There was a time, not too long ago, when I liked the Boston Red Sox.
They were never a favorite team of mine, but I had a certain amount of sympathy for them. Though I never completely understood why Boston fans complained so much (Celtics or Patriots, anyone?), I could appreciate the heartache they had been through.
Bill Buckner was a great player, not a punchline. Roger Clemens will always be remembered as a Red Sox ace.
Boston deserved better. Then came 2004. That season changed everything.
Boston not only ended their fabled “Curse,” but it did so in grand fashion. Down three games to none to baseball’s version of the Prince of Darkness, Boston somehow rallied in the American League Championship Series, and beat the Yankees.
Beating the Cardinals in the World Series was really an afterthought to the rest of the country. I felt good for Boston.
For about 10 seconds.
Then came documentaries interviewing Denis Leary (who I think is great) and Michael Chiklis (who once suggested Grady Little threw the 2003 ALCS to the Yankees).
Then came a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Then came endless talk on sports shows about the “Yanks” and the “Sawx.”
Then David Ortiz stopped being known as David Ortiz, instead, being called “Big Papi” by every broadcaster. Unless he plans on becoming a pro wrestler, I don’t think he needs that prominent a nickname.
Then Ben Affleck started being shown on TV at games.
I hate the Red Sox. They used to be the long-suffering rivals of the Yankees, the team you pulled for. But after 2004, the team has gone through an almost Animal Farm-like transformation.
For the last two seasons, it has been hard to tell the two teams apart.
Like the Yankees of the last 30 years, the Red Sox have had soap opera. Between general manager Theo Epstein’s job status, Manny Ramirez’s weirdness, and Johnny Damon’s ship-jumping, it doesn’t stop.