pleasure in my pain
I am back. How are ya?
By the time Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller came up to bat in the ninth inning, I had grown serious.
I started covering my eyes with the bill of my green Red Sox hat and placing my reporter’s notebook over my mouth as if to suppress a scream I no longer had the strength to make.
His lame popup caused the double play and ended game one of the American League Division Championship between the Sox and our dreaded foes, the New York Yankees. They beat the Sox 10 to 7.
I’m a New Yorker of sorts now. I go to graduate school out here and am getting pretty used to this giant place, but I will never get used to the disappointment.
And here is the worst part my friends: we Red Sox fans take solace in the idea that those Yankee fans hate and fear us just as much as we do them. After tonight, my first game at Yankee Stadium, I no longer think that.
“I think we’re like little mosquitoes,” said Andrew Gold, 25, a musician from Brockton who came down for the game. He said Yankees fans seem to find our dedication funny. “They just wave us off.”
Funny? I don’t think there is anything funny about this situation. I remember being 5-years-old watching the 1986 World Series against the Mets. Even then my young mind understood defeat. Last year’s game seven homerun from the mediocre Yankee, Aaron Boon, was about as far from humorous as I can imagine.
But apart from two genuinely mean spirited comments (which I should not repeat) most of what I got was good natured, but cocky jabs.
Walking into the game was like running the gauntlet. I got oodles of comments, but the best one came from a police officer, who said to me, quite seriously: “You’re going to have to take off the hat, ma’am,” then broke out into a wide grin. I laughed back at him.
I got inside, and scrutinized my tickets trying to find the way to my seat way up in the bleachers behind left field, when the Pecora brothers from Brooklyn approached my friends and me.
“Massachusetts is like 250 miles that way,” said Anthony Pecora, gesturing to the North.
I asked him why a person like me should threaten a fan of the best baseball team in history.
“You’re not really a threat,” he explained to me, chuckling between his words. “We just hate you with a passion.”
I think it is important for us Boston fans to know, if only for the reason to make us more bitter, that while we suffer, the Yankees fans laugh. Worse, they laugh at our dedication and hope: the qualities we most cherish.
Many people asked me: “Don’t you want to cheer for a team that wins?” I answered that I am loyal and could never betray my city or my team, which inspired even more laughter.
They take our chants and throw them back in our faces: “Boston Sucks.” We all know where that came from. Then, they bring up 1918, and chant about that, too. Thanks to Ace Pedro Martinez’s recent remarks to the press, the say over and over and over: “Whose your Daddy.?”
We Boston fans revel in the fleeting moments where it seems like we have the upper hand, as if that makes all the rest of it worth it. I admit, in the seventh inning, when the Red Sox bats finally came alive, I too became cocky. “And a hush falls over Yankee Stadium,” I said loudly to my friend. And it did grow quiet. For a second, the Yankee fans around me seemed vulnerable and scared. I felt triumphant—for two innings.
Attending a Yankees/Red Sox game in New York when the Red Sox are losers should be mandatory of all fans. I say this because as demoralized as I felt, I came away more emboldened and hungrier for a victory. I hope it rubbed off on the players.