Fred Schuman, the 83-year-old Yankee fan better know as Freddy Sez, has long been an icon of Yankee Stadium. For as long as I can remember, Freddy has traipsed through Yankee Stadium with his handmade signs and worn pot and spoon, stirring up the crowd to cheer on the Yanks. Through the thick and thin, Freddy, the recent subject of a short documentary, has been there.
So as I found myself next to Mike on Sunday in the Grandstand at New Yankee Stadium, I wondered aloud where Freddy was at the new stadium. The new home isn’t nearly as conducive to walking around as the old one. Freddy can simply walk up the steps to each section and walk back down. No longer can he walk around a concourse in the seating bowl because those concourses aren’t there.
Around the fourth inning or so, I heard the familiar clang of Freddy’s pan and knew that all was right in Yankee fandom if Freddy was there. It appears, though, that Freddy has had to beg and cajole his way into the stadium. According to The Post’s Jeremy Olshan, Freddy hasn’t had an easy go of it getting into the stadium.
According to Olshan, Freddy had long received free tickets from Modell’s, his sponsor, but hasn’t been able to secure similar tickets for the new digs. With the higher ticket prices, he generally can’t afford it. Plus, he says, he doesn’t need a seat. After finding himself out of the stadium on Friday, Freddy spoke to the press. “The Yankees say I am a part of the stadium. What part am I, the toilet bowl?” Schuman said. “But the fans have come through. They gave me $40, and even $100 tickets.”
The Yankees told Olshan that Freddy’s denial into the new stadium was a result of “miscommunication,” and the lifelong Yankee fan seemed to be back in the stadium by Sunday. I’ve never really grasped the relationship between the Yanks and Freddy. That he had a separate sponsor than the Yanks always struck me as odd, but hopefully, all’s well that ends well. Here’s to hoping Freddy’s back in the stadium for good.
The online magazine No Mas recently profiled Freddy on video. You can check it out here, and I’ve embedded the video after the jump. It’s a first-person narrative video of Freddy making the trek up to the stadium. Good stuff.