« Is that a pickle in your pocket, or are you just happy the Sox lost 10 1/2 games in the standings since July 4? | Main | Playing out the string »

"No liquids, no shaving cream... no thinking about liquids even."

Your omniscient author in absentia:
I'm on travel today, so no strip until Monday. Meanwhile, the Sox win "streak" continues, heh, and Bob Ryan gives us a column with much to consider about being a fan.

(FWIW I agree with Ryan but don't think the "it's all about me" attitude is unique to Red Sox fans but rather it's endemic to our culture in this era in which we find ourselves. You don't have to look very hard at all to find numerous examples beyond baseball of the need to assign blame and misplaced angst. Hint: Read the blogs on politics and the comments therein.)



I've always enjoyed Bob Ryan. Hell, my dad says that's where he got the idea to name me. This is another well-written column. I agree with the idea that at least some people take things personally as fans now. At 35, I'm not old enough to know if things used to be different. My cycnicism, however, leads me to guess that what used to be different is Bob Ryan.

Bob Ryan went to my prep school, met him at a class of '64 reunion party my parents hosted. He's an interesting man with a couple of glasses of gin in him :)

He could not be more correct about that Carl Everett hit off of Mussina. I am mildly chagrined as a Sox fan to admit I rooted against them and for the Evil Empire at that moment, but proud as a baseball fan to concede I preferred history over partisanship. I think baseball transcends the team you root for, even as rooting for a particular team for life makes it infinitely more personal and profound. I was reminded of this watching a Babe Ruth baseball game recently...I think perhaps every fan needs to watch kids play or the Cape Cod league or even a pickup bar league to remember the game is the greatest one ever invented by man...regardless of a 5-game sweep of the greatest sports franchise in history by the most evil ;)

Welcome to corporate commercialism run amok, honestly. As h.b. notes, it's not just baseball. In today's "sell to each consumer" attitude, the megocorpoconglomerentity's profit turns on a single question: What can they get *you* to buy today?

For them, it's become about hooking directly into "you". Because if they can get "you" to care enough to pay money for something, then they win. For politicians, it's the same story, but it's votes AND money that they're trying to incite within you.

You want to be a part of Red Sox Nation.

You want to drink a beer at the game no matter the cost.

You want to see every game a win.

You want to keep gays from marrying.

You want to let gays marry.

You should save money by buying car insurance from a lizard.

You, you, you, you, you.

The passive "we provide the best service" doesn't excite sales figures...YOU want to go where they treat YOU the best. "We're just about good baseball, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose" doesn't guarantee the sellout. "You have gotta see this!" does.

Ahem....first ad upper-right on this page:

Kintees.com: You know you want one.

Game set match.

When a stunning failure occurs, especially when success was predicted, blame is assigned, be it a 5-game sweep, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, or what have you.

If you go to Chili's and you have a mediocre meal, well, yeah, you should expect that. If you eat at Morimoto's and pay $300 and you get the same quality meal as what you ate at Chili's, you're going want to know what went wrong.

Likewise, if your a Royals fan and you suffer a 5-game sweep, that's life.

Sometimes, it is a matter of expectations.

I agree with the comments of B Ryan and others. As observed in my expectorant rant earlier this week, Luscious is not running a baseball team, he is selling the experience of being a Red Sox fan. Big difference, and we are worse off for it.

BBB2B (Bring baseball back to Boston)


Ryan (and Kaz) nailed it...having been born during the Kennedy administration into a progressive Irish-Catholic family in Massachusetts (I know, that would appear to be an oxymoron) and having been educated by the Jesuits, I was fully indoctrinated with the "ask not what your country can do for you..." philosophy.

Not to be too serious, or too much of a curmudgeon, but when I listened to the games with my grandfather on his front porch it was "our team" as in "all of us" as in New England...and it was something to share, whether the outcome was good or bad.

Good Post Kaz and HB. I think the reason I enjoy watching the Sox some much is because for me its a family thing. We have been rooting for the sox my whole life and it always discussed at family gatherings or before dinner. Even my poor brother in law from virginia is now a sox fan(He doesn't know what hes getting into). The ups and the downs are all part of the ride. Its the ride itself that is awesome.

On a lighter note heres a good joke...

A Red Sox fan liked to amuse himself by scaring every Yankees fan he saw strutting down the street in an obnoxious NY pinstripe shirt. He would swerve his van as if to hit them, then swerve back just missing them.

One day, while driving along, he saw a priest. He thought he would do a good deed, so he pulled over and asked the priest, "Where are you going, Father?" "I'm going to give Mass at St. Francis church, about two miles down the road," replied the priest. "Climb in, Father. I'll give you a lift!" The priest climbed into the passenger seat, and they continued down the road.

Suddenly, the driver saw a Yankees fan walking down the road, and he instinctively swerved as if to hit him. But, as usual, he swerved back onto the road just in time. Even though he was certain that he had missed the guy, he still heard a loud THUD. Not knowing where the noise came from, he glanced in his mirrors but still didn't see anything.

