking about the opera – much less a sport whose primary fashion statement is the goatee.”

Using the power of his televised bully pulpit, Oliver addressed how he is going to fight back against this. He assured viewers that, for the first three Yankees home games at least, there WILL be “riff raff” in the premium seats behind home plate. In a contest, Oliver planned to sell premium tickets for 25 cents to fans who best displayed how they would dress while in those seats – with Oliver insisting that whomever gets the tickets must “dress as if you have never sat in a premium location before.”

The first winners were on display this afternoon at Yankee Stadium – the two young men dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the photo above. Newsday identified them as John Welch and Joe Spilo of Yorktown.

What sort of attire will the next two games bring as the next Oliver winners show up at the old ballpark? It will be worth tuning in for. Oliver has clearly made his point, and the Yankees can’t really do much, since the tickets were legally bought. Are they going to kick these people out of the game, and face an even greater backlash?

Yankees president Randy Levine obviously knows they can’t, and is rolling with the punches, releasing a statement today saying: “Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium. And I thank John Oliver for buying Yankees tickets.”

For some reason, I’m imagining this statement uttered through gritted teeth.