“I sucked down a reefer before every inning!”
The Boston Red Sox are a baseball team located in Boston, Massachusetts. The team is most noted for wearing red socks during games, hence the name Red Sox. The Red Sox are rivals to the New York Yankees, for some reason.
Keys to the Red Sox
In any other American city, the existence of a narrow street a mere 200 feet from home plate would be a clarion call that you can't put a baseball stadium here. In the case of Boston, where there is no room for anything, not even a Walmart or a Chik-Fil-A, even if they were to align their politics to that of the mayor, it meant we'll make do with what we have and build a ballpark with unique "personality." (After all, baseball was once played on a Polo Grounds, for Chrissakes.) Consequently, as they say, one man's right to play baseball ends at the point at which Lansdowne Street begins. Players are saved from having to go into Lansdowne Street, looking left and then right for oncoming cars, to illustrate safety to any children in attendance, by the existence of a large, ugly wall smack in the middle of what should be a spacious left field.
The resulting seating capacity of 400 makes Fenway Park one of two parks in Major League Baseball permitted to shoo out all the fans between games of a doubleheader and make them pay a second time. Fans weighing more than 200 pounds take up two of the creaky old seats, few of which face home plate.
At some point during the 86-year championship drought, it occurred that the ugly left-field wall was in fact beautiful, a bit of the city's "heritage" (as one can even refer to mosquito-infested swamps) and it might distract from the team's losing record to parlay the wall into a big-league feature. The first step in this plan was to create a poetic identity for it. Management named it the Green Monster. The wall had always been green, but had never been thought of as a monster, except for fans who used the term in error, intending to refer to Manny Ramírez ducking inside the wall between innings to urinate. After naming the wall, management created a Green Monster mascot, bean-bag dolls, and prize awards. Management plastered it with ads, so that enraptured fans could describe whether a pop fly hit the wall above or below the Covidien ad. Management added an out-of-town scoreboard, a coded message, and finally high-priced seats at the top of the wall, knowing that few Red Sox fans would benefit from a clear view of the game, but very many would like to bray down at the tavern that "We sat on top of the Green Monstah!!!"
Other aspects of the historic ballpark have likewise been brought into the modern era. This includes men's toilets in which one urinated into a huge tub with sprinklers, facing fifty other men (mostly gawking, grey-haired civil servants). This was an experience that led many young fans to decide that pissing their pants would be less mortifying.
Red Sox fans
Red Sox fans are unique in that they know virtually nothing about the sport, though they all know that anyone making that much money has no right to complain or to underperform. Tickets to Red Sox games exist so that Boston residents have something else to pay too much for, and a place to be seen having fun, whether or not they are. For $1000, you can choose a seat where your head is on television right behind the batter. You can make faces while he bats, and phone your friends for a one-way videoconference. Fans take pride in identifying themselves as hopeless wannabees by sporting game-worn uniforms of their favorite athlete. That most are wearing the same clothing is not as awkward as it is with formal party dresses. Fans pass the time making inflammatory remarks about a certain New York baseball team as a way of coping with their own deficiencies (insert Bucky Dent or Bill Buckner joke here). On hearing a reasonable rebuttal, they may react by hurling batteries onto the playing field.
The prices of tickets vary. Usually in April the Red Socks tickets are very cheap, tricking fans into thinking the season's ticket prices will be cheap and games will be affordable. However, around June, the ticket prices rise from a couple nickels (the highest price in 1912) to around 50 bucks. This often leads to many fans not appearing at games and choosing to watch games on TV. Every couple of days the tickets cheapen back to a few nickels for season tickets. At the end of the season, the fans end up paying a couple thousand, realizing that the tickets had full price of 50 bucks written in Sharpie marker on the back. Still, the fans follow this procedure every season, only to fall into the trap again.