He then remembered the priest, and he turned to the priest and said, "Sorry, Father, I almost hit that Yankees fan."
"That's OK," replied the priest, "I got him with the door."

When you are paying top dollar for tickets to the game the "lovable loser" tag has become obsolete. For the money they charge we have come to expect a solid winner. You want to roll the clock back to where my Dad and I could actually attend a game then I wouldn't care as much.

Yes, I also rooted against that Sox killer Mussina. How could you not?

I like Bob Ryan a lot. But one of the things he missed in today's column is a simple truth: being a fan is damn hard work. Anybody who doesn't understand that isn't a fan in the "fanatic" sense of the word.

But sometimes, every once in a while, you get a paycheck for all that work. A Papi blast in the 12th inning of Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees. I was there, and I collected my payment in full. An Adam Vineteiri field goal against the wind, the snow, and the Raiders. I was there, and happily accepted that glorious check.

We root for a team, and especially the Red Sox, partly because we were born and bred to do it. Partly because we actually DO care about those millionare lugs out there. But I think a lot of it has to do with THE MOMENT. They only happen once in a St. Louis blue moon. But we continue to cheer and pay and suffer just so we can experience them.

Anyone why goes to Fenway to "be seen" hasn't worked hard enough at their job as a fan to warrant one of those moments. And even if they should be so lucky as to win a Moment Lottery, I tend to think they'd be too busy talking on their cell phone to even realize it.

Dammit, every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in. I was all ready to concentrate on football season in the aftermath of The Series Which We Must Never Mention Again, and then they have to go and take 2 out of 3 from the Angels, while the Empire if getting embarassed by the lowly Mariners. Once again, a tiny glimmer of hope begins to shine...damn you, Red Sox.

Anyhoo, I'm pretty psyched about the opportunity to be there in person to see Schilling strike out his three thousandth batter. He needs 8, and since Sexson and Beltre are good for 6-7 strikeouts all by themselves, Schill should by hitting the milestone somewhere around the fifth inning.

The "all about me" attitude is there for everyone who cares about "who its about". If it's about you, it's about you. If it's about other people thinking it's about them, it's about you. If you don't really care what other people think, and you're just going to the game to sit in the same blue wooden seat you've been sitting in since you were a kid, looking out over a radiant ballpark on a warm summer night while some grown men play a ballgame, with 33,000 other people cheering and gasping in unison, hoping to see your team win, well, you're a baseball fan.

Sure, I liked it when you could actually differentiate Red Sox fans from ordinary Bostonians, when you could walk up to the box office before a game (heck, a WEEK before a game) and pick up some decent seats along the first base line. I bet some old folks liked the dead ball era too - it's just a different time now, no good or bad about it. You can't control what other people think, or whether it is, indeed, all about them (and so what if it is?). What you can do is sit back and enjoy the game, because every baseball experience is unique to you and you alone.

So for a little Sox discussion:

Let's say we take 2 of 3 from Seattle (we stand a decent chance at 3 of 3 with Schilling, Snyder, and Wells). Meanwhile ChiSox and Minnesota beat each other up for 3. They both get to play KC or TB right after that to end the month though while we do 3 against the A's.

So, we enter the final month only 2-3 games back from the Wild Card leader. BUT for September, CHI and/or MIN have to play teams like NYY, DET, us, OAK, and finish the season head-to-head with each other (never good for either team but benefits #3 usually). The 6 games in September (at Fenway!) against MIN and CHI are going to be pretty big and then there's another 4 games in 3 days against NYY but while they're finishing the season against each other, we're playing Baltimore for any "must-wins" to pass them in the standings.

BP still has us at only 5% chance of the WC with CHI and MIN almost exactly dead even (with 10% going to Detroit still for now). I think we'll see that adjust back up once we get on pace with our wins again. The WC winner was averaging 95.5 wins on the season. 24 wins likely needed with 22 games against teams near or below 0.500. It'll really depend on the 6 vs MIN and CHI and the 4 vs NYY in September.

While our past 10 games have done a number on our odds of making the playoffs, I'm still pretty upbeat in anticipation of a pretty crazy September.

I agree with Bob Ryan to a certain extent about fans getting way too eager to find a scapegoat. I think Theo is a great GM who also had better luck than Lou Gorman, another great GM. And I don't like all the scapegoating.
But where I part ways with Ryan is the part about appreciating baseball as a game, even when the Yankees win. I just can't do it.
When the Sox get swept by the KC Royals I have a hard time swallowing it but I can tip my cap to the other team. If Pedro Martinez comes into Fenway Park as a Met I will lead the standing ovation, and if he has a perfect game going in the ninth inning against the Sox I will probably root to see a perfect game and maybe be upset if somebody breaks it up (unless the game means something in the standings). But I can never cheer for Johnny Damon in Pinstripes. I will never root for Mike Mussina to complete a no-hitter against anybody, never mind the Red Sox until he returns to the Orioles. And I will never, ever, ever, appreciate a five-game sweep by the New York Yankees. Not just because I live in New York City and will be mercilessly taunted by my coworkers afterward. But just because baseball is just not any fun for me when the Yankees win.
When the Sox get swept by the Yankees, I need a few days off from baseball. If that makes me some kind of secondary or tertiary level of fan then so be it. I don't care.
If the Sox make it to the post-season, I will be rooting for whatever team plays the Yankees to win, but I won't bother watching the games. I'd rather have root canal surgery than watch the MFYs.

