The bloom is off the friggin’ rose. Yes baseball folks, it’s time to admit the truth – it’s not as much fun to be a Red Sox fan in New York anymore. And by fun I mean contentious, controversial, painful! Boston fans in NYC, like me, used to wear our Sox gear around town as a badge of honor, a kind of “yeah we lost again but we’ll get ya next time” pledge that elicited a few smirks, a lot of pity, and always a conversation. But now the unthinkable has happened – we won. And won again, and again! So now Yankee fans look at me when I’m wearing my Sox hat and, to my great disappointment, just look away.
It wasn’t always like this, of course. I moved from Boston to New York in October of ’86, when just days into my move I couldn’t believe my luck as the Sox were about to win the Whole Thing in Queens. Queens! Just a few miles from where I now lived, I excitedly told a friend back home, and said “I”ll call you back when we win!” I never called her back, of course. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Let’s just say Bill Buckner and I probably went into therapy around the same time. Years passed, I started hanging out at a Sox bar in the Village, and then 2003 happened – the would-be classic Game 7 in the Bronx where we were finally going to put the ghosts to rest and head to the World Series by beating our heated rivals. Um, it didn’t happen. It was bad. My friend had to walk me home that night, even though I lived only blocks from the bar, because he feared for my safety.
Thank god for 2004 and the “Greatest Comeback in Sports History” (it’s true, my t-shirt says it!) or my mental health bills would rival, well, Bill Buckner’s. For the first time in 86 years, we were World Champs and lovable losers no more. All Yankee fans could yell at us now was “Enjoy your ring, we’ve got 26!” And then the strangest thing happened … we won again! We started getting used to winning, and when we won again last year, it seemed like Yankee fans got used to us winning too. I’m ecstatic, of course, but I must admit it’s sort of taken the fun out of it. Gone are the days of my heated debates with Yankee friends about Jeter vs. Nomahhh, A-rod vs. E-rod, the Bronx vs. Kenmore Square. Gone, too, are those “Aw, good for you” looks when I’d wear my Sox t-shirt to the gym, those drunken “1918!” chants when I’d head to a game, even those “Your dog sucks!” shouts when I’d proudly walk my dog Ruby along the Hudson River in her, ahem, Sox coat. Ah, memories. Now all I get is “Isn’t she pretty?” or worse – nothing. The bloom is off the (Bucky) Friggin’ (Dent) rose, right?!