As many of you know, I grew up in the Boston area and spent many summer nights around Fenway Park in my teen years which is where my love of Jose Canseco and the A's began. I didn't actively root against the Red Sox. In fact, when the A's weren't in town I actually cheered for the lovable losers from Beantown.
Things have changed quite a bit over the years, both in the national perception of the Red Sox, the quality of the Red Sox team and in my ability to muster anything but dislike for the Sox. Jim Rome asked the question, "Have the Red Sox become the new Yankees?" of his panel on Rome is Burning yesterday. I would say no, but they are getting really close.
First and foremost, the Red Sox fans are arguably more obnoxious than Yankee fans. Anyone who has attended a game against the Yankees at the Coliseum and a game against the Red Sox at the Coliseum, there is a clear difference. Both are obnoxious and dismissive of every other team in baseball. To them, the only two teams that exist are the Sox and Yankees and all others are fodder for the fallout of their battles. ESPN and the national media definitely feed into this. But they're obnoxious and it's even worse for me because I have to listen to my family make all kinds of snide comments about how the A's season went this year while not bothering to educate themselves well enough to realize that the A's were dealing with one of the worst injury problems in Athletics franchise history.
Second, the Red Sox and Yankees are playing with more money than any teams in baseball. I remember a time when the Red Sox fans would complain about the ridiculous Yankee spending, but it's actually gotten much closer to being identical in recent seasons. In 2004, when the Red Sox won their last World Series title, their payroll was $127 million. The Yankees were $184 million. This year? Red Sox $143 million and Yankees $189 million. The gap between the Yankees and Red Sox has lessened while widening between the rest of baseball and those two teams. It's no longer Yankees=Evil Empire as many have said in the past. If you're going to call one the evil empire, then one has to be Emperor and the other is Darth Vader. Actually now that I think about it, it's probably an apt analogy. Not to get all Star Wars geeky on folks, but perhaps Anakin aka the Sox was the team that was supposed to bring balance to the Force. But instead of doing that, it just wound up joining up with the dark side and now we all wonder if there is any good left in them?
I realize that my opinion of the Red Sox changed pretty radically during that fateful series in which the players taped Ted Lilly's name to their backs and Derek Lowe grabbed his crotch at the A's dugout after the victory and that idiotic Manny Ramirez was himself and posed like he was God's gift to baseball. I once felt affinity for the team from Boston. But that's changed as the team went from lovable losers to obnoxious winners. Even David Ortiz, who was once a guy I liked, has rubbed me the wrong way with his tendency to behave like Derek Jeter in the batter's box...i.e., "How DARE the ump call a strike on me??? If I let it go by, it clearly was a ball." I'm just amazed myself sometimes how my opinion of the team has completely changed in a matter of about six years. Right or not, it used to be, the Red Sox were one of us. Now, they're one of them.
I've added a poll for you to add in your opinion below. Are they one in the same?
Oh and I really believe that the time off is going to lead to a very quick series as I said before. Tonight, another of the Red Sox most hated takes the mound in Curt Schilling. He takes on Ubaldo Jimenez at 5 p.m. PST on Fox. Oh and is it me, or does anyone still have a hard time taking a sporting event as huge as the World Series on Fox? Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember when Fox didn't exist.