YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Trip to the park


August 24, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

You've got to have a lot of love for your team to boo them.

Case in point: A couple Red Sox fans at Monday's Red Sox-Angels game spent most of the night berating the Sox bullpen, but when the game ended, they were among the first to cheer.

There seemed to be nothing strange about this, at least not in my mind. I found myself giving a little bit of a jeer to the Sox embattled bullpen as well. Yes, I remember the words, "Don't blow it, Beck," coming from my mouth when Rod Beck entered the game in the ninth inning. What can I say? I don't like losing.

While I did not find any of this behavior strange, my wife did. This was her first trip to see a Sox game and her first real contact with the Red Sox Nation left her a bit confused. On more than one occasion she wondered just why former Sox closer Derek Lowe was taking so much flak. I tried to explain it all to her, but she just didn't seem to get it.


Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. This was Kelly's first live Red Sox experience. Sure, she has been forced to watch the Sox on TV numerous times this year, but there is nothing quite like seeing the guys in person. Of course, the game was in Anaheim, but oh well, you have to take what you can get.

And there is nothing quite like seeing the Red Sox play the Angels in Anaheim. Despite the lack of history between the teams (there was the 1986 ALCS, but that seems to be it) there is always a unique feel in the air when you walk through the gates at Edison Field (or the "Big A" as it once was known). It always seems the Red Sox contingent dwarfs the Angel fans.

This does not surprise me. I have said before that Angels' fans are the saddest group in the world. During my trips to Anaheim to watch this storied series, I have seen it all. I have hear Mo Vaughn booed, I have heard Nomar Garciaparra get the loudest cheer of the night. I have even heard Edison Field shake with the chant of "Let's go Red Sox." My take on all this is it must really hurt to be an Angel or one of their backers.

From the moment we pulled into the Edison Field parking lot I could tell Kelly was excited. Once inside the stadium her excitement grew as we made our way toward our seats, which were next to the Sox bullpen.

When we got to our section we found it was populated mostly by Sox fans, some of whom had even taken the time to make signs to show their support for the Old Towne Team. We were surrounded by people in all sorts of Red Sox paraphernalia and I could tell that she was a bit impressed. However, her attitude was soon to change, for not everything about rooting for the Red Sox is cupcakes and brownies. No, there is a darker side to the Sox fan, and my wife was soon to learn this.

The dark cloud appeared in the form of a couple Red Sox supporters sitting directly behind the Sox' bullpen. They were two young guys, wearing plenty of Sox paraphernalia, who were curiously accompanied by a guy in an A's hat. Of course the trio was drinking plenty of beer and after an inning or two, it was obvious the alcohol was taking effect.

Former Sox closer Derek Lowe was their target and they were not cutting him any slack. (For those of you who don't know, Lowe has struggled all year deserves plenty of blame for the Sox problems.) Curiously enough, Lowe seemed more than happy to come over and talk to the two Sox fans. In fact, he spent most of his time smiling at them and laughing at their verbal jabs. It was obvious he was used to this kind of abuse.

The person who wasn't used to this was Kelly. She was shocked that people who claimed to be Red Sox fans could be so hard on one of the players. She tried to stop me when I yelled at Lowe as he was warming up late in the game. But I wasn't having any of it. After all, the Sox are in a pennant race and we certainly don't need Derek Lowe blowing another game. So she sat, a bit embarrassed, I think, as I called Lowe a couple choice names.

Luckily for all the Sox fans in attendance, Lowe never made it into the game and eventually we won. In the end, everyone walked away happy. Kelly had learned a thing or two about life as a Red Sox fan, those two fans were quite drunk and I was content with the win and the opportunity to once again here Fenway West (I mean Edison Field) rock with the chant of "Let's go Red Sox."

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles