Thursday, August 31, 2006

Defending The Nation Against Barroom Evil

My friend Rhonda sent me a great email today that I thought I had to share with you all. Rhonda is one of the most loyal and dedicated Red Sox fans I know, and she wrote the email like it was a post on a blog. It is her experience with two sets of Yankee fans earlier this week. One of them your typical group of muttonheads, but the other very different. It shows just how cool Red Sox Nation truly is.

The story is a bit long, but well worth the time to read.

My thanks to Rhonda for letting me put it here, and for always Keeping the Faith.

August 29, 2006
Girl enters a New York bar that is not named Professor Thom’s, her first mistake. She’s wearing “work clothes”, including a pair of those high heel shoes in every woman’s closet: the kind in which she knows that if the shit ever really went down (getting chased on the streets of NYC at 2am; having to escape an emergency situation in a jiffy), quick escape would not just be improbable, it would be impossible. Atop her head is a Red Sox cap. Not a pink one, but an old, raggedy, tired, sun-bleached Sox cap. The cap is the one she wears when mowing the lawn for her parents, babysitting, on the subway almost daily, when just watching the game.

Inside the New York bar, she walks past a circle of men who are leaning on the bar sloppily. They remind her of ragged sailors hovering about the leeward rail, ready to heave ho their Dark and Stormies into the swirling Atlantic below.

The men appear over 40ish. They are not all from New York. One has a noticeable Louisiana drawl. One is bald, muscular, loud, and quite unattractive. The other two she can’t see; she only spies their pudgy backs as she glances at the bartender so that he’ll hopefully make his way over. As she approaches the bar for a beverage, the bald, unattractive man notices the girl’s tattered Red Sox cap. He notices she is alone, for now. He notices she is an easy target. He recalls the A.L. East standings, slowly. He decides to make her pay for the mistake that he considers her accessory to be.

“Eh…Hey you! You can’t wear dat cap in here! Boston fan, hah? So where you think you are, honey? Go back to Boston! Take dat off! GO BACK TO BOSTON!”

She knows she shouldn’t go there. That he’s not worth her addressing him. But this week, somehow, she just can’t help herself.

“I can’t,” the woman answers clearly, calmly, loudly. She’s glaring now, directly into his glazed-over, beady eyes.

“Oh yeah?” the man asks, “Why not!?” He is exasperated she’s not flirting with him. He is surprised she is not rattled. Her reaction genuinely surprises the simple, ugly man.

“Because I live here,” she answers, pausing for effect, “And I’ve probably lived here longer than half of you jackasses have.”

The man is not pleased. The men surrounding him, however, are. Because who the hell are we kidding? Half of them think the other half are jackasses too.

The man with the Louisiana accent speaks up.

“Hey,” (he whispers to his friends), “I bet she duzzen’t even know...I bet she duzzen’t even know. Hey blondie, hey—who won the World Series LAST year?”

She is surprised at the question.

“Excuse me?” she asks him.

“Who…won…the…World…Series…last…year?” he repeats ever so slowly for condescending effect, actually thinking he’s got something here.

“Sir,” she answers, “I will not dignify such a question with an answer.”

A young blonde man sitting at the bar to her right speaks up on the woman’s behalf.

“It wasn’t the New York Yankees, I’ll tell you that!” he shouts. Met fan, the woman assumes. God bless ‘em.

She really should just let it all go. She knows she should just let it go, but somehow, this just isn’t the kind of week when she wants to let it all go. Especially when she needs a cocktail.

“You—“ she orders, pointing to the unattractive bald man. Again he looks surprised. “What is it?” she asks him, “Not enough that your team is in first place? Not enough? So much so that you have to pick on girls half your age? Half your size? Who are alone in a bar, waiting for a friend to show up? Just so you can feel like a tough guy for a fleeting moment? Like a winner?

Gentlemen, which, incidentally, is the overstatement of the year…I hope you all thoroughly enjoy the Yankees getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs next month. Because I know I will!”

The men, after some additional douchebaggery commentary, are ready to leave the bar anyway. “Screw her!” they shout to one another. Soon thereafter, they depart.

Then, in classic New York fashion, which is why she loves the City as much as she does, one of the bartenders comes to her rescue.

He engages her in a discussion about his trip to Fenway this season, a few weeks ago. He took the trip with his girlfriend just to show her the ballpark (nice guy) when the Sox played the Orioles. He said they started talking with some Sox fans at the Cask & Flagon, and the Sox fans (season ticket holders) told the Yankee fans they were unable stay for the entirety of the night’s game—that the Sox fans had to get back to the office later. And so if the couple wanted, the Sox fans could call the Yankee fans on their cell phones, and the Yankee fans could sit in their season ticket holder seats, so the seats wouldn’t “go to waste”.

He never expects them to call. Why should they, he figures?

The Sox fans remember to call. The Yankee fans moved to their seats. The seats were right behind home plate.

The Sox beat the Orioles that night, but despite that, the bartender said, smiling, they really loved their night at Fenway. He said how everyone they met while they were up there in Boston “were so nice.” He gave an example of a guy going over to a couple of tourists looking at a map with bewildered expressions on Comm. Ave, and how he offered to give them directions. He complimented how beautiful and clean the city was, compared to New York. Of how much his girlfriend loved it there…even though, of course, he’s a born and bred New Yorker and he loves it here, as if he even had to explain that to the girl.

Then, to the girl’s surprise, the bartender adds this little tidbit:

“I really hope the Sox get healthy soon, and that that finally turns the tide for them. Cuz…it just ain’t the same. You know? If the rivalry doesn’t have that intensity this time of year, it just ain’t the same. You know?”

“I know,” the girl answered.

And she really did know. It was a question she dignified with an answer, even though it bothered her more than the other one ever, ever could.


Peter N said...

Wow..great story well written. Thanks, and have a great holiday weekend, through the rain but smiling forever.

Michael Leggett said...

I'll be at Fenway, tommorow night @ 7:05PM:

In Tim Mc Graw's Father's Words;

"Ya Gotta Believe!"