Of the hordes of Red Sox fans invading CBP this evening, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Ford writes, “It is a nation whose currency is based on being cloying, self-important, pompous, overly loud and, regrettably, ever-present, and the economy is great.” As opposed to say, those charming Phillies Phans who keep it within city limits?
Once, there was something appealing about the passion that Boston fans brought to the team that had broken their hearts on such a regular basis. The Red Sox played their home games in a quirkily interesting, if decaying, ballpark. The team offered a counterbalance to the corporate machine of the New York Yankees. Boston fans who were flung to the far reaches of the country came out to support the Sox, and that was fine.
That was then, this is now. Catch ’em, tag ’em, put ’em on the Northeast Limited to Back Bay Station if they like it there so much. The rest of us are tired of having them around.
The Red Sox, thanks largely to their streak-breaking championship in 2004, became cuddly, cute, popular, and attractive to great scads of casual fans who wanted to glom onto the gravy train.
There’s nothing cuddly or cute about a team with a $133 million payroll. You can’t be an underdog if you spend like the Kennedys. If the Red Sox – who struggled to draw one million fans under the penurious final seasons of Yawkey family ownership – were once a cold-water walk-up on Kenmore Square, they are now a gated compound on the Cape.
Earlier this year, Hank Steinbrenner, part-owner of the Yankees and son of legendary windbag George Steinbrenner, said he doesn’t believe in Red Sox Nation.
“Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets,” Steinbrenner said. “This is a Yankee country.”
At the moment, judging by the national deficit and some unfortunate policy missteps, this actually seems to be a Kansas City Royals kind of country. But we’ll leave that debate for another time and focus instead on this question for Mr. Steinbrenner: What in the world are you talking about?
Following a pair of Ryan Howard HR’s off El Barto, the Phillies are leading the Red Sox, 4-2, in the bottom of the 5th. ESPN’s Steve Phillips has ID’d Seattle’s Eric Bedard as a likely candidate for a late season trade, somehow resisting the urge to tout his own suitability as the next Mariners GM.