Tuesday, July 21, 2009

red sox nation

One could not be a follower of baseball in New England and not have heard of something referred to as "Red Sox Nation." The phrase refers to the collective fandom for the Boston Red Sox who seem to be buoyed or depressed as a function of the latest Red Sox effort. Tonight, July 21, the Red Sox lost for the fourth straight time which is, no doubt, making sleep difficult for the more ardent of the fans in Red Sox Nation.

I had heard that the nation travels. That is, when the Red Sox play away games people travel to the other cities to watch the games there. A few years back I did see this in Baltimore when I went to a Red Sox--Oriole game and the nation was well represented. However, it was just this past weekend when I noticed the phenomenon in full force.

Last Thursday I set off for Toronto where the Red Sox were scheduled to resume play after the All Star break. It was amusing to me to see several cars at rest stops that were filled with passengers wearing Red Sox garb. These observations were just appetizers. The lobby of the hotel in Toronto had no fewer than a half dozen Red Sox dressed fans at any time I happened there. At a breakfast place called, Fran's, four full tables were populated with serious members of the nation who were discussing the nuances of the pitching staff and other details as they snorted their eggs. Yonge Street, a major street in downtown Toronto, looked like it was the setting for some sort of parade with Red Sox hatted and jerseyed families bouncing up the road on their way to the Roger's Center. On Friday night when Kevin Youkilis, a Boston Red Sox player, homered in his first at bat, the roar of the crowd made me think I was in Fenway not in the Blue Jays park. I was wearing a Northeastern shirt at the park and was stopped by someone who asked me if I was at the stadium for the reunion. "What reunion" I inquired. She told me that there was an alumni function that evening in Toronto for my Boston based school.

Okay, so you are a zealot--but it is close to 600 miles from Boston to Toronto. All the games in Boston are on tv. You bring your whole family to Toronto at a cost of 30-70 dollars a ticket, plus gas, plus lodging, plus restaurant eating? The clan in front of me at Fran's had six members counting a pipsqueak who could not have been more than 4 or 5. Even if the youngster gets in free, that is 250 a game, just for the tickets.

A fan myself, I am nevertheless surprised at the serious energy that is found in Red Sox nation.

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