Last Tuesday, Chris (aka the boyfriend) and I took in one of the Red Sox’s last games of the regular season. Earlier that morning, I made the call not to wear one of my Red Sox hats to the game. Now, part of this is because out of the three I own, one is a visor, and this wasn’t visor weather; another is pink, which is no longer “acceptable” to “real” Sox fans (whatever); the third is newer, a bit on the large side for me, and lacks the ponytail opening in the back.
So I decided to wear my Buffalo Bills hat to Fenway Park — two days after the Patriots decided to decimate the Bills 38-7 on their quest to become the NFL’s most annoyingly unbeatable team.
I deemed this “My Great Social Experiment.” Would I elicit sympathy or taunts? Would Red Sox fans be sober enough to notice? Do Bostonians even pay attention to football on weekdays?
When Chris came to pick me up at work before the game, and he saw me decked out in my Kapler t-shirt and Bills hat, he asked me (rightfully) what the heck I was doing. “Embarking on a social experiment,” I cheerfully pronounced as we made our way out of the office.
“What type of social experiment?”
“I want to see what people’s reactions are to the hat.”
Chris snickered. “Ask you for your address so they can send you sympathy cards.”
Undeterred, we headed over to the park. Our first reaction was in front of Marsh Chapel, when a undergrad girl called out, “Ooh, the Bills! Go Bills! I like the Bills!” Chris then did his “I’m going to walk four steps ahead of you so people don’t think we’re together” move.
My hat didn’t elicit anymore responses until we were in the park getting food and expensive beer. I sat down at a bench after procuring the beer and waiting for Chris to get out of the longer hot dog line. There was two guys and a girl across from me. The girl looked at me and said, “Hey, I’m a Bills fan too.”
“Yep. And these guys,” she gestured to the two guys flanking her, “won’t shut up about Sunday.”
“Oh, yeah,” bragged the one on her right. “Where’s JP to save you guys now?”
“Go Patriots!” drunkingly boasted the other. Then he got serious. “Really, though, it is horrible how many players they’ve lost to injury. They just have some horrible luck.” We all nodded seriously (or as seriously as two drunk guys and their getting there female companion could.) My new friends and I spent a few more minutes discussing that beer should come in Capri Sun like packages at ballparks.
And…I’d love to say I got more reactions, but I didn’t. I guess one would say that the conclusion I could come to would be that Bostonians don’t care about football on the weekdays, but I think it was the combination of beer and the similar colors of the Bills, Patriots and Red Sox. Or that I’m really so short that no one notices me. Yep, that’s probably it.
As you know, the Red Sox went on to win the American League East a few days later, and play their first Divisional series game tomorrow against the Angels of either Los Angeles, Anaheim or both. I keep flip-flopping between thinking that the local media is acting like the Sox have a direct ticket to the World Series and thinking that the sports media is strangely subdued. Channel 5 (our ABC affilate) as we speak, led their 11pm newscast with five minutes of unimportant Sox news, like who will be singing the National Anthem for Game 1 (oh gosh, The Standells are singing the national anthem! The Standells! You know, that studio band who sang a song they didn’t even write about Boston because they had never been to Boston? The song that became Boston’s anthem, despite making the town sound like the puritian but violent heck hole that it is? What a PERFECT choice! Channel 5, you amuse me.) Oh, and now, they are bashing the decision to sit Wakefield. The Channel 5 sports anchor just told us that it is “unfair” and “unfortunate.” Um, last I checked, Mr. Hollahan, you are a sports anchor, not a sports commentator, and I am looking for information, not your opinion. And anyway, had you watched any Red Sox games, you’d realise that Wakefield is old, ineffective, and should have been yanked two innings earlier than he was in any game he played this season. Look, Boston, the guy is old. In Buffalo, when guys are old, they trade them to places like Green Bay, San Diego, Washington and Miami, where they continue to have quiet, mediocre ends to their careers (Don Beebe, Steve Christie, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas, I’m looking in your directions.) So do like Ralph Wilson, and trade Wakefield already. Put him out to pasture. Let him fade gently away, until he decides to write a large print hardcover autobiography about him finding G-d especially when playing for the Packers (that time, I’m specifically looking in Don Beebe’s direction. And yes, my father owns his autobiography.) And then you still really won’t remember him all that much.
Oh, and now we’re getting the sports anchor’s Wakefield soapbox again. Hi, really, put that away.