I’ve written about moving to a new city and the old team/new team dynamic before (here, for example). After four years as a resident of Colorado, it’s pretty clear how my team loyalties line up:
Nuggets > Bulls
White Sox > Rockies
Bears = Broncos (I don’t know what I’ll do when they play each other next month)
If anyone thinks it’s lame to be a fan of, say, the Bears and the Broncos, that’s fine with me. I’m going to be a fan of the Bears and the Broncos for the rest of my life, and that’s just how it is. It would be easier to have only one team, but I can’t leave my old team and I can’t resist my new team.
On Thursday, we perched on barstools at Goose Island until our butts hurt, watching the entire Rockies/Red Sox game. The Rockies should have and could have won that game, but that’s beside the point right now. I want to talk about Red Sox fans.
I’m not going to be overly critical and shit-talky like I was that time with the Cubs. There’s no reason for that, and I’d just piss people off because really, Red Sox fans annoy me. But for now, I just want to know — who are Red Sox fans?
On Thursday, there were two guys wearing Red Sox stuff at Goose Island — a guy at the bar wearing a Red Sox hat, and another guy in a Red Sox t-shirt. Neither of them even glanced at a TV showing game 2 of the World Series.
I’m sure most people don’t take things like team hats as seriously as I do. I don’t wear a White Sox hat or a Rockies hat because it’s hiding my bed head — I wear it because I love my teams. It also might be hiding bed head, but I wouldn’t wear a hat if I didn’t love the team. When I see other people wearing team hats, I always assume, just for a second, that they love their team as much as I love mine. I’m trying to stop doing that, but it’s always my first reaction. (Don’t get me started on the ridiculous way I always refer to White Sox fans as “my people” and say hi to them.)
The two guys at Goose Island representing the Red Sox but not watching the game made me wonder — who are Red Sox fans? I mean, hell, there always seems to be a ton of them everywhere. Who are they? Are they just guys wearing hats to hide their bed head? Are they serious fans? There’s some of each, right?
Maybe those who are serious fans used to live in Boston and moved but still love their team. Can that account for the millions of Red Sox fans all over the country? According to the 2005 census, Boston has a population of 559,034. That’s not very many people. By contrast, in 2005, New York had 8,143,197 people and Chicago had 2,842,518. It makes sense that some of the 8+ million people from New York move away and wear Yankees hats in their new cities. Same with the Cubs. Do just as many people leave Boston? If so, Boston must suck ass.
According to the 2005 census, Denver had almost as many people as Boston — 557,917. You sure don’t see Rockies fans all over the country the way you see Red Sox fans all over the country. Why is that? Even taking into account the fact that the Rockies are a very new team and the Red Sox are a very old team (and the fact that the Red Sox traditionally are a better team than the Rockies), there is a huge disparity. Do people leave Boston the same way people move to Denver?
Or do people become Red Sox fans for no good reason? If so, that’s weak.
I don’t know. I kind of want to understand and I kind of want to talk shit. I’ve never become a fan of a team that isn’t from my city. Is that common? How does it work? Do people just jump on the next exciting bandwagon and then find someone else next year, or is there loyalty? If you’re not connected by geography, what binds you to your team? If you’re a Red Sox fan (and you’re not in or from Boston), why?