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10/22/09 11:15 PM EST

Fans turn out in the Bronx to root on Yanks

Supporters eager to have World Series in new stadium

NEW YORK -- On a crowded sidewalk outside the Hard Rock Cafe adjacent to the new Yankee Stadium, a man dressed in all black wastes no time launching into stories of verbal spats with Red Sox fans, or the time he ran into anti-Yankee people who made him so angry he felt like hitting them.

Yes, Rev. John E. Hamatie's vocation is spreading the word of God, but the Brooklyn native's passion is spreading the good word of the Yankees, a team he has watched, cheered and prayed for his entire life.

"I love this team," said Hamatie, who frequently engages in the sign of the cross to help bring his beloved team luck. "I don't care; I will do whatever it takes to win."

He wasn't alone.

Despite an early four-run deficit to the Angels in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, fans came out in droves on Thursday night to root on the Bronx Bombers in their home neighborhood. Several local watering holes spilled over with people, while car horns and whistles nearly drowned out the cheers that followed each Yankees run.

"I came to see history and be as close to the team as I can get," Bronx native Lori Schrobun said of her decision to watch the game in the crowded Hard Rock Cafe.

A lifelong Yankees fan, Schrobun was decked in team apparel from head to toe and carried a sign that simply read, "We Believe."

That belief was evident in the Bronx and through each borough of New York City, as strangers shared highlights on their cell phones and singers on the street informed passersby of the updated score.

"I think we are going to go all the way [to the World Series] for one reason: production," Westchester resident Javier Anderson said. "We got [Alex Rodriguez], and the numbers he's been able to put up, it's incredible. And [Derek] Jeter's having an MVP season, and we've got the best rotation you have seen since 2003.

"It's really something you like to see, not only as a Yankees fan, but as a baseball fan. You like to see a team click. And just organizationally, they are all working well with each other."

Anderson attended Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS and hopes to attend the first World Series at the new Yankee Stadium. A lifelong Yankees fan, he took the train to the Bronx on Thursday and joined in what felt like a city-wide watch party in the area surrounding the stadium.

"This is our year," Bronx resident Roger Bunchanan said above the boisterous "Let's go Yankees" chants.

The cheering started with the first swing of Jeter's bat and only grew louder as New York put up six runs in the seventh inning.

"It's going to be special," Buchanan predicted of the Yankees' 27th World Series championship. "It's the first year in this new stadium, and we're going to be back on top."

Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.