The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee fans is one of the oldest and fierce in professional sports. Baseball followers know it: if you are with either one of these two teams you are going against the other one even when they are playing against a different team. From that mentality the famous phrase, used by followers from both sides referring to the other one, that if you hear from my lips goes like this: “I only follow two teams, the Red Sox and whoever beats the Yankees.”
Except for major incidents from a few crazy people who have taken their fanaticism to a sinister extreme, to me this rivalry, which is over 100 years old, is very entertaining and makes the season more exciting. As I think is already obvious, I am a proud member of the Red Sox Nation, despite living in ‘enemy’ territory, very close to the House that Ruth Built.
Many would question how and why of this situation; I recognize myself that I am a weird breed of newyorker that once is sitting at the Yankee Stadium it does to see the home team defeated; more than one after seeing me wearing all red in the stadium has yelled “go back to Boston!”… And me? I laugh out loud. To me these are two different loves that live within me with the same intensity: I love New York City and I love the Boston Red Sox.
During the baseball season I follow the games and without delay, every time the Red Sox play against the Yankees here in the city I wear my red t-shirt with the name of my team to support. Of course, the reactions are automatic. Don’t you go thinking I do it innocently, I know is a provocation, especially in days in which Boston wins and people wake up in a bad mood.
I’ve been yelled at many different things in the stadium and in the streets, but there is a particular one I remember especially, maybe because I was pregnant and then a gentle newyorker came to my defense thinking that I was a “dame in distress,” only to find out that with big belly and all my fanaticism was bigger and I was ready to face any attack (not a physical one, of course, all within sanity).
Firs, picture this pregnant woman in the middle of August, 36-week gestation, and a tight shirt that made the belly standout and attract looks of wonder, fear and even pity; in the other side imagine a tall man, about 300 pounds, more impressive than that only Shaquille O’Neal.
Now that you get the image, I tell you, the previous weekend was one of those series between Yankees and Red Sox at the Yankee Stadium and Boston had won two of the three games (one of them the night before) and as I was walking to my work on 44th Street in Manhattan with a defiant face by identifying myself in a day like that. The man, who was not older than 35 years, followed me with his eyes as I walked in front of him and as I almost pass him, he got a bit closer and yelled: “go back to Boston, traitor”.
The other man -who obviously was not a Yankee fan, said: “that’s not right, how he does that…”, before he continued apologizing about the other guy’s behavior and continued looking at me like a poor little woman who was attacked by a giant, I responded with a big smile, turning to look at the big guy: “don’t worry, he’s just bitter because they lost” and cracked up laughing as I kept walking.
Behind me, the big guy was left murmuring something and saying stuff in a very low tone that I could not hear. This not only made me laugh and seemed funny to me then, but is one of those memories I’ll never forget of my life in The Big Apple. Here everything happens, in the everlasting and ephemeral New York-Minute.