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So Boston fans think we’re supposed to be impressed because the Red Sox Nation is attempting this weekend to take over Petco Park?
Get back to me, New Englanders, when you paint your faces or support a college football or basketball program with the mix of maturity and fervor found in sports fans from Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 or SEC country.
Real sports fans follow their team with the spirit and knowledge of college fans. This is a point I’ve made before and make again.
Real sports fans in San Diego show up at Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium or other West Coast venues for the game being played on the field.
Red Sox fans thump their chests in the stands while wearing overpriced jerseys.
Boston fans want you to believe they’re unique. Remember that goof in the ESPN commercials wearing a Boston Bruins sweater while floating a boat in a tub? There’s a reason they picked that stereotype.
Besides, San Diego’s own Ted Williams had a love-hate relationship with Boston fans. Where else could “the greatest hitter that ever lived” have a relationship that is half hate?
As author John Updike wrote, Williams ran the bases after a home run, “head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of.”
In San Diego, the Padres and Chargers boast of a mix of fans that grew up in San Diego or are transplanted San Diegans. The true fans, even if transplanted, have adopted San Diego teams for the love of the game while continuing to follow their hometown team from afar.
Note in an above paragraph that the college conference I listed first was Big Ten, since I grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State. The Detroit Tigers and Al Kaline were my team, and Tom Selleck has nothing on me. But I live in San Diego now.
Interestingly, I heard Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes on the Mighty XX Thursday describe the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs’ fans as the two most abusive in baseball.
Byrnes, by the way, grew up in the Bay Area and played college baseball at UCLA. He understands West Coast fans (well, USC football might be an exception) go for the games and not to be obnoxious about their tradition.
Memo to Boston fans: If you want to obnoxiously boast about tradition, go back to Boston and tell us from afar.
— TOM SHANAHAN