Thursday, October 21, 2004

A Nation Divided

Why do the Red Sox get a "nation" rooting for them? Go to any big American city outside New England and you'll see at least as many New York caps than Boston ones -- so why no "Yankees Nation"? Surely there's a substantial Chicago diaspora spreading out across this great land, yet you never hear of "Cubs Nation." And God forbid such nonentities as the Royals' and Rockies' fan bases be granted nation status.

Indeed, there's something uncomfortably elitist, and a little un-American, about Boston's die-hards referring to themselves as Red Sox Nation. It's yet another way of setting themselves apart from the rest of us mere baseball fans, like the annoying and indefensible bemoaning of sporting woe simply because the Red Sox haven't won a World Series since, what, 1918, right? (You'd think I'd remember the year more clearly, what with Joe Buck having it scrawled in Sharpie across his forehead and all.)

Yes, I've fallen for the Sox, especially after that kidney punch to the Yankees last night, but the way their fans -- with an enormous assist from such writers as Bill Simmons and Peter Gammons -- set their suffering apart as something special and unique is annoying.

Philadelphians, of course, wouldn't know elitism if it walked up behind us and clobbered us with a Louisville Slugger; we're far too insecure to refer to ourselves in such noble and self-obsessed terms. And, well, we don't tend to go anywhere. No, we're notoriously parochial, and much more likely to remain close to home base.

"Phillies Nation"? I don't think so. More like the Phillies City-State.

13 Comments:

At October 21, 2004 at 7:50 PM, Blogger gr said...

an elitist cabal of new englanders? who'd a thunk it? imagine if the astros advance and clemens beats them in game 7.

baseball without the curse of babe ruth is not baseball.

 
At October 22, 2004 at 8:35 AM, Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Great piece, Tom. Absolutely on the mark.

 
At October 22, 2004 at 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think that you would get a Phillies City-State? More like, maybe, a Phillies City I think, but then, it might depend on who the Phillies are playing. DSJC

 
At October 22, 2004 at 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention -- Terry Francona, Curt Schilling, and Scott Rolen all in the World Series. DSJC

 
At October 22, 2004 at 11:14 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Hey, don't forget Marlon Anderson!

 
At October 22, 2004 at 8:35 PM, Blogger Tom G. said...

So either way, a Phillie is going to win the W.S.

 
At October 24, 2004 at 8:19 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

New Englanders elitist? No way! (SARCASM ALERT!) A bunch of crybaby, wine-sipping, Martha's Vineyard vacationing, Hah-vahd Yahd sitting snobs have nothing on the good citizens of St. Louis (especially EAST St. Louis, where Escape from New York was filmed, because it was so run down). I despise Scott Rolen, but I despise Curt Schilling and Ben Affleck much, much more - can Fox show his smug look any more times in one evening? - so I am pulling for the Cards.

 
At October 25, 2004 at 6:21 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Where will the Red Sox be next year if they win the World Series?

What I mean is, if Charlie Brown finally DOES kick the football without Lucy pulling it away, what sort of "loser legacy" will be left?

 
At October 27, 2004 at 4:07 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Right on. And is there anything worse than seeing Yankee caps at your park (Camden Yards, in my case), when the Yankees aren't playing? I wish Yankee nation would secede...

 
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