NEW YORK -- HBO's John Oliver designed a contest looking for "riffraff" to sit among the "rich" New York Yankees fans who occupy the expensive Legends seats. What the comedian got on Opening Day Tuesday were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- or, at least, two fans dressed up like them.
The two turtles sat directly behind home plate in clear view on the national broadcast on ESPN and the local one on YES. The turtles -- identified as John Welch and Joe Spilo of Yorktown, according to Newsday -- won a contest from Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" in which fans were asked to use the Twitter hashtag #IHaveNeverSatInAPremiumLocation. In the contest, fans tweeted pictures of the "riffraff" attire they would wear in the premium seats.
Two fans will receive tickets for 25 cents for each of the first three games.
The protest prank was in response to the Yankees' recent squabble with StubHub.
During Tuesday's game, Yankees public relations and security denied media access to the Legends seats, so the turtles could not be asked questions. Newsday spoke to the two outside of the stadium before they entered.
Oliver's Sunday rant was mostly centered around Yankees COO Lonn Trost's comments on WFAN six weeks ago in which Trost said that premium seat holders do not like to sit next to people who "have never sat in a premium location." These seats have been listed for as much $1,595, which is one reason the Yankees did not want to make StubHub fully available to customers, Trost implied.
Trost made his comments after the Yankees were criticized for not allowing people to print out secondary market tickets bought on StubHub. The Yankees claim they did it to prevent fraud, while many of its fans found it a convenient way to buy cheaper last-minute tickets.
"Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium," Yankees president Randy Levine told ESPN's Wallace Matthews on Monday. "And I thank John Oliver for buying Yankees tickets."
Oliver's words during his show Sunday night were not as gracious, with the theme that the Yankees "will continue to find ways to look like the biggest elitist a--h---- in all of sports."