Monday, October 22, 2007

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The metamorphosis of Red Sox Nation

With the Red Sox in the World Series for the second time in four years, one fan ponders the change in the team.... and Red Sox Nation:

The 2007 version of the Boston Red Sox -- with just 28 percent of the team held over from three years ago -- may be scrappy, and they might be a tad scruffy, but they're not underdogs. Not with that payroll, not with that record, and most certainly not with that air of confidence we saw on display the last three games....

Perhaps the biggest change is simply the attitude among Boston's ever-expanding fanbase. I think that's something to regret. Three years ago, a World Series title was an elusive dream. Now it's a realistic expectation. The innocence, the unblemished joy is gone, replaced by the knowledge that the unreachable is no longer so.

Yet who would rather it be different?

As Art Martone reports in the Providence Journal's SoxBlog, however, Red Sox fans are also displaying a maturity that I don't remember existing before 2004:
As the Indians' players made their way from their clubhouse to the team bus, which was parked in right field, they found themselves being honored by an unlikely group of people.

Red Sox fans who had stayed behind at Fenway Park for the post-clinching celebration stood to the sides and created an alley for the players to walk through. And as they passed, the fans applauded, making comments like, ''Good series,'' and ''Good luck next year.''

Ex-Sox right fielder Trot Nixon was the first to pass, and he seemed surprised by the ovation. The other Cleveland players passed stoically, but Travis Hafner had a smile on his face.

It all occured at around 1 a.m.

UPDATE: Of course, it's worth pointing out that the Red Sox are merely one prong of a sports town that's become an emerging hegemonic power (Patriots, Celtics, Boston College, etc.). This apparently has New York sports fans in a bit of a lather:
Being a New Yorker, I'm still getting used to this strange new world. I wake up in the hotel, turn on the TV, and there's Belichick, the cheater. "We had a lot of trouble with Miami," he says. "They're a good team."

Sure, the Dolphins with quarterback Cleo Lemon would prove a regular juggernaut. It's a wonder they held Tom Brady to fewer than seven touchdown passes. Apparently, the fans in Miami broke into a chant: "Let's go Red Sox. Let's go Red Sox."

I don't like Belichick, the lying dog, so I turned off the TV and read the paper. There was a whole section on row boating, which is huge here.

Let's go Red Sox. Let's go Red Sox. These beery kids in the bars outside Fenway chant through the night. Whatever happened to Boston's lovable losers? And the intelligentsia who glorified them? Where's Tip O'Neill? Everything is upside down. Even Ben Affleck has given up acting in bad movies to direct good ones.

Let's go Red Sox. The kids keep on chanting until their Red Bull highs subside.

The horror. For a New Yorker, it's like being in a Stephen King movie.

posted by Dan on 10.22.07 at 11:22 PM


You get what you pay for.

The Red Sox ownership wanted to buy a pennant, and succeeded. Why shouldn't their fans be thrilled?

posted by: Zathras on 10.22.07 at 11:22 PM [permalink]

The difference in post-ALCS probably has a lot to do with the fact that the defeated opponents this time weren't the Yankees.

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 10.22.07 at 11:22 PM [permalink]

Do I detect some sour grapes spewing from your mouth, Zathras?

The BoSox played great baseball, but it was nothing compared to the Lord of the Dance moves some of them put on during the celebration. And the player with the Bud Light carton on his head was definitely seriously pondering the expectations of success in his fan base, wasn't he?

They looked like they were having a good time, which is what it's supposed to be about in the first place.

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 10.22.07 at 11:22 PM [permalink]

Celtics? A power at 24-58?

posted by: Mike on 10.22.07 at 11:22 PM [permalink]

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