Monday, September 17, 2007

The Trouble with Red Sox Fans...

I'm hardly the first person to suggest that Red Sox fans have been spoiled by the team's success in 2004. But it never really bothered me until this weekend, when I was strolling outside Fenway and soaking in the Sox/Yankees atmosphere with my favorite sports writer.

Seeing and hearing the fans on the street and in the nearby bars set some thoughts in motion that I sputtered to express to Dan, but finally have become a little clearer to me.

What bothers me the most about the change in mentality of Sox fans is that they now expect the team to win the World Series every year. I'm not saying that I miss the days of waiting for the inevitable choke -- I definitely don't. But I thought that the Sox victory in 2004 would have simply erased the assumption that a collapse was inevitable, making it easier to relax and enjoy the action.

I did not want nor do I now enjoy this new attitude surrounding the Sox. The Globe sports writers, perhaps because 17% of their paychecks or whatever come from the Sox, haven't done much to quash it, as most of them have perpetuated the notion that the Sox would be going all the way this year, ignoring the collapses of even the past two years.

As an aside, am I the only one who is disturbed by the Globe's hawking of Sox merchandise through its own online store -- advertising is one thing, but this seems a little over the top when the sale of such merchandise directly benefits the paper's bottome line, and doesn't help to dissuade those who speculate that the writers give the Sox management an easy time because of the paper's stake in the team or whatever.

What Sox fans should have taken from '04 was a lesson never to give up, particularly after the dramatic comeback against the Yankees. That, coupled with the flipside of that coin from '03, '86, '78, etc, should have provided a healthy balance regarding the whole it ain't over til it's over thing.

Instead, the fandom is basically a mirror image of its Bronx counterparts, with slightly better accents.


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