Monday, October 29, 2007

On Hating Fans, Not Teams

So as I watched the Red Sox wrap up their World Series championship tonight, and having watched some of the Pats 52-7 dismantling of the Redskins earlier today... a thought came to me.

It's really not so much that I hate the teams. Or even the players on those teams. Watching both games didn't cause me any great wailing or gnashing of teeth.

Seriously, who is the most regrettable Red Sox? JD Drew, probably, especially if you are a fan of one of the teams that he's let done or left behind. (Philly Fan, especially, hates this guy, and while the organization was incompetent, lo, did he gave them reasons.) Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling are awfully full of themselves, but probably no more than any other staff ace; no one ever accused Jack Morris or Bob Gibson of being modest souls, either. Julio Lugo was a terrible baseball player this year, but he's been good before, and it's not like he's a known child abuser. ManRam is a savant; it's hard to really dislike him, if only because it's hard to hate a guy who seems so oblivious to your attention. Eric Gagne may be one of the least deserving players ever to get a ring, but given his injury history, it's hard to feel that bad for him. Even with my Red Sox Hate, I can't help but like Ortiz, Papelbon, Lester, Wakefield, etc.

No, the people you hate on the Red Sox are... their fans. People who seem more involved with chanting how some other team (and let's face it, at this point, the Yankees are just some other team) sucks at any location or opportunity. Or who feel compelled to delight in your misery (notice the sing-song chanting of opposing team player names, or the behavior of their fans on the road), more than just being happy for their success. And this whole Red Sox Nation thing -- good grief. They took a contrived marketing play and went absolutely nuts for it. They took their breakthrough World Series win and used it as backdrop for a chick flick.

Now, let's consider the Patriots. Again, who on this team, as an individual player, really arises your anger? Tom Brady may have curious ideas about fidelity, and Junior Seau is an attention diva, and Randy Moss has quit on his team before... and that's about it, really. No Joey Porter, Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens, Jerramy Stevens... they don't really hire complete scum.

OK, their coaching is doing everything short of calling for the bucket of confetti to be thrown at the ref right now in their desire to run up the score. Watching Brady go all mental over a false start penalty while up 38-0 isn't terribly endearing. And even the World Wide Lemur is starting to talk about the running up issue, albeit for about a minute before the 7-day Hype Fest that will be our existence as NFL fans this week. (On the plus side, as an Eagles fan, it's kind of nice to have TO RETURNS TO PHILADELPHIA get less attention.)

I'm certain that, on some level, the Internet makes all of this worse. It's a heck of a lot harder to ignore a team's fan base when you don't have instant access to it. But it's also completely true that they've got the pedigree for this kind of behavior with the celtics historical dominance in their DNA. And that while I'm an optimist, I'm really not expecting much in the way of taste or restraint from their fans right about now.

So anyway, congrats to the Red Sox, and to The Truth and Joeski, who won our MLB Playoff Game challenge. Joeski, please email me at with your address and Garment of Greatness size (M, L and XL are the choices). As for what The Truth has won, and more importantly, what the Ninja and I have lost... well, watch this space. It's gonna hurt. A lot.

PS - Is there a more ridiculous trend in sports than the athlete that wears protective eyewear to a champagne celebration? Live a little, people. Or if it's so dangerous, have someone from your entourage enter the fray for you.


Anonymous said...

First off, Thanks for the T-Shirt. I needed something new to wash my car with.
Second, I have to take issue with your general description of obnoxious Red Sox fans. I find it funny that a little more that 5 years ago, New England was the laughing stock of the sports world. A group to be pitied rather than hated. Prior to this era of Brady, our last Super Bowl appearance was to serve as whipping boys to the Bears and the Fridge. Baseball? Ugh.
Now? We do the whipping. Forgive us if we finally have a reason to stand tall with arms outstretched. We suffered through those games..Buckner Ball, Bucky Effin Dent. My Grandfather did die without seeing the Red Sox win the World Series. Close, no cigar.
Even those born after 1986...they still had listen to their elders. The curse wasn't something was carried by a team, it was carried by their fans from generation to generation. "Wait for it...they'll blow it" And they always did.
Now? My kids go to bed at night happily in the 3rd inning of a clinching game knowing their team will win. They don't brag. They don't worry. They don't lose any sleep. And they certainly don't think there's a curse. How odd.

tracer bullet said...

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you must have a heart of stone to read about the suspension of Rodney Harrison without laughing.

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