Boston-area sports talk radio (or at least WEEI) was abuzz on Friday thanks to this column from Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti (and before we move on, yeah, I know... me listening to sports talk radio. Not sure what's going on there.). He writes about the complaints that a lot of long time Boston Red Sox fans have voiced lately about feeling squeezed out of their traditional roosts at Fenway Park. Since winning the World Series, the ranks of Red Sox Nation have swelled, and tickets to the games are in higher demand than ever, and a lot of folks think that the tickets that should rightfully be theirs are going to so-called bandwagon fans; folks who are only interested in the Sox because it they're currently hip, a breed of people typified in the minds of many as young, cell-phone gabbing, trendy-looking girls in pink Red Sox hats. And you just know, the thinking goes, that they're not real fans.
That attitude really pisses me off for two reasons. For one thing, the "real fan" argument proves nothing, no matter what genre it happens to be working in at the time - sports, music, comics, whatever. Sure, there are always going to be bandwagon fans, but not all of them are going to abandon the team, band, book, or whatever once they stop being popular or successful. It shouldn't matter how you became a fan. What matters is that you're a fan period. As one right-thinking caller stated, he has been a big fan since the Sox went to the World Series in 1967, and has never felt more entitled to his fandom than anyone else who has become a fan since then. "It's a great bandwagon to hop on," he said, "and everyone ought to feel free to do so."
Second - and more importantly - it's misplaced anger. The fault, dear Pissed Off Sox Fan, is not in the So-Called "Pink Hats," but in the Sox themselves. You want to know why there are more young, trendy, probably well-to-do fans at Fenway Park these days? They're the only ones that can afford it! Ticket and concession prices are through the roof, people, and those prices are controlled by the Red Sox organization. Bleacher seats for a single game will run you about $25. If you want a seat with a half-decent view, that'll run you anywhere from $45-100. Green Monster seats run about $100, too. Add in the $5 Miller Lites and the $4 Fenway Franks, and the idea of the Family Night Out At The Old Ballpark goes from quaint ideal to theoretical impossibility for most folks.
It's not easy to get into games these days, true, but drop the elitist attitudes, Red Sox Nation. You have a few alternative options, anyway. Either pray for a decade's worth of losing seasons to drop ticket prices, or enjoy those games you do get to go to that much more. Or go see a minor league game. Erin got us tickets online for the Paw Sox in the second row behind first base the day before the game, and the only cost about $9 each. That's cheaper than a movie these days.
But whatever you do, leave the Pink Hats alone, okay? They have just as much right to be a fan as anyone else. Besides, they can't all there just to be seen - there are trendier and significantly more comfortable places in Boston for that than Fenway Park.