Fortunately, I was out of town this weekend and unable to partake in the sweet nectar that was the Braves amassing four runs in three games against the mighty Pirates. Instead, I was in Boston, visiting my best friend from college, Josh. As I sit and swelter in an apartment without air conditioning in 85 degree heat, here are my observations:
1. People in this town LOVE the Red Sox. I've never seen a city where the local baseball cap is more ubiquitous. Maybe Alabama football and the Packers in the NFL are in the same league, but the rest of the list is pretty short. How much do people here love this team? There was a guy on the T today with a Doug Mirabelli t-shirt. Yes, that's right, the Sox' back-up catcher. There was an elderly woman on the train talking in Italian with her husband and then talking about the Sox. Josh's roommate has no fewer than three DVDs from the Sox' '04 season, which probably isn't abnormal. At a bookstore in Brookline, there was virtually an entire shelf on the Red Sox. Interestingly, there was nothing on the Patriots (or the sport of football,) which means that either football fans are illiterate or people in Brookline just like the Sox more than the Pats.
Generally speaking, there was one Pats reminder for every ten of the Sox. To a certain extent, that's understandable because of the season, but Josh confirmed that the Sox are just more popular than the Pats. I got to thinking about why that is. Part of the reason is the same as why college sports in the South are bigger than pro sports: deeper roots. The Sox date back to the turn of the century, while the Pats are an invention of the 60s. The Sox have a great, traditional home; the Pats played in a dump outside of town and then threatened to move to Hartford. The Sox found noble, excrutiating ways to lose. The Pats, for the most part, just sucked. The Sox had Ted Williams. The Pats had...Steve Grogan?
In short, I was annoyed by the excessive love-in that the media had with the Red Sox last year when they finally won the World Series, but putting that aside, their fans truly treat the team as a religion and it was nice for them to win. I've always been a believer that, in the sports world, Clint Eastwood put it best in "Unforgiven": "deserve's got nothing to do with it." However, if anyone deserved to win a World Series, it was the Red Sox.
2. We took a tour of JFK's birth home and managed to avoid asking pointed questions about "is this where Jack first learned to charm a woman?" and "was Joe Sr. a Nazi sympathizer at this point or was that later?" I did buy a JFK bookmark to mark my place in "The Best and the Birghtest", which is about how his administration full of accomplished intellectuals managed to make the Vietnam mistake. Jack alwasy did appreciate irony.
3. I had to restrain my laughter when listening to some of the accents, which I guess most Northerners have to do when they come down South. It was amazing how many women actually talk like Rachel Dratch's Zazu character from Saturday Night Live.