Fenway Park is old. It was first played in by the Reds Soxes in 1912 under the name Soxland Stadium. In 1990, the team changed the name to Fenway Park. The name's origin is currently unknown. The Green Monster wall was born after the ALCS loss to the Yankees in 1999 and 2003. When the manager of the Red Sox manager complained to the owner that without a huge wall, the Red Sux would give up many homeruns.
With the completion of the Green Monster to begin the 2004 season, the Red Sox made the postseason for a second year in a row. They met the Yankees in the ALCS for the second year in a row, too. When the first pitch was thrown by a Red Sox pitcher it was driven hard by Derek Jeter and hit the Green Monster, in which Derek Jeter didn't realize he didn't hit a homer and was tagged out jogging slowly around the bases. This happened four or five times throughout the ALCS. The Green Monster came in handy after all when the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 4 games to 3 in the 2004 ALCS and went on to win the World Series. This would happen again in 2007. Since September2011, the Red Sox proved that they probably wouldn't win another World Series in the near future. The following season Bobby Valentine came into the organization as manager, sending Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for what the Dodgers called great future Hall-of-Famer farm players. This move, unfortunately turned out to be one of the more not so rewarding moves and the Red Sox nearly finished in last place of their division.
Rivalry with the Yankees
The New York Yankees don't like the Red Sox. Neither do the Red Sox like the Yankees. This enmity manifests itself most commonly via suspicious pitches being thrown at batters of both teams by the opposite pitcher, and sometimes their own pitchers.
In 1978, during an AL Pennant Race against the Yankees, the Red Sox made mistake pitches to Bucky Dent where upon Bucky Dent then lifted a pitch to tie the game. Reggie Jackson then also picked up, hitting a solo shot off from the Red Sox and screwed the BoSox for good.
In 1990, Dent was fired as team manager after a series in Boston, teammates claiming "Bucky Fucking Dent", from both dugouts.
Recently, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek of the Red Sox got into a wrestling match during a game where upon Jason Varitek called for a pitch to hit Arod. Arod responded with a gentle "Wanna mess?", and Varitek quickly responded "Kinda...". It was then when the two teams confused this match as a brawl and sprung out of their respective dugouts, ultimately joining in on the fight. It was a 50-man total brawl, which meant pairs of two was possible. Each position player on each team would face their opposite team position player, Mariano Rivera would fight the Red Sox closer, where then Terry Francona and Joe Torre would fight against one another. The only acceptance was Jason Varitek, the catcher of the Boston Red Sox, fought Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees third basemen. Mike Lowell was the Red Sox third basemen, fighting the Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada.
Occasionally, the Red Sox and Yankees will every now and then brawl again.
The 1901-1919 era was the franchise's rise from the ground. The minor Western team, led by Banned Johnson, declared its inequality from the minor Western league, claiming that the National League was more of a challenge. Without any disputes, the team was quickly promoted to the new American League.
The newly formed franchises that filled the American League were teams in Baltimore, Maryland, and Buffalo. The Buffalo Wings were the Buffalo team, the Baltimore Orioles were the Baltimore team, and the Maryland Land O' Marys were the Maryland team. However, with the addition of the Boston team, the Buffalo team was canceled.
It was two mere years until the Red Sox stole their first championship in the 1903 season. Nine pitiful years later, they claimed another. Three years later, another championship was claimed, followed by another the next year. In 1918, they claimed yet another championship. It was then the Red Sox struggled somewhat, for 86 years.
In 1939, the Red Sox stole the contract of outfielder Ted Williams from the minor league team, the San Diego Padres. (Who infamously ended up becoming a Major League team, an infamous horrible Major League team) When Ted Williams played with the team literally on his back, the fans dubbed the team, the "Ted Sox". Instantly, Ted Williams began to hit for power and average. He is often considered one of the most incredibly best hitters of all eternity. Ted influenced Boston's beloved team so much, they named the right-field bullpen after him, calling it "Williamsburg". It was chosen as the right-field bullpen because Ted Williams was a left-handed slugger.
