What’s more, the material artifacts of the old brand of fandom haven’t aged well, either. The old over-the-top vitriol — “Jeter sucks, A-Rod swallows,” etc. — was tolerable because everyone knew it was a coping mechanism; it was all we had. Now, however, Boston is to sports cities what the Yankees used to be to baseball: we win, again and again and again, to an extent that makes us the focus of sports envy for the entire rest of the country.
The challenge, for Boston fans, is crafting a new identity that does justice to our status as the Chosen People of Sports. This is partially a matter of cultivating new habits of thought — for example, toning down the neurosis if the Celtics lose consecutive games or the Sox struggle in spring training. But it’s also a matter of showing a different face to the rest of the world — which will loathe us even more, and rightfully so, if we keep acting like we just watched the ball roll through Bill Buckner’s legs.
So allow me to make two modest proposals. First, when next the Dodgers visit Fenway Park (though it won’t be in 2008), the fans should give Joe Torre a standing ovation. (Imagine how ESPN would play this! And imagine the look on Steinbrenner’s face!) On April 11, though, when the Yankees come to town, and Alex Rodriguez steps up for his first Fenway at-bat of 2008, the crowd should greet him with . . . silence. What better way, really, to acknowledge just how much things have changed?
: News Features
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