Just to state it for the record: Kaz is onto something. I still think the '06 Sox are in the playoff hunt...more likely as a Wild Card than AL East Champ, but I haven't totally give up on that either (particularly after hearing about Messina on the DL).

There, I've said it. Rag on me later if I look like a sentimental, over-optimistic fool in 2-3 weeks, but I've said it.

PS - Wakefield and Varitek back in about a week each!

BTW, I also disagree with Ryan on one other point. Scapegoating in sports is nothing new. I know somebody who went to school with the kids of an NFL kicker (not for the Pats), and this guy's family would get death threats if he missed a game-winning kick. This was in the '60s. And everybody remembers Bill Buckner, but he was not the most unfortunate scapegoat of 1986 even. Donnie Moore, who gave up the series winning homer to Dave Henderson, was so tormented that he actually committed suicide. Correct me if I'm wrong...

Ha! Follower of Tito, you sentimental, over-optimistic fool!

Seriously, I'm glad to see there's still some hope floating around. If they can just stay in contention it would be very satisfying, all things considered. I'm still not optimistic, but looking at the rest of the season I am no longer so pessimistic.

Cheering for the Sox is like having a crack addiction (I assume) ... it's bad for my health but I just can't kick the habit. So I'll take another hit off the pipe and say ... GO SOX!!!

//Donnie Moore, who gave up the series winning homer to Dave Henderson, was so tormented that he actually committed suicide. Correct me if I'm wrong...//

Well, you're right to an extent. He DID kill himself. But his marital problems, addictions, and depression had as much to do with it as his pitch to Mr. Henderson.

Oh, and one other thing. That WASN'T the series-winning homer. The Red Sox still had to win the next two games to go to the World Series.

Thanks for correcting my error Bob. But I still think Donnie Moore's other problems may have been more manageable if the scapegoating from that pitch didn't push him over the edge.

And probably the worst scapegoating ever came in Chicago with poor Steve Bartman. Come on, this guy was a paying customer and longtime fan, and the Cubs still had plenty of chances to win when he caught it. The fact that he was hounded out of town was inexcuseable.

I tend to believe that Moore, in the midst of a horrible marriage, had to hear his wife say things like, "You make love like Donnie Moore pitches in the clutch -- oh, you ARE Donnie Moore."

I'd put the exhaust hose to my mouth, too.

Kaz -

Youa are a genius. Great prognastication. That is just how it will play out. Now go bow before the altar of little petulent Boy Genius.

Let's say we take 2 of 3 from Seattle...

//Kaz Youa are a genius. Great prognastication. That is just how it will play out. Now go bow before the altar of little petulent Boy Genius.//

As of 6 PM Saturday as I write this, what part of "2 of 3" are you sarcastically acting as if I'd been wrong about?

Jackass. Seriously, paddy, why don't you knick-knack-whack yourself rolling home to the Yankees?

Well, I had us inked in for 2 of 3, but I guess Terry Francona had other plans. No other way to explain putting in Mr. 1 ER per Inning since the All-Star Break in the 8th tonight instead of Foulke who looks cool as a cucumber since coming off the DL...

No idea what Francona's thinking...it's like he has no concept of RECENT history and plays everyone from their 3 mo stat average and holds back when he foreshadows events to come 3 days from now...

Kaz -

Here's what I'm acting like you're wrong about: 1 - talking about taking two of three before we've even taken one (especially when we've already lost 6-0 in the first game). 2 - Being giddy about a "crazy" September. Fighting the Blue Jays for a very distant second doesn't sound that crazy to me. 3 - recognizing that the Twins play an unbelievably easy schedule, yet ignoring the obvious consequences. Why are you upbeat? This season turned into the worst sort of train wreck on so many different levels, starting with the G.M. treating his job in a very unserious manner. He should have been allowed to hang with that really, really ultra-hip band Pearl Jam in perpetuity.

Instead of "leaving the light on" for Theo, they should have slammed the door so shut he'd need a crowbar to budge it an inch. The appropriate reaction would have been "come back ten years from now when you've grown up and have the demeanor to move in the adult world, Frat Boy." When the man in charge of the team is an unstable, loose cannon, nothing good can come of it.

//When the man in charge of the team is an unstable, loose cannon, nothing good can come of it.//

You're right, I'm not so hot on Lucchino either.

The comments to this entry are closed.

The Soxaholix eBook Spinoff

The captivating and long awaited Soxaholix eBook spinoff is finally available!

There's No Crying in Pocket Pool


Purchase at Amazon.


Logo t-shirts now available, several colors, even pink.

'Soxaholix logo t-shirt