Baseball’s October Bandwagon

09Oct09

Fenway Park infieldIt’s October and the Red Sox are once again in the post-season, so dust off that pink hat and try to remember where TBS is on your cable system. Because even if you have no idea what ALDS stands for, you’ll be watching anyway, rooting for the home team and hoping “we” go all the way this year.

Welcome back, casual fans. This is your time of year.

It’s been a long season, but we held down the fort for you. What’s that? No, Jason Varitek didn’t change uniform numbers. That’s Victor Martinez sporting the tools of ignorance. The Red Sox acquired Martinez last July in a trade for three pitchers that I guarantee you never heard of. Varitek is still with the team, but we may as well tell you up front that Julio Lugo is gone. He played shortstop. Well, I guess if the name doesn’t ring a bell, then you won’t miss him.

After 86 years, the 2004 World Series win was most gratifying to long-suffering Red Sox fans. Prior to that, we were a miserable lot, but at least we had the club to ourselves. Then the Red Sox became trendy. It became harder to get tickets to the games and if you did, you had to listen to Neil Diamond.
Fenway Park
Don’t get me wrong. You have every right to root for the team, even if it’s only in October. Just as you have a right to pay your admission and go to the games, even if you arrive in the third inning with a beer in each hand, squeeze down the row to your seats, talk non-stop to your friends about anything except the game, leave right after “Sweet Caroline” and then tell all your co-workers the next day how “awesome” the game was. (Just hope they don’t ask about the final score.)

I know, I know. Those of us who have followed the team year in, year out, even when they stunk, are now supposed to welcome as equals those who started paying attention in October of 2004. Okay, fine.

But I must point out that the fair weather fan lives in a world of immediate gratification. Their creed is, “Last to join, first to leave.” When the going gets tough, they are gone. Let me give you a classic example.

In 2004, the Red Sox lost the first three games of the ALCS to the Yankees, the third game by a humiliating score of 19-8. So-called fans couldn’t get off the bandwagon fast enough. One fan I know was “totally disgusted,” vowing not to watch Game 4 and never to follow the team again. Then the Red Sox proceeded to win four straight to beat the Yankees. They swept the Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years. Too bad that fan missed it all.

But hey, I’m all about tolerance. Who am I to apply a litmus test to anyone who wants to root for the team? Just don’t expect to be taken seriously if I hear you refer to Terry Francona as the “coach.”

Hop aboard, one and all. The bandwagon has arrived.

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