Ted Williams also had another job besides his baseball career. He fought in the Marines as a pilot and saw the horrors of war with active duty during the second World War and during the Korean War. Doing this unimportant so-called tasked of "fighting for his country", he missed a full five seasons. His book, The Science of Hitting, is often read by many fans who are stuck in the past. He is currently the last player to hit for the
suspicious .400 mark for a full season, batting a splendid .406 in 1941. However, Ted Williams was not so nice and friendly to fans and sportswriters. He often slurred the papers with pathetic dubs and has been seen spitting at fans with a torrent of saliva more than once.
In 1946, the Red Sox met up with the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. However, it is Williams's fault that the Red Sox lost in seven games because a shift was put on against him. The shift is similar to the shift given to David Ortiz, only more depressing. Williams could not hit at all during the World Series, claiming that he was too proud to produce by hitting against the shift. However, most people claim it was due to a blow to his elbow in a
mischievous totally friendly exhibition game a few days before the World Series started.
The Red Sox narrowly lost the AL pennant in the 1948 and 1949 seasons. In 1948, Boston finished their season with a tie with the Cleveland Indians. In a one-game playoff, the manager Joseph McCarthy chose an unskilled pitcher to pitch the game when the young lefty phenom Mel Parnell was available to be the starting pitcher. Some might say Joseph McCarthy wanted them to lose, as he could be seen smiling when the Indians hit homers off from the horrible starter given Boston's season on his shoulders. In 1949, the Yankees were one game behind the Red Sox. However, the last two games proved to be defeat for the Red Sox. The Yankees won yet another season over the Red Sox.
The 1950s also proved to be not so great for the Red Sox. When Ted Williams returned from the Korean War, he would only find that many other players either retired, quit, or were traded. Jackie Robinson would be considered for joining the Red Sox roster, but the Sox were still racist and said that no black men would join the Red Sox organization. Willie Mays would end up retiring, and after collecting a home run in his final at-bat, Williams retired. Some Red Sox fans started liking the Yankees.
On a routine year during the team's 86-year championship drought, the team was acquired by a consortium including John Henry (not the famous railroad worker but someone with the same name) and the Boston Globe. This ownership group had grandiose visions of turning Fenway Park into a full-sized baseball stadium or building a new one in the suburbs, as though anything so life-changing would be allowed to happen in Boston. Moreover, the new owners did not have hobbies such as discriminating against Negroes or trading star players to get cash to open Broadway musicals. They simply, quietly, won the World Series in 2004 — and again in 2007.
Many local fans believe that these successes were the result of actual actions that Mr. Henry took. Fortunately, the years immediately following served as a disproof.
The Moneyball era
The reader will have watched the movie Moneyball, in which the famous Billy Bean hires a nerd named Bill James and adopts his philosophy that, rather than signing famous players to replace famous players who walk when they realize the team won't pay the big bucks, a team should acquire players who deliver game-winning statistics for a bargain price, as when one buys sneakers at a salvage yard and later wishes they resisted rain. In the movie, the resulting Bean-job produces some stirring statistics, such as a long winning streak in the middle of a losing season.
John Henry himself has a cameo role in the movie, reprising his attempt to hire away Mr. James by offering him a quiet cup of tea in the cramped Fenway Park luxury boxes. Now, Sabermetricians do a lot of great things, but they don't award championship rings. Still, in 2004, the club managed to assemble a team of "idiots" — who, incidentally, won a ton of games.
The height of the Red Sox Moneyball era was 2007, in which the desire to purchase winning statistics at bargain prices led the club to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka to a six-year, $52 million contract, after also paying $51 million to the Pokari Sweat Turtles for the mere right to talk to Matsuzaka, who had no statistics at all that would mean anything in the U.S. The club captured a second modern World Series victory that year despite having become overpaid prima donnas.
