Don’t hate me because they win

Don’t hate me because they win

To the rest of the sporting world: I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that Boston sports fans are no longer the lovable sad sacks that you could take great joy in pouring your pity on. I’m sorry our teams have found success and have been better than your teams. But hey, if you want fans you can take pity on, there’s always Chicago. (I kid, I kid.)

I’ve seen several articles and blog entries like this one from the Boston Herald that report an ever-increasing disdain and hatred of Boston sports fans by fans from other parts of the country because of the success of Boston sports teams, like the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston College Eagles, and presumably the revitalized Boston Celtics. (Sorry Bruins fan; no hope for you yet.)

Apparently when our local teams were always losing, our collective anguish made for good feelings out there in the sporting world. You could even call it schadenfreude. But now, emotions have turned, as evidenced by this Sports Illustrated column quoted in the article above.

Enjoy it all, Boston, but understand that the rest of the sporting world is getting a little tired of your act,” Taylor wrote yesterday in his column. “Winning all the time gets on people’s nerves, especially when so many other fans would kill for a fraction of your recent success.”

Is this really what we’ve come to? It’s not enough to be a fan, but now you have to be an anti-fan? Team rivalries I can understand. If Yankee fans hate the Red Sox or Jets fan hate the Patriots, that I get. (Although I saw on Jets fan blog recently that was full of vitriol and hate, I can’t even link it for the terrible language; Dude, take some Xanax and get some perspective.) But why should, say, an Arizona Cardinals fan hate the Pats just because the Pats have won three Super Bowls in the past six years?

To my mind, it’s even worse when a Steelers or Cowboys fan is in the same “the Pats are too successful” mindset because it wasn’t long ago that their own teams had such success.

Maybe if the players were boastful–I’m thinking of some of the players on the 2001 St. Louis Rams–that would be just cause, but have any the Patriots or Red Sox been boasting?

Incidentally, I’m just as sick of Ben Affleck and his ubiquitous Red Sox cap and box seats as they are. Really, what has the guy done to deserve the attention but have a series of disastrous relationships and a series of box-office bombs? Can he just go away?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • (Sorry Bruins fan; no hope for you yet.)

    I’m with you, Dom, except for the above.  You have clearly not been tuned in to this year’s team.

  • Isn’t this attitude toward Boston the same attitude Boston used to show toward the long-successful Yankees and their fans?

  • Dear Fr. Jim,

    As a Buffalo fan, I remember the days that, like the script we knew, Buffalo and Boston would meet in the playoffs’ first round, only for Boston (with the likes of R. Bourque) to have more games and Buffalo to hit the links early.  Now, Buffalo might make the playoffs or it might not.  Boston does seem to have a better team.

    It makes for great hockey, eh?

  • Andrew – one of the best hockey games I’ve ever attended was a 7th game win over the Buffalo Sabres.  It was incredibly well-played and went into overtime.  I was sitting in about the sixth row of the balcony at the old Garden, and right below me, after a series of shots on Buffalo’s goal, the puck drifted back (as if in slow motion) to Brad Park at the point.  At that point near the end of his glorious career, Park slapped it through a maze of players in the crease and it went in.  The SRO crowd went crazy and spilled out onto Causeway Street in a screaming, giddy euphoria.

    THAT was hockey!

  • I don’t know if “boastful” is the right word, but I think the rest of the country perceives a certain degree of arrogance from some of the central people in the Red Sox/Patriots axis.  Obviously Manny Ramirez is the number one culprit.  When people see him standing and admiring his homeruns, and then flipping his bat toward the dugout, that’s a big turn off.  And the whole “Manny’s just being Manny” line sounds like an indulgent excuse.  Now Pedroia is doing the bat flip too.  Plus Schilling usually sounds pompous and arrogant.

    On the other hand, Bill Belichick is walking out of news conferences and refusing to answer questions about the videotaping, and then there’s Charlie Weis’ line about “we will have a decided schematic advantage in every game” after he got to Notre Dame.  It makes the Pats coaches look like they think they are above the law because they are such super geniuses.

  • Dom says:

    If the Cubs ever win it all, they can expect the same treatment.

