Monday, March 17, 2008

B.E.N. Invades Tampa

Red Sox at Yankees today. First chance for Dunbar fans to break out the "Red Sox are somehow bad even though they're currently World Champions because of something some football team did over the winter" chants.

But we'll see if Buncha Expletive Nation shows up to drown 'em out in Tampa. For Hank's sake, I was looking through old news articles to see just how early the term "Red Sox Nation" was used. There's a Nathan Cobb article from during the 1986 World Series that uses it. Then Shaughnessey uses it a couple of times in 1990. By '91 he's saying it all the time. And that's just from a crappy Google News search which hardly covers every article that ever was.

Of course, much like how the old guy in Logan's Run says each cat has three names, there are three "Red Sox Nation"s. The term itself used by regular folks for many years. The term describing the paid fan club which the owners took from that original term (and its members). And the actual Red Sox fans that are and always have been everywhere. All three, Hank, do exist. Sorry.

I should specify that in the '86 article the term was used in descibing the geographic divide between regions--the guy talked about the line between "Yankee country and Red Sox nation." The later uses more accurately describe the Nation as being wherever Red Sox fans are.

This is why I get so confused when I hear Sox fans say "I'm sick of 'Red Sox Nation'." Please specify what you're sick of. I'm not sick of Red Sox fans being all over the place. It's the way it's always been--New Englanders have been populating the rest of this country for centuries. I've always been proud to meet a Sox fan in some other spot in the world--and talk about bandwagoners all you want, when I meet a Sox fan, they usually have the team in their family and know what they're talking about. I've never had a Red Sox fan say to me, "oh, I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about, I only started following the team after they won the World Series. Now who's this Wade Boggs you speak of?" Whereas people in Yankee hats, in my experience, are usually people who somehow picked up the hat by default or got caught up in the late-90s winning or think Jeter is cute.

So that's one thing I'm not sick of. I'm also not sick of the fan club itself. It's a fan club. They exist everywhere. So what? The Yankees have one, the Celtics have one. I never was offended. The only issue was the crap about "making your citizenship official." They took the name describing all Sox fans and used it as the name of a club you have to pay to get into. Is that what you're sick of? Okay, then say that. It's almost getting to the point now where I hear a fan say "I'm sick of Red Sox Nation," and I think, Uh-oh, this is a relatively young fan who never knew the term Red Sox Nation as anything other than the fan-club title...

At left, one of our many "Nation" imitators. (Though I think there were "nations" before ours.)

Dice to start game one in Japan, Lester in game two.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States