Do it for Donnie
> I was at the Big A about four or five years back, enjoying a good baseball game against the Red Sox, when a commotion in the rich-people seats behind home plate caught my eye. There, surrounded by unamused Angel fans, stood a classic Red Sox fan -- about 6 foot, 240 pounds, pasty-faced, Kevin Youkilis-style goatee, Nomar jersey, and a Sam Adams (we can safely assume) in his left paw. With his right, over and over again, he pantomimed shooting himself in the head, while screaming: "BOOM! Donnie Moore! BOOM! Donnie Moore! BOOM! Donnie Moore!"
It is probably somewhat unfair to say that Red Sox fans are the worst sub-species of human in the world. Turbofolk-listening Serb thugs are certainly more violent, though they do radiate more intelligence. Italian soccer fans are probably more racist, though they wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pink cap. But in the world of baseball, I can think of no tribe so dull-witted, so bandwagonesque, so committed to turning what was once a charming underdog/curse story into an act with all the grace and humility of a Zell Miller speech in front of 15,000 fat Republicans howling for blood. They make Yankees fans seem civilized, and Rays fans seem like grizzled students of the game. (Here's a test: Next time you hear a Donnie Moore joke, shoot back with a reference to Pumpsie Green, and note the unblinking glare of incomprehension.)
I am cursed to know many Red Sox fans among my friends and colleagues. Though in quieter moments they profess a constant, low-level embarrassment at Meathead Nation, and wince almost as much as I do when the camera pans to yet another jowl-flapping Neanderthal barking in the stands, they, too, bear the mark of the Beast. After Game 1 of this so-far depressing series, a Red Sox-loving co-worker greeted me at the office with "So which Angel do you think will commit suicide THIS year?" This is the kind of overdog hubris that seems fun on the way up, but just brings out even more long knives during the inevitable fall.
And yet, there is something ultimately pathetic in complaining about any of this, or about national broadcast networks' up-front bias for the Sox. The way to shut up the Dumb is not to whine about ESPN, but to forcibly remove the meat from their bowl. The Sox have taken the mantle from the Yankees as baseball's best team, and even though the Angels have been a near-model franchise in the post-Yankees era, they will not deserve to be spoken in the same breath until they knock Big Papi off his block, and even out the number of World Series rings in the 21st century. That means unfreezing the grip on the bat knob with runners in scoring position, keeping cookies away from the Cookie Monster in the late innings, and catching the damned baseball when it hits you in the glove.
A hard rain's gonna fall on the Nation one of these days. What better way than to croak them the way they croaked us so many years ago -- with three consecutive wins while facing elimination? The monkey on the Angels' back is turning into a gorilla. Maybe recovering from an 0-2 deficit is the only way to truly exorcise the ghost that's haunted this organization for two decades now. Is Joe Saunders man enough for the job? We'll see....
-- Matt Welch
Welch is editor of Reason.
Photo: Boston Red Sox fans can be cruel. Here they taunt the Yankees with '2000' signs, refering to the last year the New York Yankees won a World Series. Credit: CJ Gunther / EPA