Being sports fan means that you can honestly and truly hate someone that you have never met before just because of what they believe and how they look.
It's as close to being a racist as you can get these days and still be considered a good person.
You see, I was born a Yankees fan. My father was a Yankees fan. My siblings are all Yankees fans. My mother observes Yankees fan holidays. I had more choice in my hair color than I did my preference in baseball teams.
Being a Yankees fan is not as easy as some people make it out to be. People generally assume that you're just a band wagoner. You have to root for a team on the other side of the country that you have no real connection to. And there are Red Sox fans.
For those of you who don't follow sports, I may need to explain a few things here. You'll have to understand that the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry is about more than a mere game. It is the physical manifestation of literally centuries of competition between two of America's first cities. It has been around since baseball started being played on a field without cows. It's part of the game that is part of the soul of this great nation.
And seriously, they started it.
It all began when the devil himself went to Boston to start a baseball team.
I know my average reader doesn't care too much about sports, so I won't go into details of the long and sordid history between these two titans of the diamond. I'll just say that the Yankees have never used babies as bases, and leave it at that.
I mention this because I recently had what will probably be a once in a life time opportunity to travel deep into the heart of enemy territory, the very belly of the beast, and attend a Yankees/Red Sox game in Fenway Park in Boston.
Not wanted to draw attention to the fact that all 30,000 plus people there wanted to spit on me and dump nachos down my pants, I decided not to wear or do anything that would give any hints as to my true allegiance. With this in mind, I dressed like a jedi, because we all know that jedis are at one with the force as well as the entire American League Eastern Division.
I got to the game early to just soak in the ambiance that is Fenway Park on game day, which was a good decision and very enjoyable except for the fact that the were constantly pumping baseball stadium pipe organ music over the load speakers. The pipe organ is an excellent instrument uniquely qualified to play songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “Tequilla” or the timeless battle hymn about the dancing baby elephants.
It's not nearly so good at playing “Where the Streets Have No Names.”
I tried to blend in the best I could without feeling dirty. I would clap when the Red Sox made big plays, but I when it can time to yell and scream I stick to non-discriminatory remarks like “Yay baseball,” or “hooray for sports” or most often “I didn't go to work today!”
I don't think anyone noticed.
I was planning on doing something equally sneak whenever the Yankees did good, but that turned out to be a non-issue. The good guys don't always win, even when you travel the breadth of the nation to watch them play.
Still, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The entire place rocked with each long ball hit. Even though my team was losing that everyone around me was a Red Sox fan and a jerk, I still had a great time and would recommend going to anyone who likes baseball in any degree or fashion.
Unless of course you're a Braves fan.
Then screw you.
Steve Shinney actually played a lot of baseball when he was a kid. He was really good at “taking one for the team” which may be why he still can't pronounce extracurricular. Comments go below.