    Doubtful. Chicago fans are a different breed, myself being one of them. If we won the Series, there’d be a different attitude. We’d remember that for years and years, we were terrible.

    In talking with some of the guys here at the seminary, the problem with Boston is that they won one championship and now the fans walk with a kind of swagger, like they’ve put together a phenomenal dynasty. In short, we detect a certain level of obnoxiousness that may or may not have existed before the World Series victory a couple of years ago. And it’s not endearing. It’s like Yankees fans, without the long resume to back things up.

    Of course, it’s refreshing to see Red Sox fans like yourself who don’t perpetuate this stereotype.

  • I don’t mean the Chicago fans will act different, it’s that others will perceive them to act different. Just like you do with Sox fans.

    I don’t see my fellow fans walking with a “swagger”. What I see is a lack of the anxiousness and desperation and despair they often exhibited with the inevitable September swoon. They’ve been so lacking in hope for so long that the normal confidence of a hopeful fan is seen as swagger.

    And it’s important not to make judgments that are too sweeping: There are obnoxious fans in every team’s wake.

  • Dom—

    I know it’s not over yet—and I don’t like to take things for granted—but whatever happens in game 4, you really can’t say enough about the Sox’ ability to evaluate young talent . . . Ellsbury and Pedroia are, so far anyway, co-MVPs of this series.  Youkilis is still quite young, as are Lester, Papelbon, Bucholz, and Delcarmen. 

    And Terry Francona is a great leader. 

    Go Sox (and Pats, and B’s and Celts, and [reluctantly as an HC alum] Eagles)!!

  • Dom,

    You forget to mention that the Revolution are in the playoffs for the 6th consecutive year.  grin

  • there’s always Chicago. (I kid, I kid.)

    Ha.  Ha.

    Well, that’s about as funny as a Boston fan would have found a similar comment before 2004. Or, it might be funnier in January or February, but, you know, it’s still October. Wounds are still raw.

    In that spirit, let me just say that I hope that Boston grinds the Rockies into the dirt in Game 4.

    Ah, Christian charity and good sportsmanship. I know, I know. oh oh

    However, I certainly don’t resent Boston’s happiness. You all suffered enough with the Curse of the Bambino; let’s admit, some really strange things happened in tight games. You never know what next season will bring, or if there will be a next season (ask Joe Torre), so you might as well enjoy it.

    P.S. Is Coco Crisp not like one of the best athlete’s names ever or what? General Mills seriously needs to get that guy a cereal endorsement.

  • Growing up in upstate NY, I never like NY City teams because my perception was that their fans were loud and obnoxious.

    Today, I only pay passive attention to PROFESSIONAL sports (lost interest in the NBA long long ago and over the past few years stopped watching the NFL), and when I do watch I usually cheer for the underdog.

  • I don’t think Coach Belichik is earning any “Good Sportsmanship Award” points with his scores—witness today’s 52-7 shellacking. wink

  • Last I heard football games are 60 minutes and this is the big leagues. Can the Patriots help it if the Redskins are so bad they can’t even stop the second-string quarterback from bootlegging it in?

  • Similar to the disdain Europeans/Canadians have for Americans? I detect poorly disguised jealousy.

    Having winning sports teams makes it almost bearable to live in this state! I love the geographical area but Mass is a liberal cesspool.

  • I think the going for it twice on 4th down was a tad (and I’m being much kinder than professional sportswriters, even those who admire the team).

  • As a MA resident, I often feel embarrassed by the conduct of our fans. A lot of it is college kids who aren’t even from the area, but we have our share of jerks. I hate it when I hear the Fenway fans taunting the pitcher, and I really hated seeing some Sox players encouraging it when they taped Lily’s name on the backs of their jackets a few years ago. (I don’t remember when, but Lou Merloni was one of the players.)

    I really hate the wave, and on the few occasions when I got to see a game, I hated being interrupted by people following like sheep, just so some kid can say, “Dude, didja see the wave in the 6th inning? That was us, dude!”  Then there’s the “Yankees ****!” chant, that emerges even at times like the Patriots parades. That’s disrespectful of the Pats. I’m no killjoy, but sometimes I just don’t have patience for jerks.

