Monday, May 08, 2006

Great Moments in Red Sox History #3

Dateline: 5/25/02

I must confess, I don't know who the Red Sox played on this date. It seems like a strange intro for the third episode of Great Moments in Red Sox History, but you have to bear with me for a second. All will become clear in time. Or at least it will become less clear but in a way that I hope is somewhat entertaining.

The scene for our great moment in Red Sox history is the Fleet Center. It was a great day for Boston sports. The Celtics completed the largest 4th quarter comeback in NBA playoff history, overcoming a deficit of 21 points at the beginning of the last quarter. They beat the New Jersey Nets, a team which I really hate. Antoine Walker had a big game (he ended up with 23 points, but he kept the Cs alive when the rest of the team was ice cold from the floor).

I was at this game. I was having a hell of a time. When Jason Kidd touched the ball, I booed and screamed "Wifebeater" at him with the rest of the crowd. Perhaps it was not an enlightened way to pass an afternoon, but life is too short not to do dumb things on occasion. Over the course of the game, I noticed something I found disconcerting. Fans in the Fleet Center started up a "Yankees Suck" chant. I found that to be pathetic.

Since I am not a Red Sox fan, I do not suffer from the inferiority complex that bedevils Bostonians when it comes to the Bronx Bombers. I don't have a problem with negativity and hostility against opposing teams (as I said in the preceding paragraph, I booed Jason Kidd). I do, however, have a problem with chanting "Yankees Suck" at every opportunity.

There is a time and a place for that sort of behavior. It's at Fenway Park when the Yankees are in town. If you chant "Yankees suck" when the Royals are in town and losing by 10 runs, you are a tool. One day when I have more time and find myself less depressed than I am at the moment (there's nothing like a 3 game Red Sox winning streak to put a damper on a weekend), I might describe in detail the order of magnitude for tools of the human variety. Tonight just isn't that night.

I don't really know where I'd put the tools who chant "Yankees Suck" at Fenway when they aren't playing the Yanks. It's not really that high on the list. It certainly doesn't challenge the level of tool that sings U2's One at the top of their lungs in a bar.

That image is fresh in my mind since I recently witnessed such a spectacle. Now I like U2 a lot, and I really like that particular song. I merely think Bono recorded the definitive version. I certainly don't want to hear some jackass with a beard the like of which hasn't been popular since Sir Walter Raleigh stalked the Earth sing it. It was not a good time, but I digress.

That kind of tool, the lizard king of the yuppies in Anytown, USA is the same kind of tool who chants "Yankees Suck" at a basketball game. A basketball game. A playoff basketball game. The first time the team had been to the conference finals in over a decade. The series was tied 1-1. The team pulled off a miraculous comeback. And all that people in the crowd can think about is that now would be a good time to chant "Yankees Suck."

You can tell yourself whatever you want about the myth of the inferiority complex in Red Sox Nation. You can't change the fact that Red Sox fans chant "Yankees Suck" at the drop of a hat, regardless of time and place. I've seen people with "Yankees Suck" shirts walking up to the Communion line at Mass. It really makes me question whether intelligent life exists on this planet.

I suppose I'm overreacting to this particular instance of the "Yankees Suck" phenomenon. Just because it was an historic moment for the NBA and for the Celtics organization does not mean that it should displace a preoccupation with New York and the Yankees for even an instant. After all, it was just another moment. It's not as though Red Sox fans saw fit to chant Yankees Suck at a moment as significant as Bruce Springsteen playing the first rock concert in Fenway Park's then 91 year history. Oh wait, they did.

P.S. I have it on reliable authority that Danny Ainge was quoted in the Herald in the not too distant past intimating that he had no idea what direction the team needed to take in the upcoming draft. What a shock! I must say, I'd be infinitely more surprised if he did know that. It might be a first sign that a man who has been around the NBA as a player, broadcaster and executive since 1981 is developing a small measure of basketball IQ.

Here's an idea for you, Danny. Draft the stiff from West Virginia. The best way to find out if he's really the second coming of Raef LaFrentz has to be to pair them up on a team. Then we could completely reverse conventional wisdom as it applies to basketball. Guard could go down and post up, and 7 footers could stand at the three point line and look useless. That will sell some tickets.

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