I came across a column from a sportswriter in Philadelphia named Bob Ford, and it's about the Red Sox and their fans coming to Citizens Bank Park for the three game series this week. And it's titled: "Red Sox Nation: Scourge on the Country."
Talk about a column loaded with envy and jealousy.
Ford writes in a town where its baseball team hasn't won a championship since 1980 (and just one at that), and the city of Philadelphia hasn't had a championship in any sport since 1983, when the Sixers took the NBA title. And this column is one I've seen in plenty of places before: "We liked the Red Sox and the fans more when they were really underdogs to the Yankees and it seemed like they would never win a title in our lifetimes so we can feel better about ourselves and could make all kinds of fun of them."
Typical garbage, you know, that "lovable losers" BS the Red Sox fans had to swallow for years and years. Here is Ford's column.
Yes, we knew things would change when the Red Sox finally won a championship. We'd get a whole of bandwagon jumpers (you can't avoid that, no matter how many titles a team has won or how long they've gone without winning one) who've claimed to be fans forever. And yes, the Red Sox aren't underdogs any more, and I can't emphasize this enough: THANK GOD FOR THAT. Only the most naive (or delusional) of Red Sox fans still think of us as underdogs.
Two things jumped out at me about this column especially. Ford doesn't do his homework. Two statements he makes are completely WRONG. He states:
"The Red Sox struggled to draw one million fans under the penurious final seasons of Yawkey family ownership." I don't know what numbers Ford has been looking at, but the Sox have drawn 2 million or more at home every year since 1986 (except for the strike year of 1994). They have not drawn under one million since 1966. And the Yawkey group gave up the club to John Henry and company in 2001.
"This season, the Sox trail only the Yankees in road attendance." Again, wrong. As of yesterday, through 37 games away from home, the Sox are averaging over 35,000 per road game, while the Yankees are averaging just over 30,000 in 33 away games. (Actually the Mets lead the MLB in average attendance on the road, having drawn over 36,000 in 34 away dates so far.)
A sloppily written column for sure. But Ford also fails to mention how the Phillies fans didn't grab all the tickets for the games when they first went on sale, and since Red Sox fans can't either get tickets due to the high demand or exorbitant prices, Philadelphia is the next closest to New York for road games, so fans will make the trip to see them. But Red Sox fans are going EVERYWHERE to see their team, even to places like Seattle and Kansas City.
I love these so-called writers who see the Red Sox fans coming to their town and refer to us as "hoards." Hey, the opposition team owners certainly won't say it, but they are privately smiling over the army of Red Sox fans coming for the games, as they fill up their ballparks and spend money, which ends up in their pockets. (Note the empty seats in places like Baltimore and Tampa Bay when the Red Sox aren't the opponent.)
The Red Sox fans are just so devoted to their team, they will go to the ends of the earth to see them. That's called "loyalty," Mr. Ford. The two championships of 2004 and 2007 just put it more into concrete. (For years, so-called experts predicted that a Red Sox title would "mellow" Sox fans to the point that the Red Sox would become "just another team." Ha.)
You want to keep Red Sox fans away? Tell the Phillies to do a better job keeping the tickets away from the opposition fans. (Pretty ludicrous idea, no?)
We're not going away, Mr. Ford. Get used to it.