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Shame on the Boston Fans (2005-04-16 - 8:26 a.m.)

I love the Boston Red Sox.

Anyone who knows me well at all knows this. It doesn't take long to come out. I have been a Red Sox fan since, oh, somewhere in the late 60s. Carl Yastrzemski (number 8), pronounced Yaz-tremski, (just call him "Yaz") was my hero.

Yaz was the last major league baseball player to win a triple crown in batting. That's getting the highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in (RBI) for a season. Our players today are too specialized. It's unlikely that anyone will come along that will do that again. Yaz won the triple crown in 1967 with a .326 average, 44 home runs, and 121 RBIs.

He wasn't the best triple crown winner, but it's hard to decide who was. Lou Gehrig had the most RBIs in 1934 with 165. (Lest anyone try to correct me, I'm only talking about triple crown winners, not the highest number of RBIs ever.) Hugh Duffy had the highest average in 1894 with .438. And the most home runs went to Mickey Mantle with 52 in 1956.

Nevertheless, the mighty Yaz remains the last winner of the triple crown, almost 40 years ago.

Yes, I love the Boston Red Sox.

But at the moment, I have a bone to pick with their fans. I know, I'm one of the fans, but I specifically refer to the local fans at Fenway Park in Boston (arguably one of the most historic stadiums remaining in baseball).


I've heard and read tales of Boston fans jeering at opponents, especially the ones who wear the pinstrip uniforms from New York (Hey, who DOESN'T hate the Yankees??). I've heard tales of Boston fans throwing things from the stands.

But Thursday night, an almost unforgivable act occurred. Someone in the stands threw a punch at Gary Sheffield as he was fielding a ball in right field. I realize that Sheffield is a Yankee (the Sox won the game 8-5...YAY!!), but this is totally unacceptable. It also represents a recent trend in sports that is very disturbing. More and more, we see fans and players getting into fights. One of the most famous is a recent brawl at a basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers that resulted in five injuries and suspensions of four players.

In September of 2004, Frank Francisco, a reliever with the Texas Rangers, threw a chair into the stands from the bullpen, resulting in a broken nose for a female fan. Reports said that the fans were not "over the line." But something had to have happened to incite the player to that extreme. Francisco was arrested and charged with felony battery.

Obviously, this has gotten out of hand. Of course, the pendulum swings, doesn't it? I seem to recall reported altercations between Ty Cobb and fans in the early 1900s. Apparently, Cobb, himself was pretty mean. I found this written at "Cobb was widely disliked for his mean temperament and aggressive style of play, and he is remembered as much for his unlikable personality as for his great record as a player. This is unfortunate, because Ty Cobb still ranks among the elite players the game has ever produced."

Apparently, during the early days of the game, there was much aggressive interaction between fans and players.

But, still...throwing punches at the players from the stands is unacceptable. Jeering and stuff, well, that's just part of the fun. Physical violence is never fun. Except to really sick people.

So my message to that Boston Fan? Grow up. Get a grip. Stay home and punch your tv set if you can't control yourself.


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