It Just Feels Dirty…

We all have that team we hate.

There is the division rival that we play against about a billion times every year. The team that has kept us from from going to the playoffs. The team who’s fans are so self righteous and obnoxious, they make you just want to go outside and punch a squirrel.antisoxpropagandaforkids.jpg

For me and every other living, breathing, All-American, Yankees fan we have “them bums from Beantown,” the Boston Red Sox. We hate them first, and everyone else (especially the Mets) second.

But with all the negativity floating around the MLBlogiverse, we must ask ourselves — “is there a silver lining on those teams we hate?”

I recently replied in a comment to GirlyBaseballChick‘s recent blog entry “Hate is Not a Strong Word” about the five players we hate most. It wasn’t too difficult to find 5 players who make me angry. I am an easily angered fellah’.

Anyone who reads this column regularly (and hopefully there are some first time visitors here today) can probably deduce most of my list. For those who are unaware, I’ll give you a quick look at my Stink-O List. (For reasons why, go visit her page after leaving me a comment here!)

joshbeckettdoodiehead.jpg5. John Rocker (Atlanta Braves – Now Retired)
4. Kevin Youkalis (Boston Red sox)
3. Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)
2. Jonathon Papelbon (Boston Red Sox)
1. Josh F$&#!&% Beckett (Boston Red Sox)

Another MLBlogger (well, frequent commenter), levelboss, pointed out to me the obvious bias of my list. I cannot disagree with him. It is pretty heavily weighted against those obnoxious New Englanders (I hate their football team too. Yup, I said it.).

It made me wonder, is there anything — anyone — actually redeeming about my heated rivals?

I mean, there are players I can tolerate. Even team manager Terry Francona has my respect. I can tolerate him. I don’t mind JD Drew or Mike Lowell. I was glad to see Varitek resign with those bums. He belongs there.

I don’t even have a beef with Dice-K — not yet at least.

I’m pretty impartial against newcoming fogies John Smoltz or the oft injured Brad Penny. The Braves never really had my support, but when it comes to Smoltz and Glavine and that terrific pitching staff they had during their dominant mid-nineties, I can give them their due respect.

95braveschamps.jpg

johnrockerisamoron.jpg(Except John Rocker. No offense, but the guy is a moron.)

But are there any players on Boston that I can possibly say that I, *GULP*, LIKE?

Three.

What?

Three.

Three WHAT?

I’ll give you THREE Boston Players I not only respect, but actually LIKE.

(Take a second and regain your composure Julia. I’m writing a blog about your Sox, and I’m being NICE!)

Without further adieu, in no particular order, the three members of the Boston Red Sox that I will stand and applaud for.

ellsbury.JPGIn a sport that has overcome the diversity barriers of many races, and is dominated by good baseball players of various skin tones, dialects, and countries of origin, there is one group still a minority. It is not because of that, that I will cheer for JACOBY ELLSBURY, but because he does not exploit his heritage to draw extra attention upon himself.

He IS a little thief, though. He steals bases as easily as John Rocker says something stupid. He is quick, hard working, and humble. So far.

Humility goes a long way with me.

Finally, he looks like as kid having fun playing baseball. How can you hate kids?

I spent a week last summer in the Dominican Republic. I wish I could tell you I was with some sort of social justice group, or a missionary  team, but I was vacationing at a resort. I did spend a good deal of time outside of the walls of our protected little area, though.

papi.jpgThe people of the DR LOVE their BIG PAPI. I can’t blame them. He seems like one heck of a guy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has fun playing the game. He respects the game. He is extremely patriotic. He loves his people.

Looking at his early career, he should have never become the giant he is today. Injuries and inconsistencies held him down for years, but David Ortiz never let himself get down.

Papi was picked up by the Red Sox with a minor league deal in late 2002. The Twins shopped him around, but no one wanted him. If only the Yankees knew, the Giambi debacle could have been avoided. The Red Sox debacle could have been avoided. The curse would still live.

But no one is psychic.

It was luck that brought Papi to the 1B/DH role in Boston. It was luck that they brought him up when they did. He has become a leader and an icon in Boston. When he goes to the Hall of Fame, he will do so with a stupid B on his hat.

It wouldn’t happen any other way.

But there is one player I admire, respect, sometimes fear, and will cheer for every few days that I see his goofy face.

wakefieldhuntin.jpgThat gosh darned knuckle ballin’ hick, TIM WAKEFIELD.

Since that strike in 1994, Tim Wakefield has been a member of the Boston Red Sox. He has seen everything through his weathered eyes. He has experienced the ups and downs of Beantown baseball. He has watched players come and go. I’m sure he was glad when battery mate Roger Clemens walked out of his life.

What I like most about the knucklehead is his contract situation. Wanna talk selfless?

On April 19, 2005
Wakefield agreed to a $4 million, one-year “rolling” contract extension
that gives the Red Sox the ability to keep their longest-tenured player
for the rest of his career. He has no negotiating to worry about. He has no “testing the free agent waters.” As long as he wants to play, and Boston wants him playing — he’s there.

He is also widely regarded as one of MLB’s most charitable players. He’s a simple man with a big heart and a scary freakin’ pitch.

If you can’t root for a guy like that, who CAN you root for?

If Wakefield ever decided to retire, I hope his last game he can play in camo. I think it would be fitting for the knuckleballer to go out like that.

But don’t be fooled. The bad in Beantown outweighs the good. I’m not getting soft. These guys are going down like … well, I’ll save you from that one. But they’re going to eat it this year.

The Bronx is Burning!

