Sunday, July 13, 2008

Embedded Yankee Fan

It is tough to be a Yankees fan in Boston, though I am convinced the ranks of Yankee fans here is significant. I have met many baseball watchers who have, after a minute or two of idle chatter, thrown out the unsolicited statement, "Well, sometimes you meet people whose team allegiances are upsetting." When combined with a gentle nod, that's typically code for admitting one is a fan of the Bronx Bombers.

Yankees fans in Boston are in hiding. I own about a half dozen Yankees hats, and yet I never wear them. I own one piece of Red Sox attire: A Red Sox sweatshirt I bought at Fenway Park during an April game rain delay when it was cold and wet. I had to buy it or I would have frozen. The shirt now has a big coffee stain running down the middle.

I am often called a wimp by Red Sox fans, usually female ones, because I don't wear Yankees attire around town. I can only say that as a male Yankees fan, sporting Yankees attire is dangerous. Just last week I read about how a man from Cape Cod beat up the father of family in a car with New York plates simply because he assumed the family was a group of Yankee fans. Walking down a Beacon Hill street with my Derek Jeter shirt on doesn't seem wise.

For the big games in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, like game seven of the 2003 ALCS when Aaron (Bleeping) Boone hit the winning homerun for the bombers, I usually go to an "undisclosed location": The home of a fellow Yankees fan somewhere in the city. I would imagine there are similar safe houses throughout the town. Even though my friends ask, I have never said where mine is located.

Given all this, I like going to Connecticut to my family's beach cottage in the summer, because it means I can wear my Yankees gear. Last week was July 4th weekend, and during the family weekend festivities I sported my new hat.

Essex Landing

Essex, Conn.
July 5, 2008

At the beach, Point ‘O Woods in Old Lyme, there is a nice mix of Yankees and Red Sox fans. One regular beach goer brings with him a portable radio and gives me updates from the Yankees broadcast. It turns out his cottage is right down the street from ours.

It's gotten a tad easer to be a Yankees fan in Boston since the Red Sox won the World Series twice. The first World Series win was kind of like releasing a pressure cooker. When people would find out I was a Yankee fan, they would offer to buy me a beer, as opposed to before, when they would demand I buy theirs.

The ironic part is I don't hate the Red Sox. I love Fenway Park, and I have a lot of respect for many of the Red Sox players (as a former Little League catcher, Jason Varitek is probably my favorite). It was fun to see the Red Sox win the World Series, it just stunk that they had to beat the Yankees to get there.

It takes me less time now (versus before the Red Sox won the World Series) to admit to new friends that I am a Yankees fan. The reaction has varied over time. One female friend responded with: "I am going to need some time to think about this," while generally people simply shriek in horror and then come up with some all-knowing comment, like "You know, I noticed you never wear Red Sox attire."

Every year I spend 180 dollars to order the Comcast cable package allowing me to view as many Yankees games as I can. So don't worry Red Sox fans, my living in Boston and being a Yankees follower causes all sorts of pains, financially or otherwise.

P.S. Don’t worry, I am a Patriots fan.

Maria Friswell (Nana)
Essex, Conn.
July 5, 2008

Note: I took the photo above of my maternal grandmother at a picnic last week.

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