Sox fans need to take a look in the mirror
The 2002 edition of the Boston Red Sox left a lot to be desired this season. As a result, many Boston fans and media outlets seized the chance to criticize one of the highest payrolls in baseball for what they deemed a season marred by underachieving.
It is indeed difficult to recall a more unfulfilling and disappointing season. Not only did the Sox have two twenty-game winners in Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez, both of whom are still in the hunt for the American League Cy Young award, but also they undoubtedly had one of the best batting lineups in baseball.
All of this talent, however, did not even add up to a playoff
birth, which is a difficult pill for Red Sox fans to swallow.
In an interview last week, Garciaparra eluded to the fact
that perhaps the disparity between the great success of the Sox on the
road and their unequivocally mediocre play at home can, in part, be attributed
to the negative "vibes" given off by the volatile Boston fans
At first glance, Garciappara's comments can be described as unnecessary and even irrational. However, although there is not solely one reason for the demise of the Sox this season, I would agree with Nomar that the fans themselves are part of the problem.
First off, Boston fans are among the best in the country.
They continue to support their teams during the good years and bad. Although
the Sox have not won a World Series since 1918, Fenway Park is continuously
This atmosphere has driven the likes of Roger Clemens and Rick Patino out of town. For many in the Boston area, these sports figures might not be held in the highest regards. But, losing a player of the caliber of Roger Clemens, whose disdain for the Red Sox was so great that he was willing to move to rival Toronto is unfortunate
Now, some would say that Clemens primarily left the Sox because the Blue Jays were offering him more money or because he continued to butt heads with Sox upper management. In other words, it was these two factors, and not the negative, critical atmosphere created by the Boston media and fans, that caused Roger to leave town.
In the case of Rick Patino, however, money could not have been a factor in his decision-making process. In fact, the contract he signed was at that time the highest-priced one in NBA history. Moreover, he was still under contract when he finally did decide to leave Boston. Essentially, Patino gave up millions just so he didn't have to coach or live in Boston one minute longer.
Many are aware of the short tirade by Patino that precipitated his departure. It was highlighted by one statement in particular, when he said the attitude around here (Boston) "sucks."
Of course, most fans felt that Patino should have used that adjective to describe the poor play of the Celtics or even himself, as he was not only the coach but also the General Manager - which meant he had been responsible for the personnel decisions.
That said, Patino, like Garciapparra last week, was commenting on something that is an unfortunate but very real part of the Boston sports scene.
Boston fans expect a degree of excellence when it comes to their sports teams, part of which is probably due to the huge success of teams like the Celtics, who have amassed 17 World Championships - only the Yankees have won as many championships in one professional sport.
In today's game with exorbitant ticket prices resulting from highly overpaid players, it is the fans' right to voice their opinions, even if it is in the form of boos directed at their own team. And freedom of speech will always enable the media to print and report on whatever they choose, no matter how cynical and critical they become.
However, at the same time, it is important to note that some players, Nomar being the most recent example, don't respond positively to the negative atmosphere surrounding Boston sports.
Many Boston fans, if not most, were glad to see Clemens and Patino leave Boston. Boston fans are quick to place the blame on both individuals for their early departures.
It seems as though Boston fans, as well as the media, feel they have a blank check to be as critical and negative as they desire, and that no ill effects could possibly come from it. Perhaps they are right. But there is no ignoring the poor home record of the Sox this year, as well as the stinging comments from Nomar.
It's bad enough that the Sox, with one of the highest payrolls
in baseball and two twenty-game winners, did not even make the playoffs.
But now Nomar, the heart of the Sox, has voiced his concerns about the
people of Boston.
If you didn't already question yourselves when Clemens and Patino left, maybe now is a good time to start.