Monday, June 23, 2008

The Backlash Against the Backlash

One of the central dynamics in baseball fandom over the past four years has been the backlash against Red Sox Nation. People were yelling for Sox fans -- who, pre-2004 World Series results notwithstanding, had been pretty fortunate all things considered -- to shut up with the lovable losers stuff.

While the misery of Red Sox Nation has been overplayed, Splice Today's Russ Smith -- a Sox fan living in Baltimore -- believes that the backlash has jumped the shark as well:

Winning ballgames is a balm for fans, and maybe that’s why people in Baltimore just shrug now when the bandwagon jumpers and pink-hatted ladies who comprise “Red Sox Nation” come to town. (It also helps that attendance, suddenly, is surging.) So what’s the excuse for the spate of baseball columnists—exacerbated during inter-league play—who are apparently just realizing that the Sox, finally shorn of the “lovable chokers” label that the New England intelligentsia reveled in romanticizing for so many years, are, at least temporarily, a draw in whatever city they play? A week ago, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Ford ranted about the interlopers who came to see the Sox play the Phillies in a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park, lamenting that the “casual fans who [want] to glom on the gravy train” were wreaking havoc in his city . . .

. . . Enough, fellas. Although personally I’d like nothing better than for the Sox to build a dynasty to rival that of the Yanks in the 50s or late-90s—and what fan of any team wouldn’t?—it’s not likely. Odds are that Red Sox Nation will have another couple of years as a sports economic powerhouse and then another team will capture the public’s imagination. And when that happens, I’m looking forward to when the likes of Ford and Miklasz whine about the Orioles’ juggernaut called “Birdland” from coast to coast.
Not too sure about that impending Orioles dynasty, but the notion that Red Sox fandom is going to transform over time is likely correct. And I think that's true even if they keep winning (and given the organization that Theo and his buddies have built, I think that's a safe assumption). Manny and Papi will be gone one day, and the team will be full of a lot of guys with loads of talent but none of the charisma (who can match theirs?) and certainly no claim to those pre-2004 years. The fan base will still remain strong, but the novelty will have worn off for many, and you'll start to see the most marginal Sox fans drop out or at least back.

Thankfully for the rest of us, it's those marginal fans ("I spent two years of grad school in Boston, so I'm a total Sawx fan!") who are the most annoying.


Ken Dynamo said...

i was in bmore for one of the sox Os game and i see his point, plenty of normal sox fans and their families made a weekend trip to check out the inner harbour, see the game and pack the stands. i was sitting in the cheap seats, tho, with an avalanche of stupid annoying massholes who all suck terribly and deserve all the scorn heaped on them by bitter journalists and the like. they are pieces of crap and spent half the game shoutin BEAT L.A. chants. so maybe russ smith has a point that some people get too bent out of shape about it or whatever but 1) thats what all the yankee fans of the late 90's would say an 2) the boston fans do indeed suck ass, so maybe russ smith should shut up instead.

also suck one patriots. go giants.

tadthebad said...

Yep, all Red Sox fans suck. And b/c the Celtics just won, all of their fans suck too. I know the Pats lost the SB, so maybe their fans aren't quite so bad, but let's just make the blanket statement that all Boston fans suck. Thank you for your valuable insight.

Anonymous said...

For those sick of Red Sox fans - here ya go...

"B is for Bandwagon" gear!

Anonymous said...

I love how there was never a bandwagon before the sox!!!
I am sox fan in nj and the yankees had more bandwagon jumpers in the 90's than the cowboy's and steelers combinded!

And I really hope the guy who made those b is for bandwagon did not put too much money into inventory cause he might be donating a lot of shirts soon.

rank the worst bandwagons of all time:
1 - Chicago Bulls
2- Dallas Cowboys
3- NY Yankees

just a start

Ken Dynamo said...

no, not all red sox fans suck, just a whole awful lot of them do. they really are terrible. and maybe i'd have more sympathy if they didnt complain (and STILL complain) about yankee fans so bad. that just makes them hypocrites on top of being insufferable loud mouth jerks.

heres the annoying fan hierarchy:

1) red sox
2) yankees
3) everyone else

if the red sox start sucking again i may have some sympathy for all the knowledgeable sox fans that stick around with the team. until then, enjoy the WS rings and shut up about other fans hating you. it comes with the territory.

Ken Dynamo said...

i'd like to add this vieo as exhibit A if I may.

Anonymous said...

Y'know what is more annoying than a bandwagon fan? People who spend more time bitching about bandwagon fans than just watching the game. You all are like D&D dorks complaining that the new kid in town isn't hip to your game.
As a Sox fan deep Pinstripe-land, there's nothing I love more than pretending I'm a bandwagon fan just to see the steam come out of their ears.

jthewolfe said...

i am a red sox fan living in baltimore also, and i have a few points to make about this. i have been a fan for about twenty years (i am 32) so i am not a bandwagon jumper. i started following the team somewhere in the year or so after the buckner game. i lived in boston for a few years largely so that i could regularly go to sox games (i grew up in the south and was a fan of roger clemens). let me tell you, i hate the pink hats too. i hardly wear my sox hat in baltimore because i feel like a dork. but a) i know why the sox fans swarm to other teams' ballparks- more than most teams, it's easier for a family in new hampshire for example to take in a series in baltimore than it is to do the same in boston (the flights are cheap and the tickets are plentiful). b) i also don't like sitting in the bleachers in camden yards for a sox game because they're full of massholes, and gues what, those guys ARE bandwagon jumpers. they don't know much about the game, and they're idiots.
well, ok, some sox fans are dicks. but c) people forget that the silence of yankees fans in the last few years has been deafening. just wait til the world remembers what they're like when their team's on top. enjoy it while it lasts, people.
this sox backlash won't last because the cubs will win or the sox will have a couple of bad years in a row, and people's attention will turn elsewhere. then i'll be able to enjoy my team like a normal fan again.

tadthebad said...

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays. Sooo, I can't complain about Yankees' fans based on their support for the most evil sports franchise in the history of the known universe?

If your problem is loud-mouth jerks, I'm with you. If your problem is that those pesky Red Sox are just so dang good, too bad. The article is right, enough already.

Ken Dynamo said...

well i suppose we could debate the nuances to this argument ad infinitum, but it does seem like we all agree that annoying red sox fans and annoying yankee fans are both horrible. i guess the difference is yankee fans know theyre obnoxious and dont care, which makes it worse, and red sox fans think of themselves of undeserving of such hate, which is laughable.

and ive never turned anyone down for a game of AD&D. however, when im dungeon master, just be aware, my basement, my rules.