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16 comments

  1. levelboss

    funny post, Rosh.. well done

    the post got me thinking if there was any – ANY – Red Sox player that i might actually like.. and the answer became yes – Manny Ramirez! (though it doesn’t count now as he is not with Boston any more).. i found Manny to be very funny – from his antics to his childish grandstanding after hitting a homerun (i remember him rolling around in left field after having missed a catch last year.. hilarious!)..
    it’s weird but i found him a character and not in the same category of sports-hate as with other players like Papelbon, Youkilis, or Beckett (‘sports-hate’ meaning ‘within the context of the game and not personally)
    as far as the current Red Sox players, here’s my list o ‘irritating’..
    – Papelbon’s glare trying to stare down batters
    – Dice-K’s wind-up waggle
    – Youkilis’ bouncey-scary-face batting stance
    – Ortiz’ spit-clap when at bat
    – when Boston fans throw the ball back onto the field only when a Yankee hits one into the stands (junior high school antics!)

  2. roshkoch

    If it weren’t for his offense working towards the enemy, I would have always loved Manny. He became one of my favorites after moving to my favorite NL West team. I just don’t want Manny being Manny in the Bronx. EVER.

  3. Jane Heller

    I’d put all your likable Red Sox in my likable category too, Rosh. And I’d add Jon Lester. Jason Bay seems like a decent guy, although he’s still fairly new to the rivalry. Lowell is the one I respect the most after watching him play hurt last year. Gutsy guy.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  4. roundrock15

    To not like Tim Wakefield is to not like baseball.

    I wonder if I could come up with three North Siders that I like. Begrudgingly respect, yes. Like? That’s tough…

  5. hammerfall

    As a Red Sox fan, I don’t really hate the Yankees. The only players I really loath are the ones that have been designated (rightfully) as Red Sox “killers”. Hideki Matsui comes to mind. It seems no matter how big of a slump he’s in coming in to a Sox/Yanks series he always dominates us for three straight days.

    Vernon Wells consistently beats up on Boston. Frank Thomas has made Tim Wakefield his personal homerun derby practice partner. “King” Felix Hernandez mows down Boston batters faster than Forest Gump can trim his lawn. It’s ridiculous.

    There are some Yankees players I like. Derek Jeter, for one. I was sort of apathetic to Jeter until that ridiculous tumble he took going after a foul ball (not to mention making the catch).

    And there are players I don’t like. I hate Curt Schilling. His opinions mean nothing to me, or America. Josh Beckett’s agonizing pace on the mound is really frustrating. JD Drew has no capacity to play hurt, and would kick so much tail if he would just stay in it.

  6. bosoxrockx

    well i am one of the enemy (:
    but i totally agree with what you said. As much as I hate the yanks, I like Jeter, CC, Rivera, and Roger Clemens (ok, so he’s retired, he did roids and sh!t, i still like him, dont know why) even though I was too young to remember when he played for the sox.

  7. mknu13

    As a (White) Sox man, maybe my situation is a little different with the Cubs. They only affect my team six games a year, and I don’t have to worry about them competing in the standings. I think I might even like the Cubs if not for the psychotic fans who cry when their team is eliminated, then get obnoxiously giddy at the first free agent signing, with the promise of winning the World Series “next year”. They defend themselves with a “friendly neighborhood”, “capacity crowds”, and “ivy”. The seats where you can actually see the game are filled by yuppies on their phones with their backs turned to the game. So yeah, as far as fans go I totally feel your pain.

    And feel no shame in liking those three players. They just wear the wrong color Sox.

  8. chaday21

    I also don’t like the Red Sox, but I hate the Cubs even more! I hate when I go to a Cardinals Cubs game and Cubs fans are bragging everytime they score a run. They talk so much crap and they haven’t won a World Series in over a hundred years! Idiots!

  9. Brian Legentil

    It’s easy to hate on Red Sox players as Yankee fans but none of them have done anything comparable John Rocker’s overall atrocious demeanor and personality. Deserves to be banned from baseball a lot more than Pete Rose. I guess I find racism more deplorable than gambling. Oh yeah, as for Red Sox players I like: Kevin Youk and Dustin Pedroia, they play very hard and very well and I like that about them, even facing the Yanks

    -Brian
    http://legentil.mlblogs.com

  10. girlybaseballchick

    That was such a good blog I loved it. And I appreciate the shout out! I hate the Red Sox organization, I hate their fans most of all. But your list is a good one of the things that are actually right with them. I don’t see how people hate Big Papi. I think people hate him because he is so good. And man o man that Wakefield. On my EA Sports Baseball Game he is unbeatable hehe. I really paid attention to him after I played against him in a video game. I was like WTF this guy can’t pitch like that for real and I was like crap that guy really does pitch like that. I also like Francona. AND I HATE THE PATRIOTS WITH A PASSION…WHOEVER MADE TOM BRADY A HEARTHROB IS A BLIND IDIOT!

    But I differ in regards to John Rocker. I think what he has said is his right to say and some of it was relatively accurate. However, he is an idiot for actually talking about it to the extent that he did. He may have had a better career if he could have just kept his mouth shut. And even though some of what he said I feel has some validity he could have said it in a way that explains how he feels without people hating him. It’s called having a lack of intelligence. He just didn’t know how to verbally express his feelings without it sounding like complete verbal vomit. He’s an idiot in regards to not knowing how to express his feelings in a way people will listen so they understand he’s not a racist. I don’t believe he hates anyone but people should speak english in this country, and they can do that while still staying true to their culture. It’s a shame that his part in baseball history, will be that of a biggot, idiot, and a racist. If only we cared more about the game than personal lives.

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