    As for the Pats, they get so many points so early, it would be ridiculous, unsportsmanlike, and insulting NOT to try hard.  An NFL touchdown means something. Was Cassel supposed to just run out of bounds in one of the few chances he’ll get to play in a real NFL game? What about that backup running back, whose name begins with a K?  I’ll bet he won’t last too long with the Pats, and he’ll need to find another team.  Was he supposed to give up the opportunity to score a touchdown?

    I remember once when I was playing soccer and my team was far superior. The score was more like a baseball score, and we became nonchalant about goals.  We didn’t mean to be, and I at least didn’t want to rub it in, but our coach had to tell us to get excited and at least high five after we scored.  It didn’t occur to us that we were insulting the other team by being nonchalant.

  • I’m pretty OK with the behaviour of the fans at Fenway—they’re fine/respectful of teams like the Rockies and Cleveland – it’s the Yankees thing that brings out the questionable actions but the same could be said when Boston is at NY as well.

    What is absolutely disgusting are the morons in the streets – like last night – all the goofy college kids acting like barbarians, the many arrests, the need for huge police presence. Lemmings, most of whom aren’t even from Boston. I shrudder to think of what it would have been had Boston won at Fenway. Utter chaos.

    I would be so angry if I ever saw my kids act in such an irresponsible and immature way.

  • Well, I was born and raised in Boston and have always been and will always be a huge Sox fan. I don’t like the Yankees, and blind prejudice is only one of the reasons (respect for Joe Torre, though…he deserves better treatment). I also do take umbrage with the lemmings who go to Boston and use the games to get drunk and act like stupid frat kids. A little vulgarity is only to be expected at any sporting event but criminal behavior is another matter. Boston fans are not the only fans guilty of it.

    On a happier note, I was a super-senior in college when they won in 2004, and the genuine happiness and Boston love in the air at my Washington DC university was palpable. Except for the kids from NY. You almost felt sorry for them.


  • Up front: I grew up in New York, was a passionate Yankees fan in my youth, and remain a tepid Yankees fan now (what can I say- I’m not a kid any more, so Jeter and Pettitte just don’t mean as much to me as Guidry and Munson used to).

    I recall how much fun it was to chant “Boston S—-s” back in 1978, so I don’t begrudge fans in other cities the fun of hating my team. I just wish that Boston fans would admit they don’t occupy any kind of moral high ground.

    The Red Sox ARE the Yankees! The Red Sox embody everything their fans USED to claim they hated about the Yankees. The fans who used to look down on Steinbrenner for picking up high priced free agents (instead of “doing it the right way” with home grown players) don’t seem to mind that Epstein and Lucchino have done exactly what Steinbrenner always did.

    The Red Sox are a superb team- but then a team with a $150 million payroll SHOULD be good! Yes, this year Epstein beat Steinbrenner at his own game, and he certainly got much better value for his money than Steinbrenner did (overspending for Josh Beckett makes a lot more sense than overspending for Carl Pavano!). And Red Sox fans are entitled to gloat a bit (I imagine thney’ll be chantinmg “2000, 2000, 2000!” ere long).

    I just wish Sox fans would admit they’re cheering for a rich conglomerate like the Yankees, and NOT for “happy idiots” or “gritty little underdogs.”


    As for the Patriots… look, I’ve been a Giants fan for years, and always knew Belichick was the smartest X’s and O’s man in the game (I still can’t figure how Ray Handley got the Giants head coaching job over Belichick).

    But again, I wish Boston fans would recognize, they do NOT occupy moral high ground! Despite the fawning press the Patriots receive, they haven’t “done things the right way.” They have steroid/HGH abusers (Rodney Harrison), showboaters (Randy Moss), and a cheating head coach. That doesn’t make them evil, but it DOES make it ludicrous to suggest they’re a model franchise worthy of admiration.

  • Dear Dale,

    I would imagine that if the N.E. Revolution won their trophy, you’d be asking the same question.

    The Bruins are the only real team in Boston.  Then again, I am a hockey fan!