Guest Post by Glenn Sullivan
Baseball fans come together for a grueling 162 game season with two months of pre-season and possibly playoffs. These fans spend nine months together and develop a sense of comradery, but it doesn’t stop there. Teams sell the idea of a family or community coming together for the same cause. Whether that cause be supporting a player or supporting another fan, just because the seasons over doesn’t mean the family goes away. According to David Ortiz fans are what get him going “I just love the feeling from the fans and when I'm walking on deck I can hear people screaming and wishing you the best. That puts you into the game more than anything.” But that doesn’t go without pressure from them as well “Sometimes you just don't feel the same everyday, it doesn't matter what you do, but when you have people looking forward to seeing you perform for them, that puts you in the mood, and that's natural in Boston. That's why it's such a special place to play.” Ortiz knows every time he steps to the plate he has 50,000 fans behind him motivating him to succeed. Fans develop a sense of ownership to their team as well, so much so that they are willing to go to war with the fan of another team. Fans triumph together, fight together and the loose together, but ultimately keep moving forward together.
When times are good there isn’t much for fans to complain about. During the off season your team came up with a plan and so far everything has gone accordingly. Those issues that have seemed to plague your team in the past disappear and it is nothing but blue skies. The dreams of a playoff run seem more real every day and you can feel the energy surging from the crowd at the game or bar. Fans are talking about the previous night’s game to their co-workers and making predictions for upcoming ones. Fans get so caught up in the moment they would do anything for their team. Take the 2013 Boston Red Sox, during their championship run the majority of the team stopped shaving and grew their beards out. Fans were quick to follow, growing their own playoff beards. Red Sox nation rallied around the slogan “beard strong.”
After winning the 2004 World Series for the first time in 86 years the Red Sox owner said "This is like an alternate reality. All of our fans waited their entire lives for this...We won't even need the airplane to fly home." --John Henry. The energy in the stadium after the win was surreal, fans waited hours after the game to spend time celebrating with fellow fans and players.
Some say Boston has the toughest crowed to play in front of. That’s because these fans will stop at nothing to support their team, even if it means taking things out side. During a 2005 game between the Red Sox and Yankees a fan threw a beer at Gary Sheffield as he was fielding a ball. This fan was ejected from the game, but had no remorse and felt he had done his team a great service in getting one over on the yanks. The hatred of a rival team runs deep and continues through the generations.
If your team is down and there seems like there’s no hope that is when the toughest fans shine through. Sometimes it seems like no matter what your team does it won’t make a difference you’re still going to lose that season. For years Red Sox fans have known true despair after going 86 years without a title. During those losing seasons the Red Sox would come so close to the promise land but never get in. They lost in the World Series to the Cardinals in 1946 and 1967, the Cincinnati Reds in 1975, and in 1986 to the Mets. It took true loyalty to be able to call themselves Red Sox fans while watching their team lose time and time again.
In the 9th
The Red Sox have an effect on their fans, a feeling of being overwhelmed with the atmosphere. It’s hard to describe the feeling but here is Simon Schama’s a Columbia University professor attempt at it “I'm helplessly and permanently a Red Sox fan. It was like first love...You never forget. It's special. It's the first time I saw a ballpark. I'd thought nothing would ever replace cricket. Wow! Fenway Park at 7 o'clock in the evening. Oh, just, magic beyond magic: never got over that”
Boston may be known for its tough crowd, but it’s also known for its diehard fans. We have known true glory during the banner years with the Celtics, and we have known true disappointment during the 86 year drought with the Sox’s. Boston fans know the meaning of loyalty and how to be there for their family through thick and thin. Regardless of the team’s record, we will always find lines at the gates and hear fans singing Sweet Caroline.
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Shaughnessy, Dan. "YES!!!" Boston Red Sox. Boston Globe, 28 Oct. 2004. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Wilkins, Ryan. "Baseball Prospectus | The Week in Quotes: World Series Edition." Baseball Prospectus. N.p., 1 Nov. 2004. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
"David Ortiz Quotes." Baseball Almanac. N.p., 10 Oct. 2003. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.