The six years, meanwhile, were about four more than Matsuzaka's arm had left in it, though fans were always interested in the superstar's latest "rehab assignment" and whether he ever really threw a "gyro-ball." By 2011, the Moneyball philosophy had assembled a starting pitching rotation whose fine statistics were on the market for a fraction of the going salaries — a rotation of pitchers, none of whom were even willing to remain sober during games he was not pitching. Having Terry Francona as manager did not save the day; even flipping a player a double bird with World Series rings on both the relevant fingers is nothing that a truly bored player cannot tune out.
The team made history that summer, squandering an insurmountable advantage in the final weeks of the regular season with scuffles in the dugout, secret meetings in the clubhouse, and a blossoming, unanimous hatred of the players for one another. On the final day of the season, the Red Sox could still have made the playoffs if either of two outcomes went their way. But, bad fundamental play? — Fans will always remember Ryan Lavarnway catching a throw from the outfield that could not stop the season-ending run from scoring — then looking up sharply: Maybe there's a play at second base....
The Valentine era
The hard-core baseball fan will understand that the solution for that concerted collapse involves multiple steps:
- Ensure that all the underperforming, big-name athletes are signed for the next season.
- Fire the championship manager, after softening him up in the press with rumors about pill-popping and domestic troubles.
- Declare in the media that his replacement will not be some wisecracking television pundit such as Bobby Valentine.
- Hire wisecracking television pundit Bobby Valentine.
So it was that Valentine came to the storied franchise for the single, rollercoaster 2012 season. A player's life-training to always talk up the team, somehow never teaches him what to do when the manager himself declares that star firstbaseman Kevin Youkilis is dogging it. So Dustin Pedroia declares that Valentine needed to learn that "that's not the way we do things." Alas, Valentine never did; instead, the club embarked on a series of decisive moves, which, surprising no one, decided things. The club first traded away Youkilis, essentially for nothing, for the crime of not being liked by a manager who obviously was not long for the job himself. (Well, it worked with Nomar!) Then it traded away most of the other superstars, acquiring in exchange some promising talent on farm teams and freeing up cash for a promising 2013 season, while still trying to sell tickets for 2012. Valentine, meanwhile, practiced his specialty: Wisecracking and acting stupid.
By the end of the mediocre pennant run, John Henry would tell the press he wasn't sure why Bill James was not more influential, but he would be in the future. Thus, by the end of the year, the club went full-circle, spending all that free cash to sign names big enough to replace the bigness of the names it had just let go. The only reason James wasn't spinning in his grave is that he wasn't dead yet. Only his theories.
The honesty era
An oddity during the wasted 2012 season is that the Red Sox continued its record-setting streak of sold-out games. Fenway Park was completely sold for every regular-season date. (For readers who glossed over the previous section, there were no post-season dates.) The park was packed even for weekday afternoon matinee games against the horrible Kansas City Royals and despite having the league's most expensive ticket prices. The sell-outs occurred even though good seats in every section were available at game time, as key club sponsors were buttonholed to buy thousands of unused tickets "for the use of employees," many of whom cleverly attended games dressed in disguise as empty stadium seats.
The guileless honesty of club management that is visible through these attendance reports is an encouragement to fans. After all, in 2012, management dumped all the players the manager couldn't get along with, then dumped the manager. The common wisdom would be that the club has entered a "rebuilding era" where fans will have to sit patiently and watch "stars" such as Shane Victorino until about 2017 to have any hope of another serious pennant run. When Ownership says that "we intend to be competitive in 2013" (translation: field at least 9 players for all 162 games before retreating quietly to the golf links) and when the General Manager swears by the new roster (the Sox having also dumped boy-genius GM Theo Epstein, even though he too has a World Series ring on each hand), fans can be sure they are telling the God's-honest truth. GM Smythe Cherington III is confident that if several possibilities should each come to fruition, if each of the starting pitchers can go clean-and-sober and have another career year, and if the new journeyman players can effortlessly deliver their traditional performance and have no personality problems versus a brand-new field manager, the team will once again "be in the game" almost every day. And even if not, fans will still experience the thrill of sitting in a ballpark steeped in history.
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|Boston Red Sox||Cleveland Indians||Oakland Athletics|
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