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First, I want to get it out of the way, I am a Red Sox snob and a die-hard one at that. I feel entitled to that team as if I am on a different level in my relationship with that club.
But I am, indeed a real Red Sox fan. What does that exactly mean? It’s hard to say, but for one, I actually know that yesterday was NOT the first game of the season for Sox. Which I found may have come as a surprise to many members of Red Sox Nation. The PinkHats and fakers were out in full force wearing every bit of Red Sox paraphernalia they could get their hands on. Where were y’all at 6:07 am on MARCH 25th? I get it, not everyone is as stupid as me to get up to find out that I couldn’t even watch the game thanks to our wonderful Cable providers. But why was no one rockin Sox stuff that day?
I overheard while walking the beautiful campus of UMass Amherst, two “fans” (PinkHat haters: These were guys for the record.) argue about the Sox recent tour of Japan. One argument was that it was all Spring Training games, the other argued that “the only game that counted was the one Dice-K pitched for, cuz he’s from Japan.” Never before have I been more driven to pummel complete strangers.
But not everyone is that dumb. Most are just bandwagon fans. Almost every day of the year, I cover my great hair to show my team pride. I know this doesn’t make me a better fan, but why am I the only one in my lecture of 200 (when I actually go to class) wearing a Sox cap in November or December? I love the Patriots but what the @#%$?? We are in Massachusetts, right? It doesn’t matter to me if the Sox are deep in October or sitting on their asses on a cruise ship in the Bahamas in January; I will always wear my team’s colors and keep them in my mind, playing or not, all year round.
However, I am not the Angel of Boston Sports and I don’t claim to be. I am absolutely, 100% a bandwagon Celtics fan. If KG left tomorrow, I would disown the team. The difference between myself and the typical bandwagon fan is that I can admit it. Most Celtics fans are of the bandwagon variety because we weren’t given much to believe in. They sucked and now they’re amazing so we came crawling back. The average fan looked at that Ray Allen trade and scoffed at Danny Ainge for taking an aging former Superstar. But if you ask anyone now, they won’t remember saying that. Do you remember when we wanted to crucify Ainge in the middle City Hall Plaza for all to see? Memory’s failin ya, isn’t it? It’s hard to stay dedicated to an absolute loser. We can look back and try and paint that team in a good light, but they just weren’t. Now they are so we watch and pretend as if we’ve been there the whole time, we just forgot the times of the games last season. And forget the Bruins. I couldn’t name a single player on that roster AND I couldn’t care less. I love winners. What? You say they made the playoffs? Whatever, this ain’t Canada.
As fans we want to believe we are part of the team and that we influence our team to win when we cheer and buy their stuff. We expect wins when we spend our hard earned money on those courtside, 1st base line, and 50 yard line seats. And when they don’t deliver, it’s a personal and direct shot at us, the fans. It doesn’t matter if the other team was just better, I didn’t pay for a loss, I came to see my team win! Is it right? Eh, no one can really say, we look to these men (and women depending on the sport) as almost superhuman in physical ability. We want to see them excel and can’t seem to understand why they just can’t do it all the time (see Julio Lugo’s not so warm reception yesterday during player introductions). I still stand by that man and I always have. I’ve wanted him on our team since he was a (Devil) Ray.
I think the biggest thing average fans do not understand is that just because players are all in the MLB does not mean they are all on the same level of talent. That’s like saying, ‘Hey why can’t Dustin Pedroia just hit 50 homers, Papi can do it, he’s must not be playing hard enough!’ Every Shortstop we’ve had come to Boston since Nomar has been expected to produce Nomahhh-like numbers. Say what you will about the nose, the Mia and the ridiculous “idiosyncratic tics” in the batter’s box, dude did work while he was here. That’s not to say those Shortstops who replaced him were amazing while they were here, they weren’t even good… hell they weren’t even ok. But a lot of that has to do with us, we drove those guys out before they even had a chance. As soon as Red Sox Nation smells blood, we go in for the kill. We secretly (and not so secretly) want Nomar back. Not the Nomar of today who resides on the DL, but the Nomar of old, the batting champ, the MVP contender. It’s like the Celts wanting to go back in time for Larry Bird. I don’t think Lugo will be the answer even if he has a good season, he’s already gone in the eyes of most fans. I’m not sure there will ever be an answer at that now damned position.
We are a fickle bunch, Red Sox Nation. We want everything and we want it now. I almost miss the days when we expected the worst. Almost.