Monday, October 22, 2007

The Beantown Bandwagon Rolls On

So it's down to this. The Rox vs. The Sox in the battle for baseball supremacy. Being a Yankee fan, I'm hardwired to cheer against the Red Sox, so I'll pull for the Rockies, but to be completely honest, I could really give a flying (expletive deleted) if the Red Sox win. In my world, this is how I break it down. There are the Yankees, and then there is "not the Yankees." And if it's "not the Yankees," I don't really care who it is. The Yankees didn't win, and that's what matters to me.
Since the Sox are back in the Series, they will no doubt get another billion or so applications for membership in the Red Sox Nation. Red Sox Nation arguably has the most bandwagon fans in all of professional sports. Their membership has exploded since they won it all in 2004. It's evident everywhere you go. If you've ever attended or watched a Sox road game, you know that the home team's fans are in the minority. A few years ago, I went to a Buffalo Bisons/Columbus Clippers game. At the time, the Clippers were the triple A affiliate of the Yankees. The amount of people there sporting Sox gear was amazing. Yankees fans were in the minority. It was amazing. What I'm wondering, and I'll ask this of any long term members of the RSN, is it bothersome to have so many new members of your clan? You guys lived through 86 years of terrible lows, and now all of these people are coming out of the woodwork to ride on the current wave of success? Does it bother you that it's "cool" or "trendy" to root on the Sox? Does it bother you that most of the fan base, along with Kevin Millar, thinks that Ellsbury's first name is Jacob? Here is a recap of a recent exchange I had with a Sox fan in my neighborhood Best Buy, a few days after the Indians ousted the Yankees from the playoffs.
I was perusing the DVD section. I think I had a copy of Season 3 of "The Office" in my hands. I was wearing a Yankee cap. All of the sudden I hear, "Yankees s*ck." I turn and there standing is John Q. Soxfan, wearing a Sox hat. If I had to guess, I'd say he was 17-20. Now I'm not 100% on the age. If I were, I'd work at the State Fair guessing ages and weight.
Me: I'm sorry. What?
Soxfan: Yankees ***********.
Me: Umm, OK. Thanks! You a Sox fan?
Soxfan: He11 yeah.
Me: Who's your backup second baseman?
Soxfan: Pedroia baby.
Me: No, I said back-up, not starter.
Soxfan: "puzzled look"
Me: You don't know, do you? It's Alex Cora. Who's in your bullpen?
Me: Anybody else?
Soxfan: Some Japanese guy.
And that's when I walked away. True story. And there you have it. A once proud fan base now is full of tools and dooshbags, more so than normal. I'm just curious if that bothers the die-hards. Does it bother you to show up at a game and to have people see a redheaded dude in RF and wonder who the heck he is? The landscape of the RSN has changed drastically since 2004. You guys are turning into, well, Yankees fans. The very people you guys despise. But I guess that's to be expected when you win. Everyone hops on the bandwagon. As I mentioned earlier, it's trendy to root for the Red Sox. Not because you identify with the team or the city, but because it's the cool thing to do.
You guys aren't too far off from being exactly like the Yankees. The two franchises are almost identical at this point. We both attempt to "buy" championships-- don't tell me that bringing in Matsuzaka, Okajima, Lugo and Drew isn't an attempt to solving your problems with cash. We both have huge, passionate fan bases with more than their fair share of tools and dooshbags. We both have players that like to slap at balls in the glove of the guy at first base during the playoffs. We have a lot in common. We don't have many differences any more. Is that bothersome? Do you like the new face of the Red Sox Nation?
Just curious?