Struck by the glowing reports of Bill Buckner’s tearful return to Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon, Lyflines writes, ” I, for one, am sick and tired of the story, and the implication that “Red Sox nation” consists entirely of petty, maladjusted, immature spoiled brats who drove one of the great players in a Red Sox nation out of the area because of one simple mistake. It’s media storylining, and the storyline is even less accurate than most media storylines. It’s nonsense, and I’m sick of it.” (link swiped from Baseball Musings)
And rightfully so, as Lyflines points out (quoting none other than CHB), Buckner was on the Red Sox roster for Opening Day 1990 and received a “long and loud ovation”.
“When Red Sox fans talk about game six,” insists Lyflines, “John McNamara, Roger Clemens (if one believes McNamara, that he ‘asked out’), Calvin Schiraldi, Rich Gedman and Bob Stanley all take more abuse than Buckner”. Well, that’s Kevin Mitchell off the hook, then.
Was Buckner “driven out” of the Boston area by fan abuse? I’ve never seen any evidence of it. There are, obviously, morons everywhere, the Boston area being no exception. But I’m extremely skeptical that he somehow took so much abuse that he had no choice but to leave. This is a guy who grew up in California, spent 7 years with the Dodgers, 8 with the Cubs, but somehow, the fact that he didn’t spend the rest of his life in Boston or Wakefield or Andover after spending two full seasons and three partial with the Red Sox is evidence of fan derangement. I’m not buying it. Again, were there individual incidents of unpleasantness? Sure – I’ve had individual incidents of unpleasantness in the Boston area and no one knows who the hell I am. But was the Red Sox fan base, as a group, somehow so unreasonable and disagreeable that he was “driven out” of the area? Do Red Sox fans as a group owe him an apology? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t, and I’m not going to.
(And he didn’t warrant any of those positive reactions for his performance, either. He hit .279/.315/.410/.725 while playing 526 games for the Red Sox, primarily at 1st base and DH, with an OPS+ of 94. He led baseball in outs in 1986, while playing at a primarily offensive position. He was much, much worse as a Red Sox than someone like, for example, J.D. Drew.)
There’s no truth to the rumor, by the way, the Wilpon family has already invited Kenny Rogers to throw the first ball at Citi Field next April.