Over on Andrew Hamm's blog, there's a discussion of the phenomenon of the 'New School Red Sox Fans'-- Currently (and derisively) called the 'Pink Hat Crowd' by astute members of the Boston Sports Media. This nomenclature refers to the brand-spankin' new pink hats worn by young and often hardball-disinterested ladies who simply wanted to buy a Sox hat because it's "soooo right now." They're the gals you see on TV at Fenway text messaging their gal pals and not watching the game. Obviously not all ladies are like this, and whatever anyone does at a ballgame is their business-- I just hate to see a good seat at Fenway gobbled up by someone who has no clue how lucky they are to be there in the first place.
The merch is flying off the shelves and the folks like the way it looks. But some of them can't name anyone on the team. It drives. Me. CRAZY.
The Pats fan base suffered the same phenomenon back in 1993, when the Patriots hired Bill Parcells to coach, Drafted Drew Bledsoe, and switched their helmet logo from the hilariously un-threatening 'Pat the Patriot' (The disgruntled minuteman in the three-point stance) in favor of the more aerodynamic and marketable 'Flying Elvis' logo, which I always thought looked a little bit like New Hampshire's fabled 'Old Man of the Mountain'-- which has since crumbled like the Yankee dynasty-- but I digress. The point is that everyone and their mother was now a 'lifelong, diehard Pats fan,' but most of them were made out of Phoney Baloney. (Which, Ironically, is what I eat now that I'm a Vegetarian-- so what does that make me?? Aww crap, 'philosophical conundrum alert'-- umm, I'll table that tangental thought as well...)
I remember getting into a heated argument with a guy at the Friendship Bar & Grille in Pittsfield Mass back in '93 after I walked into the bar wearing a brand-new 'Flying Elvis' Pats hat. This guy called me a 'Johhny-come-lately' and I took umbrage. This was back when I used to hit the sauce pretty hard, so it's all a little blurry... Anyway, the point is that the New England fan base is a grizzled lot, and you've got to know your stuff if you wannna hang around. I understand it, and I always say that "you've got to support your team through thick & thin." That's why I still wear my Celtics gear now & again, and I have a feeling that my boys in Green & White may actually become RELEVANT again, but I'll shut up so as not to jinx anything in that department...
Anyway, back to my main point-- this phenomenon of 'New school' Sox fans is just, well, WEIRD to me. I'm just not used to it.
On the 4th of July 2005, Jenny, Zac & I sat next to four 17-18 year olds (two Girls and Two Guys) at the Diamond for a game against the Columbus Clippers, the Yankee AAA Team. These kids were ALL decked out in their brand spanking new Red Sox t-shirts & hats. Of course, the girls had Pink Sox Hats. Then, one of the guys started talking to me about the Sox in this thick southern good-ole boy accent, and I was like "Am I in Bizarro World??" They were nice enough kids, and I was glad to have them aboard the SS RED SOX, but I couldn't help but flashback to my own ordeal, spending part of my childhood (6th-9th grade) in Pennsylvania, where all we ever got were Phillies games and the American League was, like, a RUMOR. I used to read the Box Scores of the late games two days later to quench my insatiable appetite for All Things Sox-Related. Thank goodness they made the postseason in 1986 or I would probably have never have seen them on TV all year long.
So, most people know that I've been a Sox fan as far back as I can remember, and they know that as far as I'm concerned, the Red Sox are like BREATHING. I can't remember when I wasn't a lunatic Rooter for the 'local nine' and I'm tied to them through my family my New England roots-- Heck, I even have the same BIRTHDAY as Ted Williams (August 30th). Anyway, I just thought I would post a picture to show Andrew (and everybody who knows me and my insane obsession) just exactly HOW far back me & the Sox go.
Check it out...
Scott Wichmann is an OLD SCHOOL RED SOX FAN.