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.
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!)
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.
(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?
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.
In 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.
The 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.
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!
Mark Newman (http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com) wrote an interesting article about love and hate in the greatest game ever played. I suggest you read it and read my response to it below:
I hate the Boston Red Sox. I hate their fans. I hate the attitudes. I
hated their stupid hair cuts. I hate looking at Kevin Youkalis’ ugly
face. I hate Dustin Pedroia.
I hate Josh Beckett. I have EXTRA hate for
him. Not only is he on the rotten Red Sox, but he helped to steal the
2003 World Series from my beloved Yankees. The only thing he did right
was go to the Sox — so I can hate him even more.
I don’t care how
clutch the Sox are. I don’t care how extremely talented they are.
They’re ugly. They’re stupid. I hate them.
I hate that Yankee games broadcast on ESPN are blacked out due to YES.
I hate my cable company in Northeastern PA for not carrying YES. I can
watch every Buckos game, I can watch every Phillies game. I can catch
what seems to be every freaking game but home Yankee games not carried
on My9. I hate going to my brother’s house to watch a home game on YES
that isn’t there because it is broadcast on My9. He doesn’t get My9. I
I hate the National League. Pitchers aren’t supposed to bat. I don’t
care how good D-Train was at it or how cool it was to watch him slap
homers over the fence. It’s stupid. Get a DH. Platoon your outfielders.
Quit being in the stone age NLers. It’s like the pansy Western
Conference in Hockey. It’s not brutal enough.
I hate hearing the
whiners and haters whine and hate on the Yankees. Your jealousy is a
I hate when people say “We won” and “They lost” when
referring to their favorite teams. If you aren’t on the team, win or
lose, you aren’t on the team at all.
I hate Josh Beckett. Did I say
that yet? He’s evil. I wish he was a terrible pitcher so I didn’t have to hate him. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but somehow that makes me hate him even more. The idea of him being charitable makes me angry. I feel like he should be a jerk so that other people would hate him instead of just me.
I hate Sports Illustrated. I hate their post championship commercials where you can have a stupid DVD with your subscription featuring the eventual winner of the World Series, the Superbowl, The Stanley Cup, or Basketball’s unnamed championship. I hate that basketball doesn’t have a cool championship name.
I hate the Giants. I hate their stadium. I hate that home run balls fly into the water. I hate the stupid fans with their stupid canoes waiting for Bonds (when he was there) to crank another one out of the park.
I hate ballparks that are built for home run derbys. I hate ballparks built for pitchers to diminish home runs too. I hate the Green Monster. I hate that the Cathedral wasn’t good enough and some idiot decided to tear down Yankee Stadium. What the deuce?
I hate people who whine about salary caps. Salary caps will fix nothing. While we are being unrealistic with our salary demands on players lets actually look at a system fair to players and owners alike — flat rate salaries based upon years of service with incentive bonuses. Everyone gets a fair shake across the board. I hate salary caps.
I hate 7 game playoff series. Divisional round should be three games. League round should be five games. World Series should be seven games. I hate the Cubs. Scratch that. I hate Chicago baseball teams. I even hate Chicago. What kind of name is “The Windy City” anyway? That’s dumb.
You know what else is dumb? Teams from California. Quit crying, you have sunshine all year long. Come endure a Pennsylvania winter. Then you can complain to me. We have to bundle up for games in the late fall. You wear shorts.
I hate free agency and the lack of loyalty. Why can’t players come up through the system and fight for a spot on their team? My team is one of the worst offenders too! I hate when players slack off until contract years.
I hate that Don Mattingly isn’t good enough to get in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Mattingly deserve to be there. I hate that Roger Maris had an asterisk for his record just because of the different amounts of games played. I hate the record books.
I hate when small market team owners fail to put more resources into their teams. It’s not my fault The Boss made his money in the shipping industry and his Yankees are a side project that he loves. I wish Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, etc were given that amount of love from their owners. Let Mark Cuban buy one of these teams. He’ll dump resources into it, even if he goes broke doing it.
I hate reading about steroids. I want to read about baseball. I want to read about spring training. I want to read about prospects snaking their way up through the ranks. I hate only hearing rumors and accusations.
I hate that A-Rod doesn’t even know what he tested positive for. I hate that Selena Roberts is being given so much credibility when her magical sources are still unnamed. I hate that everyone jumped on the ‘A-Roid’ bandwagon without even an ounce of credible evidence. I hate that he was guilty before he even had a chance to defend himself. I hate the idea of records being erased. I hate the discussion about suspensions for anonymous drug tests that where the basis of baseball recognizing it had a drug problem and coming clean through it. I hate witch hunts. I hate irresponsible journalism. I hate when people break big news just weeks before they are to release a book about the target of their hear-say.
I hate when people leave comments on MLB.com’s news pages thinking that they are on the team website only. Hey morons, those news articles run on feeds that are displayed on relevant team pages as well as the MLB website. My comments about how evil Josh Beckett is and how stupid the Nation is aren’t posted only the Red Sox site — they are posted on all of the MLB. I can access your stories from the Yankee’s page.
Do you know what else I hate? I hate how almost every blog I wrote with
off season predictions ended up being wrong. My expectations,
apparently, were too low. I hate being wrong. I hate typos too. I hate Josh Beckett and
being wrong and making typos. I also hate Bobby Abreu no longer being in Pinstripes. Mostly, I hate Josh Beckett.
But I love baseball. These are the best months of the year. I love this
hate. It’s a healthy hate. It makes the love that much sweeter. Thank
you for reminding me to hate. I feel good getting this hate out from off my chest.
Screw Christmas. Baseball season is the most wonderful time of the year.
Major League Baseball.
I live for this.