Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Act Like You've Been There...

Alright Red Sox fans, listen up. Today I'm going to hand out some free advice, and I sincerely hope you listen to it. It involves YOU, of course, and the Red Sox. There is a problem that has existed in Boston since I started paying attention to such things, but especially since about when Pedro got to town. People who live in Boston, whether permanently or not, cannot handle themselves around celebrities, athletes especially. There are no bigger celebrities in Boston than Red Sox players. From April through October, the Sox ARE Boston. These guys go out and play everyday for the Red Sox, and win or lose, the city is right there with him.

Which is why I can't understand why the residents of this city can't control themselves. If a player complains of lack of privacy, leave him alone when you see him out on the town. That way he is happy, and he plays better, and the Sox win more. An unhappy Manny Ramirez hit 45 HRs and had 144 RBI...imagine what he would do if everyone left him alone? If you really think about it, its not an unreasonable request. When he leaves his place at the Ritz, Manny is in the public spotlight every single second of the day, until he returns to his room at night. That must be taxing as it is. As fans, we see these guys every single night on tv...so what if he is walking down the road? I don't like Manny because of the way he walks or looks out in public; I like him because he mashes major league pitching like potatos.

Most everyone knows that Red Sox players, namely David Wells and Manny Ramirez, do not feel comfortable in the city. The reason for this is plainly obvious; Red Sox fans are insane. True fans (like myself) are insane in a good way; I understand baseball, I love watching games, and I love the Sox. I watch almost every game, know who is good or bad, know why they are good or bad, and I appreciate the game each day, whether Ortiz ends it with a walkoff, or Foulke gives one up. But there are fans out there that don't really understand why they are Sox fans, they just claim that they are. I'm sure the originator of the famed "Yankees Suck" chant was one of those fans who just get drunk and yells when the Sox are losing. Pointless. For the record, I did engage in that chant for a brief time. That time ended when I heard the chant at an Allman Brothers concert, and shortly there after I heard the chant at a Sox-Devil Rays game. How that chant makes sense outside of Fenway during a Yankees series, I'll never know.

For the record, being in the public eye is park of being a pro athlete. Some media around here suggest that since the players are on tv, and get paid vast sums of money, that everything they endure in this city is justified. First off, baseball players get paid that much money because they are the best of the best of the best. Every year there are about 700 people on this planet who have the privelage of being paid to play baseball in the majors. The odds for those people reaching the pros were long, but they made it and excelled. Tens of millions of people play baseball each season, but only a handful ever make it. When they do they are rewarded hansomely, but their pay isn't based on anything except what they do on the field. When you intrude on someone's offtime, on their personal time, you aren't helping anything. Just because you THINK you are entitled to their time doesn't mean you are. These guys fill your summer's with memories; I don't think its too much to ask to just leave them alone.

Imagine if you were a Sox player, and you wanted to take your family out for dinner after the game to a nice restaurant. Before you even get your glass filled or order, you have been ambushed for four autographs. In between your salad and main course, you sign five more, each one intruding on time spent with your family. By the time you've finished your meal, you have spent an hour in the restaurant, but only about 40 minutes with your family. That is no way for someone to spend a meal OR time outside of their job. People need time away from their work lives, and Sox players don't get that. We, as fans, could help give that to them by having some TACT, a word many in Boston aren't familiar with.

Today's Boston Herald featured an article by Gerry Callahan about David Wells and his decision to recind his prior trade request. After a few paragraphs of typical Boston sportwriter complaining and misplaced, dreadful attempts at humor, Callahan states that Wells came back for himself, and not for any other reason. He also says that if Wells wants to eat a meal in peace he should find a restaurant in the city where he can do that. Also, he offers Wells some free words of wisdom, saying he shouldn't go bar-hopping after games and on off-days, he should just spend that time with his children. Hey Callahan, I'm handing out advice of my own today: Shut the fuck up, and stop saying stupid things. Your arguement that David Wells needs to find a place to eat where no one bothers him, as opposed to him eating wherever he wants and not having people bother him, doesn't hold any water. If a player wants to enjoy himself, thats his right. But you can say what you said because nobody wants to bother you when they see you out. You get to eat your meal in peace because your articles suck so bad nobody bothers to look at the picture of your face that accompany them.

If you see a player out in public, don't run up on them. The only humans who should approach a player on the street excitedly should be kids. If you are a grown man hounding these guys for autographs, GET A LIFE. Go get a real job and work there. Stop waiting at hotels and airports, and sneaking around town trying to get your glossy photos sign. You are officially a scumbag; Jr. Paparazzi, and must be eliminated. Furthermore, if you, as a fan, see a Sox or Pats player, why do you need their autograph? Who do you need to prove to that you saw them? Most people out there don't collect autographs, so why is the first impulse when you see someone famous to get a pen and find some paper? I saw Bill Russell, Celtic Legend, at a golf course a few years ago. I was less than 50 yards from him, and you know what I did? I said, "Damn...that's I think thats Bill Russell." The kid I was working with didn't know who Bill Russell was, unfortunately, and he not only ruined my moment, but made me mad as hell that a man from this area doesn't recognize that name. The point is, I didn't inturrupt him on the green for an autograph, I just appreciated that I was in the midst of greatness. Try enjoying that moment, it will be far more memorable that an autograph.

To sum up, there is no reason to accost a Sox player when he see him out. No need to whip out the camera, or the phone, or a pen. Just act like you've seen someone famous before. When you hit your first HR playing baseball, you are supposed to act like you've done it before so people don't think it was a fluke. If people in this town just relax and let the players be, I think it would produce better results on the field. Fenway is a magical place to see a baseball game; I can't imagine how much better it is to get down on that grass and play. But when fans act crazy, it turns players off from Boston. So if you walk by Jason Varitek in the street tomorrow, say 'Hi' in passing and tell him he played a good game. Don't stop, don't solicite autographs or hassle him for something. Just let him go on with his day; at least he'll know you appreciate him. Everyone in this town loves it when the Red Sox win. As fans, I think its time we start contributing to that cause.


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