As a Blue Jays fan it is in my blood to cheer against certain teams. The Yankees, of course, are a no -brainer. Same with the Red Sox, the Orioles, and the Rays. Back in the days before the Wild Card, teams like the Tigers, Indians, and Brewers all received equal amounts of dislike due to their residency in the AL East.
But times have changed.
Detroit and Cleveland have switched divisions and Milwaukee has switched leagues. It really is impossible to hate Baltimore because they seem to hate themselves so much already, with year after year of pathetic performance on the field. I have a hard time hating Tampa, mainly because they are disrespected so much every year, by free agents, by other teams, and even by their own fans.
The Yankees, as always, are hated. Everything about the team and their fans, especially when they make their way to Toronto, is appalling.
But now even the Yankees and their fans pale in comparison to the Red Sox.
It wasn’t always this way.
I used to actually enjoy when Boston came to town, back in the days before they won the World Series. Their teams were full of crazy characters, lead by Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, and Pedro Martinez. They were fun to watch. And what made the games even more entertaining was the fans who would flood into Toronto. Compared to New York fans, Boston fans were incredible. They were intelligent. They knew baseball. You could sit back, watch the game with them, and have a conversation. When the game was done, no matter what team won, many would look back at me, say “Good game”, shake my hand, and then leave. Sometimes groups of us would even go grab beers after a game.
With Yankees fans, that was impossible – they were too arrogant, too obnoxious. Their team was better than yours, hands down. If somehow Toronto won, it was a fluke. They would constantly be yelling at fans to taunt them, shouting out the years that
they won the World Series as if that would terrify us. They were terrible human beings.
But then, in 2004, it all started to change. Before the Red Soxwon the World Series that year, their fans were humble. They were polite. They had 86 years of futility and heartbreak ingrained in their psyche’s, something that seemed to prevent them from getting carried away like NY fans. Even though their teams would make the playoffs, you wouldn’t be put off by a Red Sox fan. They were nice, fairly quiet, and reserved.
Then they won the World Series.
I’ll admit it – I was actually rooting for Boston that year. Their comeback from an 0-3 deficit against the Yanks in the ALCS was stirring theatre. I was on the verge of calling in sick to work and taking a last minute flight to Boston just to be there when the final out was recorded and the years of heartbreak erased. I figured it would have been an enormous party, probably on the same scale if the Cubs were to win, or God forbid the Leafs were to win the Stanley Cup.
But I didn’t. Boston wasn’t my team. Their fans should enjoy the moment.
In 2005, the fans once again flooded into Toronto to wach their team play the Jays. The fans were suddenly a little bit louder, a little bit more annoying. The humble-ness and reservation that had been a part of them in years past was muted. But they were still tolerable, and a world apart from Yankees fans.
Then came 2007, and another Boston championship. That’s when it all went to hell.
From 2008 onwards, Boston Red Sox fans have become worse than Yankees fans. They are arrogant. They are obnoxoius. They are loud, annoying, and rude. They are intolerable. They walk around the city streets and the Rogers Centre with a sense of entitlement that both they and their team deserve to win. They own baseball now, and anything less than a World Series title is a failure. A regular season series against Toronto is no longer a chance for Boston residents to travel to our great city for a few days and enjoy a few games in a foreign stadium with friendly Canadians. No, it is now a chance to invade the stadium, make sure they are louder than Jays fans, belittle those who try to taunt back, and do everythng they can to piss down our throats.
Boston fans always took pride that they did things in a completely opposite manner than the Yankees. Their teams were put together from the ground up, with homegrown talent instead of high priced free agents. But in recent years the Red Sox have bought players at a more ridiculous clip than New York. How else does one explain Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, J.D. Drew, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Marco Scutaro among others? They also prided themselves that their players weren’t prima donna’s like the Yankees. “You won’t see a Jeter or an A-Rod on our teams!” Yet whiny, bad tempered, and diva-like weasels like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and especially Jonathan Papelbon seem worse than the Posada’s and Swisher’s of the Evil Empire.
Of course, this does not mean that all players are idiots. Adrian Gonzalez is a well respected All-Star. Jason Varitek is a grizzled veteran who would fit on many teams. Manager Terry Francona is a calm and collected intelligent man.
And of course, this also does not mean to paint ALL Red Sox fans as thugs. In their first trip to Toronto this season I sat behind a young couple decked out in jerseys who seemed utterly embarrassed at the behaviour of their fellow Massachussets natives.
But at the end of the day, there is one thing that really sticks out and seems funny to me:
Red Sox fans have always stressed that they are different from Yankees fans in every way possible.
And now they are – they’re worse.