The curious case of fans and Twitter
As many of the readers of this blog know, I am very active on Twitter, you can follow me @himynameisbrew. In 2009, when I was first introduced to Twitter, I said why in the world would I want to use this medium? After much chagrin and being told that it could benefit my radio show, I said okay I’ll give it a try. The next few months I learned that not only is this a good way to help further the show and the blog that you are reading now, I learned that it was a great vehicle to meet fans of not just your favorite team, but fans of other teams, media members, athletes, politicians, companies and you name it.
I have reconnected with old friends, made a great number of new friends, and have had the opportunity to speak with some of the people I look up to in the media world. Within a few weeks though, I had learned that Twitter replaced message boards, no longer did you have to scroll through pages and pages of what your fellow fans were thinking about a pitching change, an at-bat, a front office move, you name it Twitter has it.
The problem that has become of Twitter is that I am quickly learning why fans outside of New York HATE Yankees fans. Within the course of a normal Yankee game you can learn who has a crush on which player, what player is despised by fans, and where to get “3 for 10” beers at the Stadium. While these are good things, especially the beer deal, the bad far outweigh the good. During this weekend’s battle for First Place in the American League East, between the Yankees and Red Sox, did the bad of Yankee fans show. For a team that has definitely played over it’s head for much of the season, and i know what you’re thinking how is a team a game out of 1st place and a 200 Million Dollar payroll playing over it’s head? Simple, with a batting lineup that leaves a lot to be desired in the flexibility department, a pitching staff that had more questions than answers in spring training, a core of aging veterans, and now a rash of injuries that would make MASH proud. THAT’s HOW!
The vile for Red Sox players is mind boggling. The Red Sox fans okay, I admit it playful banter is fun, but the hatred shown is at times disgusting. Reggie Jackson once said “They don’t boo nobodies”, and after this weekend it’s even more and more true. When did it become okay, to not be able to say I like how player X plays? When I was growing up in the early 19900’s my favorite baseball player was Ken Griffey Jr., and I am proud to admit that. The only times I went to the Bronx to see the Yankees in those days, was to see Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners play against the Yankees. At 11, I took in a Yankees-Mariners game and walked out of Yankee Stadium that day with a new favorite player, he was the 1st Baseman for the Mariners and his name was Tino Martinez. Like many kids my age playing Little League, Mariners hats were as popular as Yankees hats, this was because of Griffey and I know this, I was still a Yankees fan and a huge fan of Paul O’Neill, but Tino and Junior were my guys, when Tino was traded to the Yankees in December of 1995, I knew I didn’t have to have a split fandom anymore. My favorite player was now on my favorite team. My Dad raised me to respect the ball players because it’s what I wanted to be at 12 years old and it’s a trait I have carried with me to this day.
But for some reason, every time the Red Sox play the Yankees, my Yankee fandom gets called into question because of my love for the New England Patriots, and the fact that I believe that players on the Red Sox are better than the Yankees players at the same position. My favorite tweet received this year is well since you love Pedroia so much why don’t you buy his Jersey. Hurtful, yes, a little overboard even more so.
Objectivity has gone out the window. Why is it so hard for Yankee fans or fans of any team for that matter to respect the players on the other team without saying he’s ugly, he sucks, and those are the nice ones.
A question was asked to me tonight, “Game on the line who do you want at the plate?” My answer was simple Dustin Pedroia. The Laser Show as they say in Boston, is a gamer and as I wrote earlier in the season he is the Red Sox equivalent of Derek Jeter. Holy cow! You would have thought I insulted the person who asked me the questions mother. How can I say that, you’re not a true Yankees fan ensued, my answer to this was you asked me a question, I told you the truth, you asked me my opinion and I gave you my answer TRUTHFULLY!
Do I own Red Sox hats, yes, will I root for them in the playoffs if the Yankees are no longer in the conversation, Yeah, did in 2008 against the Rays, but what does that come down too, I have personal encounters with Red Sox fans, I’m a Patriots fan, we are part of the same Fan Base! When the Celtics played the Knicks in this year’s NBA Playoffs, I rooted for the C’s, The Bruins Stanley Cup Run, yep I bled Black and Gold.
Some of my favorite memories are from High School, when my favorite teacher and hockey coach, invited us to Boston, to check out some colleges, and let us take in the sites and my first game at Fenway Park, hell even bought a Red Sox hat and a Nomar t-shirt. Frank McGady, the biggest Bruins and Red Sox fan I know, longed for Championships for his 2 favorite teams, has seen them win 3 times in the 2000’s, and when they win a smile crosses my face wider and brighter then when any of my teams have.
Objectivity, I go back to this, I have learned the 3 ways to gain a ton of followers on Twitter they are in some combination, be famous, be beautiful, be a homer. There is no room for OBJECTIVITY on the Twitterverse, If you are objective you are a troll, not a real fan, a hater. I am none of these things. I am loyal, truthful and I am objective. Love me or Hate me those are the ABC’s of me.
Remember, “They don’t boo nobodies.”