The Yankees Fan Yankees Fans Like to Watch Watching the Yankees

It took three decades for Joseph Solano—a thirty-six-year-old single father from the Bronx who is known by the nom de tweet JoezMcFly—to discover his most marketable talent. “I get hype about things,” he explained the other day. Essentially, Solano is a professional baseball fan: thousands of people watch him watch the Yankees. This is less boring than it sounds. Someone overhearing his live streams might confuse him for a person having his fingernails ripped off. On Tuesday, for instance, the Yankees played the Toronto Blue Jays. There was a mid-game, score-tying home run by Giancarlo Stanton (ten seconds of Solano’s incomprehensible screaming); a go-ahead double by the Blue Jays in the eighth inning (“What the FUCK, bro?!”); and, in the bottom of the ninth, a walk-off, three-run homer by Aaron Judge that transmuted Solano into pure bliss (“Oh, my God. OH, MY GOD! Judge! JUDGE! OHHH, MYYY GODDD!”). Afterward, someone posted a screen grab of Solano, head thrown back in rapture, looking like a painting of Christ during the Ascension.


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A few hours later, on Wednesday morning, Solano emerged from a podcast booth in the offices of Jomboy Media, where he works. He wore a blue hoodie, with Jordans and a Yankees cap. He looked both haggard and chipper. His chinstrap beard was fuzzy around the edges. “I was on this crazy high, so I didn’t go to sleep till really late, like, three, three-thirty,” he said—he’d been monitoring social-media reactions to his videos. “I woke up at six to take my kids to school. Maybe that’s not healthy.” He had another busy day ahead of him—podcasts, videos, more reactions. The Yankees were playing a day game. He sat down in a room with a couch and began scrolling on his computer and his phone simultaneously.

There have been other famous sports fans, but Solano is arguably one of the first to make it his full-time job. He was working in sales—a spell at Zales in the Bronx, a stretch peddling Optimum cable door-to-door on Long Island—when, in 2017, a friend suggested that his theatrical reactions to Yankees games might make good Internet fodder. He began streaming. A podcast followed—Solano’s friend, known as ChrisMcFly, is his co-host. (Solano was able to quit his forty-five-dollar-an-hour day job in sales last year.) “Our motto is that we’re seriously not serious about everything that we do,” he said, while scrolling through YouTube. Sometimes he waxes Biblical, such as his take on hitting home runs off of hanging curveballs: “IF THOU SHALL HANGETH, THEN WE SHALL BANGETH!” Other times, words don’t suffice; he once punched a wall in excitement.

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One question Solano gets asked constantly: Does he ever dramatize his reactions? “That’s literally the only way I know how to watch!” he said. “I’m not like that in every single part of life.” But his list of enthusiasms is lengthy. He rattled off a few: bowling (“If me and my friends are bowling and I beat them, yeah, I get hype about that!”); anime (“But only one episode has gotten me that level of hype”); watching his kids play Little League and soccer (“When my son gets a big hit, I get super hype! He’s six. I’m not cursing because it’s kids and stuff. But I’m hype as hell”). He was waiting to make a call about hockey—he’d been given tickets to his first-ever game later that evening. “Will I be this hype at the Rangers game tonight?” he asked. “Maybe!”

Solano puttered into the middle of the office to chat with a video editor who’d put together a highlight reel of his reactions from the previous evening. Then he began blasting out the link on his social-media channels. “Oh, shit, I just noticed a mistake,” he said. The title had marked it as the season’s twenty-eighth game, instead of the twenty-ninth. On the not-hype list: having to make corrections. “I’m weirdo picky about stuff being done a certain way,” he said. “I’m seriously not serious about a lot of things, but this vlog stuff is like a child to me.”

Problem resolved, Solano scrolled through an Instagram account that memed his videos. The most meme-able, it turned out, came during losses. (Text: “When Mr. Softy leaves before you can get ice cream.” Solano video clip: “OH, MY GOOOOODDDD! FUCK!”) Solano chuckled. “I put out good, and I put out bad, but that’s just what being a sports fan is like,” he said. “Actually, it really sucks to be a sports fan. But I consider baseball kinda like life like that. It could be more sucky moments than anything. But you’ll get some euphoric moments. Those are great!”

He pondered his job’s strange recursiveness. He is a fan, with his own fans, and some of those fans are people whom he’s a fan of. “The players know who I am,” he said. He is tight with Luis Severino, Tuesday’s starting pitcher. “I sent him my video,” he said. “ ‘You guys give me life!’—that’s what I said to him. He was dying laughing.” He went on, “I get real cool with the players’ families. They’re, like, ‘My son shows me your videos all the time!’ ”

He ducked into a conference room. The office holds a Wordle Wednesday competition, and he wanted to win. He tried ANIME as his first guess, then CAUSE, and then he got stuck. He muttered to himself for several minutes. “FARCE?” he said. He typed it in. He froze for a few seconds. “Did I just get it?” he said quietly. “Did I just get FARCE?! LET’S FUCKING GO!”

Soon afterward, he left for the D train to the Stadium. Upon entering, a young man in a Yankees shirt, with a bottle in a brown paper bag, shouted, “Yo, Joez!” “Go Yankees!” Solano said. He was getting himself ready. “Yesterday, I felt like I played,” he said. But he was bucking up. “This vlog is kind of like therapy for me, bro. I’m able to release all of that energy, no matter what. And then, at the end of the day, nothing’s pent up. And I am good! I am so stress-free!”

It was a good day for him. The Yanks, who have the best record in baseball, had another comeback victory. The Rangers did, too. He posted and retweeted videos throughout. (“I love the Zamboni!”) Verdict? “I guess hockey got me pretty hype,” he said the next morning. “But there’s nothing like baseball for me.”

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